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How do you bend?

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Eddy W
Feb 18, 2010 4:52 PM GMT

Hi all - I'm a total noobie at this and have tried to bend notes but I just don't get it. Am I missing something or am I just thick.

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Comments (11)

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Feb 19, 2010 4:51 PM GMT
Andrew T Replied:

After your successfully playing a single draw note (I recommend starting with the 2 or 4 hole draw), keep your lips on the instrument so that you're still only sounding on reed but do with the rest of your mouth like you're trying to make an "EEEEEE" vowel sound. Then keep your lips so you're playing that same reed but shange your mouth so that you'reslowly switching from an "EEEE"to an "OOOOO" vowel mouth shape. When you switch to the "OOOOO" use a little more force in terms of air. Do this while inhaling on a single note. And Practice practice practice!!! Good luck. Stick with that harp, friend :)

Feb 20, 2010 10:30 AM GMT
Eddy W Replied:

Thanks for the replies guys, I'll look on YT and try the EEEEEEE OOOOOO method.

Feb 20, 2010 12:39 PM GMT
Broke Leg J Replied:

The harmonica you are using also has a lot to do with how easily you can bend notes. I'm pretty new to this myself and have only played Hohner Marine Band and Special 20 harps. Bending the Marine Band for me was very hard, while the Special 20 bends pretty readily. What other harps do you guys think bend easily?

Feb 20, 2010 3:40 PM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Broke,,,Hohner Golden Melodies drawbend and overbend nicely.

Feb 20, 2010 5:04 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

AS far as the harmonica itself goes, it some cases it is trueabout the instrument, based on how it is gapped and the tightness of the slot tolerance, but those areharps that are absolutely NOT for a newbie because newbies lack a very important playing skill, and that's control of their breath force and 98% of them play with far too much breath force to ever be using harps like that and when they're learning bending technique, every single one of them will try to force it by using too much breath force and they will quickly blow them out regardless of the manufacturer.

Bending has to do more with the manipulation of the shape of the inside of the mouth and what you want to do is lower the teeth/jaw VERY SLIGHTLY and NEVER use more breath force because you lose complete control of the technique, and you'll blow out the harp in a hurry.

So again, in some cases it is the harmonica, by 98% of the time, it's the playing technique and too many players tend to blame the harp for everything rather than reexamine their playing technique.

Feb 21, 2010 12:25 PM GMT
Broke Leg J Replied:

Barbeque Bob, that's exactly what I'm finding out. I started bending by moving a lot of air through the harp and over the few months I've been playing, I can now bend more easily with a LOT less air flow. I have to say I'm still struggling to bend 3 draw in tune over the three bend notes available on that hole. I've been otherwise diverted lately, but plan on going back to work on bending in tune using a chromatic pitch meter. Any other tips on bending in tune?

Big Daddy Ray, thanks for the tip on the Golden Melodies. I'll have to give one a try soon. It is kind of too bad that unlike other instruments, there's really no good way to try before you buy with the harmonica.

Feb 21, 2010 8:19 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

In order to bend in tune, you cannot be using a ton of breath force and 98% of players who play too hard, especially when bending notes, rarely have accurate bends, and so it really comes down to breath control and also being able to control your embouchure and the inside shape of your mouth. That means, forget the harp being the main factor, because it is a minor factor, and the single most important factor is, first, last, and always, the player's playing technique.

Feb 22, 2010 7:25 PM GMT
Mondo Replied:

Big Daddy Ray,

I've read that it's possible to put GM plates on other harps. If so,which ones do they fit? Also,which tuningdo theGMs use?Would it soundsimilar to MB, Special 20, Crossover or anything else Hohner makes?

Feb 27, 2010 4:02 AM GMT
Mondo Replied:


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