Why Is 2 Draw So Difficult?

I think my harmonica’s broken…

When learning to play individual notes for the first time, 2 draw (2D) is often the hardest reed to master. We frequently receive emails asking, is it me or is there something wrong with my harmonica? It may not be what you want to hear, but the short answer is, it ain’t the harp! OK, point of order, we have had one occasion in the last fifteen years when the instrument was at fault, but there have been a couple of blue moons since then.

2D is a long old reed, which swings through a big slot as we play it. Picture in your mind a spring diving board, fixed at one end and unfettered at the other. The reed and the diving board behave in the same way. Consider also, the fact that 2D shares a chamber with 2B, another long reed in another big old slot. These two reeds are in constant interaction, working as a pair. So we expend a lot of air when we work in hole 2 and it can feel like we’re running out of breath really quickly.

Add to this the flexibility of the reeds themselves. With a choice of one natural and two bent positions, 2D is very sensitive to changes in air pressure. When we try to play 2D for the first time, it can sound mangled or flat, but don’t panic. Alternatively, despite our best efforts, it can simply not respond at all. At the same time we seem to be inflating much faster than when we play the neighbouring holes.

Fear not, this is a really common experience. So let’s look into things together and see if we can help you overcome an important hurdle in every harmonica player’s development. It’s a short process and we promise you it will be painless. Kim followed our advice and look what happened to her!

So what’s going on?
The answer lies in establishing the optimum balance of air intake and air pressure, to produce the intended pitch. This is a complex process that involves learning to adopt the correct mouth position and tongue placement. We’re need to forge a relationship with our target reed, but at the moment we’re strangers.

It will help to understand that lower reeds respond with less effort than higher reeds because there’s more to play around with lengthways. There’s that diving board image again. Depending on which way you look at it, longer reeds are less resistant to air movement, or more responsive.

Let’s go back to school for a moment and consider the time we extended a ruler over the edge of a desk to make kangaroo noises. If the projected end was short, we got a nice ping as we plucked the ruler; but we had to pluck it with force. Insufficient effort produced no sound. When the projected end was longer, we got a nice low boing with the gentlest of finger strokes. What would happen if we’d applied too much force? The ruler would wobble about wildly and the kangaroo sound might cut in and out, or just not happen. But let’s take things a step further. If we applied too much force and sustained it, the ruler would bend and stay bent. We now have the weight of a hippo on the end of our diving board.

As we’ve already established, harmonica reeds and diving boards behave the same way, so our aim is to swap the hippo for a fluffy chick and find our balance. And yes you did just read that.

Easy does it
Instead of plucking with our fingers of course, we trigger reed movement through the friction of our breath, ideally supported from our diaphragm. However, if we inadvertently add suction to the process, and if we move our tongue in a bid to work the reed, we’re inadvertently lurching into bending territory. To put it simply, we’re sending our harmonica the wrong signals. We’re effectively choking up the reed by over-stressing it. The result is a strangled note or no note at all (just the sound of a harmonica player puffing away furiously). What was our aim again? To swap the hippo for a fluffy chick and find our balance. To do this we need to learn breath control and mouth position. Hold that thought.

At the outset, we need to abandon any idea of steering or manipulating the draw reed. Manoeuvring your tongue will change the air pressure acting on the reed and this just produces more hippos. Moving your tongue tells the reed you want it to bend. It will do its best to deliver, however bending is a whole level of technique we have yet to learn. There’s that low quality note again, slurred and off-pitch, or no sound at all. Time out. You’re trying too hard.

And….relax
We’ll start work on the solutions in just a moment, but knowing how we found them is really enlightening. When we opened Harp Surgery’s doors to students in the 1990’s, we struggled with this recurring issue for months. How was it, when we asked a beginner to sustain 2D, it sounded flat and laboured until just before they ran out of breath? At the last fleeting moment, the reed always returned to its natural pitch, albeit with very thin tone. Why couldn’t our student get things going from the start? No amount of inflight embouchure adjustment, patience or cajoling could correct the problem. And yet the natural pitch kept on teasing us at the last moment. The reason remained an enigma.

