Practicing The Choke
In order to play good sustained overblows you have to have good controll of the choked reeds.
Practice choking the reeds isolated and at different pressure levels.

A good excercise for choking is bending down the lower blow notes while trying to stop the draw reed producing sound.
Once the blowreed reaches the point where it would normaly choke, you can keep it sounding by increasing the pressure. This will most likely also cause the drawreed to respond first.

Working on not letting the drawreed sound will give you a good control of the two seperate parts of the overblow.


User Contributed Notes
03-06-2010 12:51
Hey Mick :)
Good to hear from you, I play your CD to all my students so that they know there is more that you can do with the harp.
03-06-2010 12:38
Mick Kinsella
Hi Tinus.
I met you a few years ago in Trossingen.Great site,really valuable information and great playing. Mick.
07-10-2009 13:57
You choke the reed by resonating a pitch that is outside the reeds playable range. You do this by changing the resonance frequency of your mouth. You can do this by using your tongue and cheeks, but the throat is also an important part of the process. Practice that by doing a tongue block and bend the blowreed down till it chokes.
06-10-2009 20:51
B illy Vienneau
Do you choke reeds with your cheks and tounge?
03-10-2009 23:36
For the high reeds there is one very important thing that you can do: practice. They need to be played softly and with good resonance and that only comes from careful practice.
03-10-2009 17:17
Billy V
Besides the wax what can you do on the uper tiny reeds. ALso my friend an I are going to watch reupert oyslers video on this stuff. Do you have any other good sources. Also mabye where a can talk to some customizers?
28-09-2009 00:03
for the blownotes. You need to get them to choke, however this will also mean that they can choke when you play them normally. Using force to get them to play will only make them choke faster. Resonance is the key to this. Learn to resonate the note even before you play it. The note only really chokes when you approach it from below. So you really have to close and straighten out the reed. Obviously it still has to play normally, but when you bend down the isolated reed it should choke quite soon.

For the overdraws. If you isoltae the blowreed and play the overblow that way, you will notice that you don't really need a lot of force when playing the overdraw. Again it comes down to setting up the reed properly. If the drawreed chokes it should loose almost no air at all.
27-09-2009 23:24
Billy V.
Hey Tinus. I have been on your site for a while. I like it. I just got a new Prommaster suzuki because I heard they overblow/draw well. The two and three blow reeds I cannot get to choke. SO I only can play a over blow plus a blow on those.(those sound bad right). I am afraid to open it though I have all ready done it to many other harmonicas and have some amount of experiance. It is just that whenever I close the blow reeds or some thing Well not whenever. My most common problem is that when I do that or something my blow notes become sticky and do not always play instantly some times not for a second and i really have to use my mouth strength to get them to sound. I do not want to screw up the harmonica. I will use my broken seydel 1 and 2 blow.What do you advise for the 1 and 2 blows?

- I also have problems with over draws. I can do over blows with a relax toungue but with over draws it is such a high note. How should i do that with my throat? TENSE ? I c an get them to sound some times with my tounge?
28-02-2008 11:39
Ben Klein
Thanks, I've been reading the technique section, and it sounds like I was trying to get a tongue tip bend. (;() But it's working now, and no more Lee Oskars for me :-)
27-02-2008 13:01
No it is not a lower key harp. I only play C harps nothing else. When you bend down the blow note slowly the blownote will stop sounding. Since you are still putting through air one of two things can happen then: the overblow comes out, or the blowreed goes in to torsional vibration (a high pitched squeek). If the first happens you are on the right track, if the second happens you need to work on your harp or stop playing Lee Oskars ( :-) ) see: http://www.overblow.com/?menuid=140 for details on stopping torsional vibrations.
27-02-2008 11:46
Ben Klein
Tinus what you said sounds like it's a lower key harp? On my C the blow bends squeak when I bend it too much.
10-04-2007 12:37
If you can blow bend the 8, 9 & 10 reeds, blow bending the 4, 5 & 6 is similar - but you shouldn't need to blow as hard. If you take the top cover off and physically choke (ie block) the blow reed while you try to blow bend the 4, 5 or 6 draw reeds, you should hear the effect - the blow note won't play but it's much easier to bend the draw reed! Generally speaking the 6 hole is an easier overblow to start with. Set up the reeds first! GENTLY bend the top (blow) reed up till it won't play at all, then tease it down in small steps just till it does. Follow the excellent tips on this site.
05-04-2007 19:32
Choking the reed is very much like playing a bent note. If you play a blownote and bend it down it will eventually choke.
05-04-2007 14:13
How do you choke the reed . I dont understand. I'm a bit slow