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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Can’t get the hang of Floyds Hotel from the video
Can’t get the hang of Floyds Hotel from the video
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1 post
Sep 13, 2019
4:41 PM
I’ve tried, but am not making any progress on Floyds Hotel from the video. Ready to give up. Any suggestions would help.
6166 posts
Sep 13, 2019
8:36 PM
I think I have that one in my system somewhere. I’ll go take a look. I did take the lesson but it was maybe 10-12 years ago
It will help if you describe which part is giving you trouble. What’s the first thing that trips you up?

Last Edited by SuperBee on Sep 17, 2019 12:39 PM
1 post
Oct 24, 2019
4:46 PM
I'm having trouble with this as well . Specifically the consecutive 3 draws in the second bar . Adam calls this a "scoop" and characterizes it as a wah-wah-wah sound. I'll keep at it but so far I'm missing the sound.
6223 posts
Oct 24, 2019
11:59 PM
I looked this up, played through it, and waited for the OP to engage.
That was 6 weeks ago. I’m afraid I’ll need to refresh my memory again. I’m away from home right now though.
I believe it’s based on a J Geils Band song, but I don’t know that band very well so I don’t have great recall of the tune; I have to go listen.
But it sounds like you’re having trouble getting the slight bend on the 3 draw. Can you bend?
2 posts
Oct 25, 2019
6:34 AM
I don't bend and have only been at the harmonica for a few weeks now. Raw beginner but enjoying it! Adam calls it not quite a bend . The tune sounds decent to me up to the point that I get to the 3 draw scoop . Thanks.
6224 posts
Oct 25, 2019
8:24 AM
Hi, mark9, thanks. That helps me understand.
I suppose that Floyd’s Hotel is an opportunity to learn this very thing and I expect that is one reason why Adam placed the lesson fairly early in his program.
Learning to intentionally inflect draw notes is the next step once you have single notes reasonably clean, and this song gives you a place to practice that in a musical context. The skill itself will likely take some specific attention.
It’s late here and I need to sleep now but I’ll look at searching for some good resources for you if no one else comes through first.
3 posts
Oct 25, 2019
10:47 AM
Appreciate the feedback ! I'll keep working on it and see if I can improve and get closer to the right sound.
6225 posts
Oct 26, 2019
4:33 PM
Mark9, I’m assuming you are achieving single notes with a ‘pucker’ embouchure, by which I mean you are using some manner of directing the airflow through the desired chamber which does not involve placing your tongue directly on the comb (which would be ‘tongue blocking’)
Please correct me if I’m wrong about that. There’s absolutely no reason you can’t be a beginner and use the tongue blocking embouchure to achieve single notes, but it seems most people start out with the pucker/whistle/lip-block/joint-hit embouchure. There are so many names for this and I’ve known people to be touchy about it but to me you either have your tongue blocking off the holes on one side or you have the harp more central and somehow use your lips on both sides to narrow the air stream.
It doesn’t make all that much difference really, because you still use the tongue to achieve bends. Just in the case of the tongue blocking embouchure you need to keep the tip up near the comb so you can’t waggle it around while you’re trying to work out what you’re doing.

The idea is to ‘hump’ up your tongue as you inhale (in the case of draw notes, and lets start there!)
There is no extra force required to achieve a bend, but it can seem like there is. Try to avoid getting that feeling, because if you develop the habit of associating extra breath pressure with achieving a bend it can be difficult to stop doing it that way. And you really don’t want that, it’s bad for your playing, involves tension which restricts your ability to move around and even impedes your creativity I think. Stay relaxed if you can, and try to stay aware of trying to be relaxed even if you feel some tension. It’s a bit like meditation, you don’t have to be perfect, it’s largely the attempt to be conscious which is the point.
The main draw bends are available on holes 1-4 and 6. 5 will also bend but it’s more of an inflection. It’s useful but not the place to start.
You can try this on each of those holes. Usually people find there is one hole they can bend more easily than others at first, but it’s not clear to me whether that’s inherently about the notes and the person or whether it’s about the way the particular harp they are using has been adjusted. Probably both things in some cases.

I don’t remember how it was for me, but

I’d maybe start with hole 4 on a C harp or A harp

Inhale while you’re tongue is just laying around kind of neutral and as you do, try drawing your tongue back a little

I think maybe the standard advice is to think of making the sound ‘ee’ as you begin to inhale, and then imagine ‘ooh’ as you move you tongue. It’s just a smallish movement.

See how you get on with that. You should hear a change in the sound. Once you get the hang of effecting a change then play around with it for a while and find the limits.

Think about whistling too, and how you change the internal shape of your mouth and tongue position as you whistle. There are related principles involved.
6226 posts
Oct 26, 2019
5:17 PM
I went looking for a video or such, and saw this one from Liam.
I should not be surprised to find him taking similar approaches to what I was thinking about, because I’ve found in the past I can relate to his approach.
This is one of the challenges with harp. There’s plenty of information available but you not only have to find the good stuff (as distinct from the nonsense!) but it also helps to find it presented in a way that clicks. Liam may not be as slick as some but I have found his approach works for me. I find Adam Gussow can teach me things quite quickly but I’ve heard others complain they can never learn from him because he ‘talks too much’ (for example)
Some people (many!) have found Jon Gindick can teach them, whereas I have never really clicked with how Jon presents things.

Have a look at Liam’s video. If it helps, great! If not, try a search using ‘bend notes harmonica’ or similar. Also see what Adam has to say about bending on this MBH site


4 posts
Oct 27, 2019
9:40 AM
SuperBee, Wow, thanks these posts are so helpful ! I am indeed using the pucker method to get single notes. I'm guessing I'm getting a decent single note about 70 % of the time. So I'm also still working to get a higher percentage and also better tone while trying to remain relaxed. For the last hour I've been working on bending the 3 and 4 by moving my tongue back and it does seem to be changing the sound. Particularly on the 4 so I guess I'm bending a bit . Adam's video which you linked to was helpful . Also I thought Liam's video was very helpful. I'm going to watch both video's a few times and read over your description and work on it . Then hopefully get a better sound and grasp on Floyd's Hotel . Thanks again !

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