Then, one wet and windy night, the eureka moment arrived. Everything was happening back to front. The way our students were finishing was the way they needed to start. So what had changed for the natural pitch to kick in? Air pressure. And that’s pretty much it. As the student’s drew air in and their lungs inflated to the point of bursting, they ran out of pressure and immediately the reed responded the way it should. So all we needed to do was start the way we had been finishing. With this simple discovery, changes started happening.

Your task now is twofold. Firstly you must learn to inhale gently using belly breathing (from your diaphragm), instead of sucking. Secondly you must learn to position your mouth and tongue correctly, then suspend all movement. We should add that we’re applying our solutions with lip-pursing embouchure, rather than tongue-blocking or U-blocking, but the principles are the same. Let’s go.

Hot chocolate, soup, eggs and spuds
Imagine sipping froth from a mug of very hot chocolate. Go on, nobody’s watching, pretend right now! Where’s your tongue positioned as you sip? Now try sipping hot soup from a ladle without burning your tongue. Notice how your tongue adopted the same position. You will need to hold your tongue just the same way when playing 2D, breathing from the diaphragm. Remember we need low air pressure.

Additionally, imagine you are holding a small potato, or a hard boiled egg in your mouth. Your tongue falls down and back, whereupon the focus should be on inhaling gently through the harp, while pulling from your diaphragm and chest; but keep your tongue still.

Location, location, location
You know you’ve been wondering why 2D and 3B are the same note? Well keep wondering because the answer is in another lesson. For now just accept there is a perfectly good reason, but ask yourself how come you can get 3B to respond and not 2D. In simple terms it’s because 3B has no other place to go. So let’s use this to our advantage. Play 3B and close your eyes and sustain a really long, gentle note. As you do so, register where everything is positioned: your lips, your tongue, your throat. This is your position of equilibrium. Essentially you are creating the correct chamber and airflow for the reed’s sound waves to resonate. Do this a few more times, holding the position and building muscle memory. This is really important because you’re going to adopt exactly the same position when you next play 2D. In the meantime let’s consider a few more useful tips. Incidentally, do not fall into the trap of substituting 3B for 2D. Both notes are there for good reason. There’s no avoiding the 2D, or the all important 2D bends that follow.

Gently and quietly
Forget about volume, start drawing 2D as gently and as quietly as possible. This literally means a whisper (it’s where the fluffy chicks are at). The reed will stay in pitch and you can establish your position of equilibrium. Close your eyes, repeat the approach, and avoid any forceful attack on the reed. Let’s take a moment to consider where our control centre is located. Without the harp, push from your diaphragm and whisper as loudly as you can, ‘hello Harry, how’s you’re hippo?’ Try again, whispering harder still. Notice how the power is controlled from the back of your throat and supported by the push from your diaphragm. Your tongue and lips are redundant. This is an important concept.

No gas leaks
If things still aren’t happening it doesn’t hurt to run a quick system check. Let’s review two fundamentals for single note playing, including 2D. The first is an airtight seal (no gas leaks). The second is accuracy (we don’t want the neighbours joining in). At the outset beginners can experience a lot of loose air. The tone is thin and notes can be off pitch. If this is what you’re experiencing, check out Accuracy and Tone in our Harp Skills menu.

It’s imperative to get a good seal around the target hole. Eliminate any peripheral whooshing sounds by adjusting your embouchure. Moisten your lips and get your mouth right round the harp. Your lips should be soft and supportive, but not rigid. Don’t be shy and peck your harp politely, it responds to warmth and humidity – start schmoozing! Get your mouth right over the numbers on the cover plate until your upper lip pushes against knuckle of your supporting forefinger. Once you have a clean, airtight response, you’ll be better equipped to find the balanced delivery you need and then work on your tone.

