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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Hard to get sound out of hole 10
Hard to get sound out of hole 10
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5 posts
Jan 06, 2019
1:13 PM
It is Hard to describe but I have a really Hard time to get sound out of hole 10 on My hohner special 20. When the sound is coming out its sound aweful.

Is it just me or is it the harmonica?
229 posts
Jan 06, 2019
1:43 PM
Hi Dennis, I am confident that it is totally an issue with your technique. It is very common for raw beginners to struggle with the things you are dealing with. You will get the hang of these things soon by just keep sticking with it. You will look back and wonder why it was so hard, because it will seem so simple.

Maybe this will help: Don't blow, just breathe normally, gently and relaxed as if you were falling asleep. Relax your cheeks and just allow them to flex and puff out with your breathing. When you hear a clear tone, concentrate on what you did to achieve it. Let the reed play, don’t make it play. Never blow on any hole like you are blowing up a balloon.

It's about time I got around to this.
5738 posts
Jan 07, 2019
3:29 AM
Yes, it probably is technique. Special 20 key of C? I’m guessing

It’s amazing how many ‘bad harps’ I’ve owned which wouldn’t give me a good 10 hole result. often the 9 was a problem too.

Some of those harps i did work on and it was sometimes kind of successful but i could never really work out what i had to do and why they were all so bad.

I don’t have that problem anymore. It turned out to be mostly me. Yes, some harps are better than others in that way, and there are a few which are in fact really difficult, but the vast majority will play just fine once you learn how to play them.

I agree with dchurch’ advice above. The answer sometimes seems to be ‘blow harder’ but I’ve found that is seldom correct.

Sometimes, if you have been playing on the top, or practicing on the top, for a while it can seem that things were going ok and suddenly its not ok. In this case it may be the harp. The little reeds in the high end are a prone to get clogged up with ‘water’. Tapping them out should return them to playable state. But over time they may seem to clog up after very short time and be hard to clear. This is a sign of a dirty harp. I doubt you are at that place.

This is a good topic. I’m glad you raised it because its a common problem. It took me years to sort out, but mainly because I didn’t sort it out. Like many i just didn’t the play the top end. I really didn’t go there, to the 10 hole at least, until i decided to play 1st position blues and learn to bend it ‘like Jimmy Reed’ (I don’t do it like jimmy reed but i try). When i put in a few week of 5 minute blow bending sessions and a few workouts on popular blow bending songs, my 10 hole and 9 hole all started to get much better.

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