When setting up a reed try to get a minimal amount of leakage when it is choked. Any extreme arcing of the reed will interfere with choking the reed because the reed will never close the slot off properly.
In order to develop a good control of the blow reed it is wise to practice choking an isolated reed.
Open up a harmonica and block the draw reed of (e.g. by putting a finger over its slot). Play the blow reed and gently bend it down, if the gap is small enough you will soon reach the point at which the reed chokes.
Bending down the note is done from the H spot at the back of the tongue, not by using the tip of the tongue. The tip of the tongue should remain relaxed, as should the lips and cheeks.
Once you get the reed choked, slowly increase the pressure at which you are blowing and try to keep the reed choked as long as possible.
|Choke the isolated blow reed|
breath needed will not blow out a candle. (Plus, a friend giving me a junk harmonica, maybe 10 euros, on which I could learn
embossing reed slots.) I've a long way to go. My hint would be: really listen to the harmonica, more than to the noise in your head.
(My ambition is to play Miles' part on "Pharaoh's Dance" on Bitches Brew. It needs a middle octave Eb.)
Until you get the art of harp modification, DO NOT buy a great harp like a Lee Oskar (Although, when you do figure this out, the amzing difference you will feel on some of the $35 harps (low price,good quality harps that most players use because they ALWAYS eventually fail. If you spend $150 on each harp that eventually suffers metal fatigue instead of $35, the cost grows quickly, especially if you go through 20-30 harps a year like I do and need a wide range of keys and tuning styles. Lee Oskar makes a $20 harp tool kit that every harp player should own -but before you think I am a Lee Oskar plant, I want to say that the Suzuki M-350 ($60) and the Hohner XB-40 ($125) were by far my favorite harps because of their unusual manufacturing related bending abilty, followed by Lee Oskars, but M-350s and XB-40s especially, WILL NOT WORK WITH THIS TECHNIQUE BECAUSE OF THE DOUBLE REEDS ALLOWING FOR BENDING ALL HOLES, so use a Blues Harp Pro or a Lee Oskar when you get good enough not to mess up the plates and block the reeds. Until then Johnson's cheap sets are the perfect experimental modification harp.
This method is amazing and certainly takes the harp to a classical kind of instrument level, although I do find myself still sometimes wanting to do a 3rd position Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) Chicago style that many older harp players crave. I've been playing guitar for 30 years and harp for 28. 20 years ago I picked up mandolin, banjo, dobro, etc. Most people are best on their first instrument, but harp is the only instrument I play without having to think. But this method has changed that. With the dramtic change in style, I get a wider range but at a price. So there are times when I just have to play old, but I am hoping that an analogous grand epiphony moment comes like it did about 10 years after picking up mandolin, banjo, etc when I no longer have to translate into guitar, with this new style. One of the things I always felt good about was the ability to play in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 11th position (F on a C harp). I find myself playing more like a Richter tuned chromatic. Anyone else have any advice or ideas about this?
On some notes on some of my harps, when I play the overblow, the regular blow also sounds. You would think this is a problem with choking the blow reed, but hwen I isolate the blow reed, I can choke it totally fine, and same with isolating the draw reed, (and i can overblow on other notes), what in the setup causes this?
Also, On the overblow on hole one, I can get it if i dont connect my lung air to my throat (just kinda push my tongue forward in a whistle) but not in a sustained blow. How do I adjust these low reeds for overblowing, without compramising their bendability?'
i play easy and bluesy
and i play for my self
i play long with sonny boy
and little walter
and i am happy :))
p.s. i know how to overblow but i don't use
thanks tinus you are wonderful player :))
no owerblow for him...
But now I want to add my idea to simplify the chocking of a blow-reed without to open the harmonica or taping the gaps. Because I have only one harp and I don't want to open it everytime to change it's gap-settings.
My idea is to take a plane small ruler and shift it into the harps backside-opening to close the blow-gaps. To improve the gasket of the gap only a Postet can be wrapped around the ruler.
With this additives the learning musican is in the position to close the gaps easy and fast.
(Mac Gyver is greeting)
Only with this help I managed it to get an overblow until now.
But I will continue my attempts...
The note you played in hole 8 wasn't an overblow but a blowbend. As you will notice the pitch goes down when you play that note. Overblows go up in pitch. Also hole 7 cant be overblown but can only be overdrawn.
Take a look at the scalefinder to get a clearer picture of which holes can be overblown and which can be bent.
If you manage to choke the lower blowreeds you are well on your way to play a proper overblow.
In order to overblow you need to set up your harp properly. The harp you are playing is fine, it just needs some minor adjustments. You probably need to set the gaps a little lower.
However it will be difficult for you to judge the right gapping because you have only just started overblowing. To remedy this use some tape to cover the drawnotes on the reedplate. This will isolate the blowreeds (and will stop you from playing an overblow) so that you can get used to the feeling of choking them and can learn the relationship between the gap and the efficiency of the choke. After you set the reeds and have practice the choke take the tape off and put it over the blowreeds. Now you can practice playing the overblow without having to worry about the choke.
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