With regard to single note playing, if you are still developing your embouchure, this could be adding to your problems in draw 2. Do your ears tell you that you’re playing a single note or multiple notes? Is the sound clean or busy? When you play a draw chord across holes 1 to 4, hole 2 is in the mix, but you need to single it out. Work at this. The embouchure you need is like the first stage of breaking into a grin; find your Mona Lisa smile (for lip pursing at least).

Use your nose
Remember you are drawing 2D, not sucking in the literal sense. This is no time to suction pump a sticky milkshake. We’re gently inhaling through a small chamber to gain a response. Inhale softly across the reed without tugging it and don’t move your tongue around. Remember our discovery when playing 2B above.

It will also help to breathe through your nose momentarily as you start. This serves to lower the air pressure still further. As with our whispering technique, the reed is much more likely to remain in pitch. Your nose is a natural pressure release valve. It helps to eliminate the signal to bend. In time you will be able to co-ordinate everything, economising and locating the correct position (the point of equilibrium) right away.

And finally
If you really are wondering why 2D and 3B are the same note, the answers are revealed in two other Harp Surgery posts Why Are Draw 2 and Blow 3 The Same? and Why Are My Harp Notes Set Out This Way? 

Meanwhile be patient. In time 2D will become your best friend – especially when playing cross harp. when you find the natural pitch, work at strengthening the tone without drifting into a bend. Remember, accuracy and tone first, every time. This way you’re building a strong foundation and transferable skills with which to develop your playing.

59 thoughts on “Why Is 2 Draw So Difficult?

  • Pingback: Wanderin’ Wilf’s Harp Surgery » Why are draw 2 and blow 3 the same?

  • December 31, 2008 at 5:01 pm
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    Well done Kung Fu Panda!

  • April 27, 2009 at 10:06 pm
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    On the first harmonica I used, two draw was a bit tricky at first, but three draw is where I found all my trouble. I have a new harmonica now and two draw is a total breeze, but three draw remains totally elusive to me. The only way I have been able to get it is, like it says here, at the end of a breath OR by plugging nose. I have tried every combination of angle and breath strength, tongue and teeth position possible. I’m not sure why everyone has such problems with two draw, but it sounds like the same trouble I’m having with three! Is this common or is it usually just two that people wrestle with?

    Also, I have trouble pulling my tongue back because I use it in a U shape to single out notes. Does the tongue need to be pulled back to achieve a successful three draw?

  • July 3, 2011 at 8:26 pm
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    “This is no time to suction pump your McDonald’s milk shake up a straw” LMAO!!!

    Thank you so much for writing and posting this article! I really did think something was wrong with my new harp haha. It was a huge relief to learn that this is a normal issue for beginner harp players 🙂 And by following your instructions, I’m slowly getting closer to the right pitch, lol. Thanks again 😉

  • July 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm
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    Mon plaisir madamoiselle!

  • May 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm
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    I am NOT alone!!!! Alleluia

  • May 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm
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    Hi Lynda – don’t give up! Eventually you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. Doc :0)

  • July 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm
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    Hi, Thanks for this post as I am having trouble with draw hole 2. However, I have a couple of harps both Chromatic, a Hohner Chrometta 1 10 hole and a Tombo Unica 22 hole. I also have a 10 hole diatonic Hohner Special 20 in Eb. The 2 draw on the Tombo is easy ( diagonal spacing )and also on the Hohner Special 20 but the Chrometta is very hard, almost no note at all. How can I check that there is nothing wrong with the reed on the Chrometta. Can the reed be adjusted ?
    Roy

  • September 24, 2012 at 1:11 am
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    I question if I blew out the draw 2 reed??? I cannot get any good sound out of it at all – either played with other notes or by itself. It sounds like a dying duck! Any suggestions? Do you think I may have inadvertantly damaged my reed, and if so, what should I do to fix it??? Thanks!

