Learn to Play Blues Harp Harmonica
I am trying to learn how to bend harmonica/blues harp, can’t do it!?
Filed under: Blues Harp Harmonica

I am trying to learn how to bend harmonica/blues harp, can’t do it!?

I know you’re supposed to suck on 5 and lower your tongue but I can’t bend the note at all. Can some people just not do it?


Yeah, the first guy doesn’t know what’s what. Martin is right on. I just want to stress that 5-draw does not bend a whole semi-tone. It’s probably the WORST hole to try to learn a bend on. You’re better off focusing on holes 3 or 4.

1.Get a clear clean single note. If you can’t play only one hole at a time, you’ll have a tough time bending.

2. Relax and draw your air (don’t suck or huff and puff)

3. Keeping the airflow smooth, playing one hole only, change the direction of airflow until the tone of the note changes dramatically. If you have a piano, hit a white key, then the black key next to it. The pitch should change at least this much if you’re bending properly on blues harp.

I just saw a great video by Chris Michalek (below) where he talks about learning to bend with a straw. Look him up on YouTube. I have a bending video (12gagedan) and there’s a ton more. One of them, plus much practice will likely get you there.

Which Harmonica is Better for Blues, a Hohner Special 20 or a Hohner Blues Harp?

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3 Comments for 'I am trying to learn how to bend harmonica/blues harp, can’t do it!?'

  1.  
    Dusty Mann
    May 13, 2011 | 12:28 am
     

    dip your harmonica in water, this makes the reeds softer and will make it easeir to bend notes(Neil Young does it!)

    Use your lungs and feel it. Let it be natural. Use fluctuations in your breath.

    The harp is not that hard to play but difficult to describe how. let it flow.

    Good luck.
    References :
    http://www.wikihow.com/Play-a-Harmonica

  2.  
    martin couch
    May 13, 2011 | 12:41 am
     

    With all respect to the answerer above me, DO NOT soak your harps! It will cut the life expectancy of a Marine Band in half (at least) and will do nothing for a harp with a plastic comb (like a Special 20). You can bend on any draw note (and blow notes too!) not just on the 5 draw. Don’t lower your tonque. Try drawing a clear note and then (while still drawing) force your tonque towards the back of your mouth. It will lower and fold on its own. Try this repeatedly on the same draw-clear note, bend, clear note, bend. You should get the hang of it fairly quickly. I would practice on the 2-bigger reed = easier to bend.

    Good Luck
    References :
    self-playing for 25 years, semi-professionally for 20.

  3.  
    billybudd1313
    May 13, 2011 | 1:12 am
     

    Yeah, the first guy doesn’t know what’s what. Martin is right on.

    I just want to stress that 5-draw does not bend a whole semi-tone. It’s probably the WORST hole to try to learn a bend on. You’re better of focusing on holes 3 or 4.

    1. Get a clear clean single note. If you can’t play only one hole at a time, you’ll have a tough time bending.

    2. Relax and draw your air (don’t suck or huff and puff)

    3. Keeping the airflow smooth, playing one hole only, change the direction of airflow until the tone of the note changes dramatically. If you have a piano, hit a white key, then the black key next to it. The pitch should change at least this much if you’re bending properly on harp.

    I just saw a great video by Chris Michalek where he talks about learning to bend with a straw. Look him up on youtube. I have a bending video (12gagedan) and there’s a ton more. One of them, plus much practice will likely get you there.
    References :
    Been playing harmonica since I was 12. 20ys.

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