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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > G Harp help
G Harp help
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1 post
Feb 27, 2022
11:37 AM
Hello harmonica fellows. My name is Norlo, currently living in Cordoba, Argentina.

I'm a jazz guitar player and a novice harmonica player. I have been playing since november 2021. I started with my Blues Harp in C. Recently I got a Hohner Rocket in G. I find the BLOW 3 very hard to play.

If I blow harder, the note goes out of tune. I find easy to play that note and the quality of the sound gets better if I close my nose with my right hand (weird I know).

It's a problem with my harp or my embochure? I'm guessing that the problem is me, since the reed looks good with no cracks.

Thanks a lot in advance and sorry for my bad english.
753 posts
Feb 27, 2022
12:35 PM
Yr English is good--- Portugese o Espanol in Argentina

Yr Probably familiar with Guitar set up and action----its always a personal preference---same applies fpr harmonica.

I hate to have someone just starting to get to involved with harp set up, but occasionally u get a bad set up right out of the box.

1 possibility

1]Open harp----
2] check reed gaps on the top reed plate [the blow plate---if blow 3 is notably 'closer to' or 'further from' in relation to blow 2 or blow 4---then the reed gap is bad and needs adjusting.

if cant slip a razor blade under it ---its to tight
If its much higher than blow 2 or blow 4 --its too high

tons of videos on set up

Last Edited by snowman on Feb 27, 2022 12:02 PM
2288 posts
Feb 27, 2022
1:09 PM
Your English is better than that of many born in the USA!

As snowman notes above, there might be an issue with the G harmonica 3 blow reed setup. Perhaps it needs a gap adjustment, realignment, or clearing of an obstruction.

Be gentle if you open it up and try to adjust it!

However, I have often heard reports over the years of beginners who first learned on a C harmonica and then struggle with low octave notes when switching to a lower pitched G harmonica. Your mention of closing your nose and getting a better sound makes me consider this to be a possibility rather than a mechanical issue.

I would suggest you try switching back and forth from the draw 2 to the 3 blow. They are the same note (D), and your embouchure should be the same on draw 2 as on blow 3. If you can get either one to sound OK, then your mouth shape/air column on the other note should work the same.

I am attaching a Steve Baker video on tone. He demonstrates how to adjust your airway to get good tone, but he also demonstrates how the wrong airway shape can stop a note from sounding on a perfectly functioning harmonica.

If the problem is mechanical, such as a reed gap adjustment, reed out of alignment with the slot, or a reed burr or obstruction, then you can adjust or clear it as needed.

In either case this video is still good information on developing tone.

Good luck on your harmonica journey!

Doug S.
2 posts
Feb 27, 2022
1:34 PM
Thank you guys! I believe that the reed setup is OK so maybe it's my technique. Thanks for all the information and help.
343 posts
Feb 27, 2022
2:30 PM
It could a gapping problem as snowman points out, but it sounds to me like it is your embouchure.

Blowing harder increases the air pressure in your mouth and throat, making the cavity slightly larger and de-tuning it. Holding your nose creates some back pressure which helps you maintain your original embouchure. But unless you want to hold your nose when playing certain notes, you will have to adjust your embouchure to compensate for the new pressure.

Every time a player plays a new note and with every nuance of technique their mouth cavity tunes itself to the note. That sounds hard, but the adjustments are mostly unconscious and with practice become automatic. I'll bet you do it all the time now, even as a relatively new player.

I think it eventually sort itself out and one day you will think, "Why was that ever a problem?" kinda like the sour 2-hole draw problem that often strikes beginners when they change harps or start learning to bend notes.

Good luck on your journey!

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