  • October 30, 2012 at 11:05 am
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    Hi Roy. Regarding the Chrometta problem, 2 draw issues tend to be Diatonic specific. Chromatics don’t normally present this problem for newcomers. If there is no response at all in 2 draw on the Chrometta, but you’re getting notes in the all the other holes, I suspect it’s down to the reed rather than your technique. Get a screwdriver and lift the lid! Is the reed visibly stuck in it’s slot? Can you gently free it up? Can it be physically, but gently, ‘pinged’? Is there anything blocking it – dust, fluff, crumbs etc? If so clean it up. If it still won’t work, then I think you need to find another player local to you who can take a look.

  • October 30, 2012 at 11:33 am
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    Hi Bill. Get a screw driver kit, lift the lid and check the engine. You’re getting some response, but somehting akin to a migrating mallard. This suggests it could be something physically blocking the reed (fluff etc), or the reed catching the side of its slot. If there’s a visible obstruction, remove the obstruction gently and play the harp to be sure it’s not damaged. If there is nothing obviously blocking things, try gently pinging the end of the reed to see if it swings freely. Hold it up to the light and look througfh the slot. Is there daylight around the reed, or has it pivoted? If it doesn’t ping, you can try to adjust it using a standard kit. The next step is to obtain a replacement reed plate. The last step is to junk the harp and buy new. If you’ve already tried all this and the reed is still doing a daffy duck on you, the chances are it may have been inadvertently damaged and cannot be repaired.. The other route is to check your technique. Are you drawing the 2 reed with your tongue in neutral? Can you get a response from the reed if you play pianissimo, breathing through your nose to reduce all the air pressure and eliminate any bending signals?

  • November 6, 2012 at 11:50 pm
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    Hi,

    I bought my first harp (Hohner Marine Band) in 1987 and after a few months of trying in vain to learn bending notes, I gave up on it. I bought one more harmonica (Hohner Pro Harp MS) in 2001 and again gave up after failing to bend notes. I thought I had ended up with two bad harmonicas as 2 draw was just about impossible until I decided to pick this up again and googled around a bit on harmonica lessons.

    So, now I am able to do 2 draw to some extent. However, I find myself out of breath very quickly and it doesn’t happen with other draw notes. After reading about breathing through the nose, I pinched my nose and tried 2 draw and to my surprise, I was able to produce a solid and loud note and I could even bend it to some degree. This seems counter to what you said about breathing through the nose.

    I am guessing this to be my last attempt at learning this. Do you have any thoughts on my problem?

    Thanks,

  • November 22, 2012 at 9:34 am
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    Hi Phil, you’ve actually fallen in line with exactly the way we’ve said! Breathing through the nose is a way to release the pressure that causes the reed to bend. This is one way for beginners to achieve a clean draw 2. The other ways are to relax the tongue and keep trying, or else play as quietly as possible – ie. very low pressure – and, once the correct response is achieved, to build the volume while still maintaining balance on the clean 2.

    Eliminating the nose and applying air flow accurately to the 2 hole just using your mouth creates the air pressure necessary to achieve a purchase on the reed. Withdrawing the tongue (Ee-you-yaw) the manipulates the bend reeds into their bent positions. Remember you’re actually stunning the draw reed and dipping the blow reed; the sensation is a draw bend. If you are still having difficulty with all this, then splash out on a Skype lesson or two, or else find a local teacher who can show you how.

  • January 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm
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    Hi
    Although I have played guitar for nearly half a century I have only just taken up harp. I am enjoying the chromatic (Suzuki 12 hole SCX-48) but like Roy, I too have trouble with the draw on hole 2 and like Jocelyn, sometimes hole 3. I find I get a better note pinching my nose, but it’s not a good look! By “trouble” I mean sometimes I get a good note, sometimes not and sometimes no note at all. I’ve only had the chromatic for a week so I suspect I need a lot more practice before I attempt surgery. Thanks for the article, it’s good to know you are not alone. Great web site!
    Thanks Wilf!
    George

  • October 3, 2013 at 4:54 am
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    Would anyone know why a chromatic G Horner with windsavers….have completely different notes in a chromatic G Koch without windsavers?……I am quite complexed as it seems the keys would all be the same…..Thanks for any help

