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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Bending
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5 posts
Feb 06, 2020
7:01 PM
Boy, I'm really struggling with bending. I've watched multiple videos by multiple youtube teachers with multiple thoughts about mouth/throat shapes, lips, etc.. I've "accidentally" bent a couple of notes but can't do it consistently. I'll keep at it, but if anyone has the magic bullet let me know (just kidding I know there's no magic bullet).

Last Edited by 4Draw on Feb 06, 2020 7:01 PM
383 posts
Feb 06, 2020
7:50 PM
Search on this forum and you tube on that topic for posts and videos by Richard Sleigh, Michael Rubin and Ronnie Shellist
6474 posts
Feb 07, 2020
2:46 AM
I think I just kept trying and when I accidentally got one, I tried to do it again and eventually could do it when I wanted. Controlling pitch though was a whole other story and really I’m still working on it. For that, I think nothing beats training your ears but there are other exercises to help with the physical control.
6475 posts
Feb 07, 2020
3:12 AM
Oh, but I just just remembered that Iceman can teach beginners bending quickly, and with great pitch accuracy.
You should ask him about it. He knows what he’s talking about, great player and solid thinker.
6 posts
Feb 07, 2020
6:41 AM
Thanks ME and SB. I can't seem to find a search button.
317 posts
Feb 07, 2020
11:44 AM
There are various ways to bend a note, but just to get started you can hit the shallow bends with your basic wah wah sound and then refine it from there.

(search button is on the left under the "blues Harp Forum" tab)
384 posts
Feb 07, 2020
5:56 PM
4Draw, on the left side of the MBH page, click on Blues Harp Forum. Third row down on the drop down is "forum search". Click on that and a search page appears where you can type in your search.
7 posts
Feb 07, 2020
7:05 PM
Thanks ME.
318 posts
Feb 08, 2020
4:43 AM
How are you doing with the bending, did anything help ?

...another easy one on bending... from Charlie McCoy, breathe in for the note...for bending breathe in a bit harder...

It can be that easy.

Last Edited by Spderyak on Feb 08, 2020 4:48 AM
8 posts
Feb 08, 2020
5:00 AM
Spderyak not yet. I looked at some videos but haven't succeeded in a clear bend. I can do the wah wah. I'll continue to work on it. Many say it ends up being a feel thing that, when you get it basically you got it. Still searching. Thanks for asking and for the advice.
461 posts
Feb 08, 2020
6:32 AM
Superbee, I've been using a keyboard (small and cheap) in place of a couple of bending apps for a little while now. Seems to be more helpful than the apps. Ear/pitch training has been one of the benefits, I think, along with the mechanics.
Phil Pennington
6478 posts
Feb 08, 2020
4:01 PM
Fil, I am inclined to agree with your observation. The relatively infrequent use I’ve made of my (daughter’s) piano has lead me to conclude it’s the way to go. I’ve used a korg tuner for quite a while and couldn’t ever really get excited about the various apps.
I think those things have their place, but I’ve recently had some insight as to why they don’t seem to work for me.
It’s because they represent a distraction.
I’m trying to learn something with my ears, I mean to connect a physical action inside my face/head/body with a sound.

When I use an app or a tuner, I’m interposing a visual cue. It’s fine for learning the physical part of controlling the bend to go higher or lower, and (the korg) works great to see the smooth or jumpy transition and learning to take control of that.
I think it does not really train your ears well, though. And once you do have control of the process it’s really your ability to hear musical pitch that matters.
Using a reference pitch is the way to go with this. It’s really just a more focused way of listening. I think it is something which is quite difficult to explain in words but quite evident when you do it.

I think.
9 posts
Feb 08, 2020
8:46 PM
Well this could be interesting. I found this website Harmonica for Dummies
and it had this article about bending. There is a 1,2,3 method partway down that describes a way of putting part of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and moving it backwards and forwards unt you get a bend. For a split second I swear I heard a note bend. I'll practice more tomorrow, it's late.


Last Edited by 4Draw on Feb 08, 2020 8:46 PM
319 posts
Feb 09, 2020
5:17 AM
Yet another super easy way to "bend" a note on a draw is simply put the harp to your mouth and breathe in..you get the note.
Now push the harp ever so slightly more against your mouth while you breathe in and the note will drop or bend.
Super simple...

Another way to bend on the inhale is just do a yawn as you breathe in and you can hear the note drop then come back up as you finish the yawn...

Perhaps over time you'll notice different players have various methods or preferred ways to play.
I sometimes use multiple methods in the course of song, so not to worry about a right or wrong way, chances are you'll come up with various ways you like to get your notes. and of course
Have fun.

Last Edited by Spderyak on Feb 09, 2020 6:26 AM
10 posts
Feb 09, 2020
1:24 PM
I think I'm going to put off my bending pursuit and try learning other aspects of playing first. Not that I won't try, just gonna concentrate on other things first. Thanks to all y'all.
21 posts
Feb 27, 2020
1:15 PM

try doing john gindick method of using kee koo. on 4 draw do kee then koo as you bring your tongue back slightly.

Check the link to some of his videos.
Wailing ptarmigan
8 posts
Feb 29, 2020
8:28 PM
I second the "Kee" "Koo" and "Kyah" methods. Focus on trying to change the volume and shape of the space inside your mouth by dropping your jaw and placing the tip of your tongue on the floor of your oral cavity behind your lower teeth and then lifting the back of your tongue up towards the roof of the mouth. When it happens you'll know!
325 posts
Mar 01, 2020
4:33 AM
i think it's much like learning any new language.
At 1st you stumble over new words and tongue placement to get the pronunciation etc.

In my case english is my 1st language. In conversation I have little idea where my tongues is to get a word.
Nowadays it's much the same when I play harp. Mostly I have little idea where my tongue is I just play whatever note I want to hear and it's a done deal and on to the next note, word, phrase etc.
Eventually it will all come together for you. Other than that it's all rhythm and timing, phrasing, things like that.
Good luck
Have fun

Last Edited by Spderyak on Mar 01, 2020 4:37 AM

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