  • October 9, 2013 at 11:57 am
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    Hi Urbanharp. I suspect the answer lies in the marketing strapline ‘A diatonic harmonica with the extra notes of a slide harmonica’. So, you get the best of both worlds. The Koch Chromatic Harmonica tuning is like the 1896 Marine Band with the slide out, but when depressed has chromatic capabilities allowing full chording in the first three holes. In more depth…

    From the Blindman’ Blues Forum:
    Now….the difference between a Koch Chromatic harmonica, and other models of Hohner Chromatic harmonicas is this….A Koch has its notes arranged in the same pattern as a standard 10 hole diatonic harmonica. If you are familiar with these, such as the Marine Band, the Special 20, and all other 10 hole diatonics, you will already know that holes 1, 2, and 3 are the low notes of an incomplete diatonic (7 note do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do) scale, and holes 4, 5, 6, 7, are a complete 7 note diatonic scale, and holes 8, 9, and 10 are the high notes of another incomplete scale. This note arrangement is called the Richter System of tuning and has been in use since harmonicas were invented in the 1800’s. It has that traditional sound and allows for the “oom-pah” vintage style of playing with chords accompanying the melody notes of the song, as well as the later style of bending notes as used for the blues and country music. So really what a Koch Chromatic is, is two diatonic harmonicas combined into one, if the one you buy is in the key of “C”, then you will actually have two harmonicas, one in “C” and one in “C sharp”, or also called “D flat” not meaning to be confusing. You will be able to play one whole complete chromatic octave of 12 notes on holes 4, 5, 6, and 7. But, you still will not be able to achieve complete chromatic octaves on the lower 3 holes or the upper 3 holes, simply because all the notes required aren’t there. [unlike a regular solo tuned chromatic harmonica -Ed].Having told you all this now, you also need to know that if the brand new Koch Chromatics sound as good as the one I own, which is at least 50 years old and has certainly seen its days, this may be your absolute favourite harmonica! Koch was a separate company and had its own line of harmonicas, such as the La Preciosa, and was bought out by Hohner who took over their trademark names and model line. The Koch Chromatic is, I believe, the only one still being made under that name now.
    This harmonica also does not have the little paper “windsavers” or “valves” glued over the reeds like most other Hohner Chromatics have. This will allow you to bend and wail notes much easier, and you won’t hear that annoying clicking sound of the valves slapping back and forth as you play.

    Check out this article which I think may complete the answer your question: http://www.angelfire.com/music/HarpOn/chrom.html

    Time for a lie down. Doc x

  • October 29, 2013 at 2:00 am
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    So glad to have read this! XD

  • November 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm
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    Thanks Top Dawg. Come back for more y’hear!

  • January 18, 2014 at 2:49 am
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    It puzzles me that 2 draw is the consistent problem even in different keys/tunings. What if slots 1-4 were all the same length and the reeds were simply tuned to the appropriate notes (as the manufacturer has differently tuned reeds for the 4-slots for a D or G harmonica, etc.)? Would 1-3 draw then play as easily as the 4-draw?

  • January 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm
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    Order one up and let me know! ;0)

  • March 20, 2015 at 4:15 am
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    I’m a newbie to the harp. I purchased a Honer Special 20. After a few weeks of trying to get a decent sound out of the instrument I decided the a better harp would help my progress sooner. I then purchased the Suzuki MR 350. I now have a problem with the 4 draw. It will not play. Any suggestions.

  • May 19, 2015 at 3:51 pm
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    Oh MY GOSH!! Im ACTUALLY LEARNING! I can PLAY THIS THIING BETTER after reading this artical… =D Thank YOU!~! This is FUN!

  • July 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm
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    Hard to play low end draw notes on my new lee Oskar melody maker in c.just draw in air. No trouble with my diatonic harps.

  • July 13, 2015 at 10:31 pm
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    Thank you so much, this was really helpful! I was drawing in way too hard, but doing it softer really works a lot better.

  • August 31, 2015 at 9:00 pm
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    Hi Wilf!

    I’m still having problems with the 2 draw, could you elaborate on how to inhale whilst trying to create a note in the perfect pitch? When i try and succeed it only lasts for about 1 second or less, and im completely full of air. How can I make a longer note than 1 sec?

  • November 5, 2015 at 2:54 pm
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    Maybe this helps?

    As a flautist for more than 40 years, I’ve wanted to play the harmonica for not quite as long but (shamedly) never got round to it. I’ve more freetime now and having experienced this 2 hole draw problem in the last fortnight rather frustratingly, I have probably been on every site, forum, on line teaching lessons YouTube etc etc but I have never been able to successfully conquer this………..until now!. I tried every mouth, tongue and throat combination saying every word recommended until by accident , rather than say the word ‘ewe’ on draw, I said the word ‘you’………..and there I have it ! So simple, lol.

  • November 12, 2015 at 4:31 pm
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    Hi Ian, without hearing things first hand, it’s hard to say what the issue is here. I have a MM in G that plays C cross harp. What key is stamped on your harp? Could it simply be the pitch? How do you get on with, say a regular G diatonic Lee Oskar?

  • November 12, 2015 at 4:31 pm
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    Excellent! Glad we could be of service :o)

  • November 13, 2015 at 12:03 pm
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    Hurrah! Thanks for your feedback Keith. Great we helped you master the 2 draw.

  • November 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm
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    Sounds like a technique issue to me, unlike reed in your Suzuki is a dud. Best seek out another harp player locally or find your nearest teacher. Failing that, you can book a Skyosess with me and we can take a look.

  • November 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm
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    Another convert! Keep up the good work Chas

  • December 1, 2015 at 3:16 am
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    Thanks Wilf and everybody else! I didn’t realize that there was so much to the lowly harmonica. I finally was able to get a sound out of 2 draw on the marine band G by drawing very gently. Last week I bought a special 20 C and nothing came out of hole 2. I even called Hohner and was going to send it back. I decided to open the harmonica, at Wilf suggestion and “played” with the reed ( actually pushed in) and voilas, I could not believe it I got a nice G sound out of hole 2 draw and to top it off I can even bend it to F! Now, all I need to do is learn out to play them 🙂

  • January 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm
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    Thanks for your update Fernando. Don’t you just love it when everything goes to plan?!! Now start making LOTS of music. :o)))

  • January 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm
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    Hi Unibrownies, sounds like you’re doing it right. If you’re breathing through your nose when you star, you WILL fill up very quickly. You now have to learn to close off your nose-valve and achieve the same level of pressure on the reed through regular braething. So.. WITHOUT squeezing or pulling the reed into a semi-bend. Try the quiet approach. Simply play the 2D as a whisper, as quietly as you can while still getting a response. COmpare it with 3B. Clean pitch? Good. Now start to amplify this, but without loading pressure on the reed. It’s about breathing across the reed, filling your lungs, but kind of forgetting the reed is there. Let it respond but stop trying to coerce or manipulate it with your tongue, or throat, or both. Just breath from your diaphragm.

  • March 12, 2016 at 1:15 am
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    Hey, thanks for the very helpful article. I’m a harmonica newbie. I bought a Hohner SP20 C harmonica and, after a little study on technique, to my amazement I could play a two hole draw using tongue blocking every time, no problemo. What’s the big deal, I thought. Naturally, I concluded that I am a gifted harmonica genius. Then I tried the same thing on a Hohner SP20 G harmonica. Couldn’t play that note at all. It kicked my butt. Guess my self-assessment as a harmonica genius was just a wee bit premature…. Is there some difference between C and G harmonicas that would account for my ease of playing a 2 hole draw on the former, and my difficulty on the latter? Are some notes inherently more difficult to play on harmonicas of different keys?

    Distinct but related issue: I’m now trying to get the 2 hole draw on the G harmonica by putting tape over the adjacent holes and working on breathing and embouchure adjustment. I think it is beginning to work. I figure that if I can get it this way first, I can then remove the tape and work on getting it with tongue blocking as well. What do you think?

    Thanks!

  • March 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm
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    Hi Tim. Instant result on the SP20 in C then! I’m surprised you didn’t join a band after that ;O) My assessment is that you got lucky. 2D on a C harp is quite responsive to being blocked; the harp itself is mid-range in terms of pitch. A 10 hole harp in G is at the lowest end of the standard tuning spectrum in terms of pitch. 2D on the G harp is therefore one of the lowest notes available in this range. That’s one long and heavy reed compared to the C harp. So my second assessment is that you haven’t yet developed the muscle power and positioning of your tongue/vocal tract to facilitate this low note. Have you tried it pursing (puckering)? Was it successful? You may find that this method will get you further initially, it might be the more natural approach for you, but don’t abandon your quest to tongue-block. By the way, if you’re a regular to the Surgery, you will know that I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that a true blues player (or general harp player) should tongue-block exclusively. In my opinion a good player should be proficient in pursing, blocking and even u-blocking – this includes draw bends, blow bends and over bends – and be able to switch techniques at will. Anyway, to answer your question, yes some notes are inherently more difficult when you start out. Their contrasting characters are much more evident. This disparity will fade as your skill set grows and your ability to transfer technique between harp keys becomes the norm. At which point you can consider low tunings!

    As for your second comment. Throw away the crutches pilgrim, and get your natural embouchure sorted. Let your ears tell you if you’re hitting your target note cleanly. If not, respond by adjusting your chops to eliminate the intruding reed(s). And, ensure that you are producing a rich, air-tight tone. No airy hissing, or gas leaks. This means you are locked on to your target hole and playing efficiently. Tone will follow. As will the propensity to find your first bends.

  • April 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm
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    Wow, I’m a newbie and have been having trouble with my one hole draw. Took your advice, it works! Thanks!

  • August 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm
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    i think my 1 blow is not working..but 1 draw is working.
    no sound being produced from 1 blow. i have puck c , M.Hohner Harmonica.
    is this a common problem ? ( no sound being produced from 1 blow..have tried blowing with different intensities) or should i replace it?

  • September 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm
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    Hi Ankit. If the car engine ain’t doing what it’s supposed to, you need to look under the hood. Take off the cover plates and check the reed. Is it stuck in its slot? Is there any debris obstructing it? Is there a reed there?

  • September 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm
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    Welcome to a whole new world Paul. Well done for persevering.

  • September 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm
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    Thank You WILF, I thought my harmonica was broken, but Praise the Lord, I saw the light… God bless !

  • September 30, 2016 at 7:05 pm
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    Allelujah! That’s great news. Thanks for dropping by the Surgery Andrew. Glad I could be of assistance.

  • October 18, 2016 at 2:32 am
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    I got it! The 2 hole draw and 3 hole blow sound the same 🙂

    Thank you Keith the flautist. It’s all about the “you” for me.

    Chris

  • October 30, 2016 at 4:44 pm
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    Is the A key harmonica harder to bend than the C. I am a beginner, what do you recommend. My teacher suggest to buy a A crossover, but some say A is tough to bend. Is this true?. Thanks WILF.

  • November 2, 2016 at 8:28 pm
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    Hi Andrew. I would say the A is slightly easier if anything. The reeds are slightly longer and therefore more co-operative. You need good movement of air and bend technique for the 1D’, 2B’ and 2B”, but this is all to your advantage in building muscle memory and control. The A is DEFINITELY the better option for regular blow bends in holes 8, 9 and 10. Conversely, if you’re going to attempt overbends, I’d start on 6B# overblow on the C harp; it tends to be the most responsive reed channel I’ve come across.

  • November 2, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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    Way to go Chris. Another step forwards!

  • May 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm
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    your recommendation was soooooooooooooooo gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood
    I could play 2 drawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
    I love uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  • May 21, 2017 at 8:34 pm
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    Parva I’m delighted this worked for you! Please tell all your friends where you found the solution and visit the Surgery again soon.
    Doc :o)

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