Is anybody experiencing more difficulty with the two draw on an ”A” harmonica compared to a “C harmonica?
I’m not having any problem, but in case you have only played C harps you need to realize that the lower the tuning is, the more difference there is in those lower holes (1-3) compared to the C harp.
As always, try to play those lower notes without using a lot of force. If all else fails, open up the harp and check that the -2 reed gap is not too large and not too small. But usually the trouble is expecting a lower tuned harp to play just like a C harp.
As with all tunings, a relaxed, deep mouth position and – initially at least – not trying to play too loudly are important in order to play those lower tones.
Some people find it easier to play low tunings, but each of us has our own strengths & weaknesses.
I was convinced that I had a problem with my 2 draw on my LO in A, until I realized it was an I D 10 T error…
Most commonly, particularly on the lower keyed harps, it’s a matter of technique as our fearless leader @Luke and others have pointed out to me…
But as @Slim says, if you are unable to get any sound out, you may have a gap issue on the reeds or something stuck in there, both of which have remedies
Hey Slim, I’m surprised by the popularity of the L & LL turned harps, particularly here on this forum. I’ve always found them to be real “wind machines”. I do have several and play them only because the band I play with have several songs a low tuned harp works well with, but when the song has a faster upbeat tempo, you’ll wanna’ have good lungs!
Hi Trapper @Trapper
Yes, L and LL tuned harps do require more air, but they really do sound great. However, their strong point is not upbeat tempo melody playing – they shine at rhythm accompaniment, especially chordal accompaniment.
The big heavy reeds which give them their “sexy” low tone are also responsible for their slow reaction when trying to play fast melodic lines. They can be used to great effect to play medium to slow tempo melodies, but it’s a whole different game when the tempo is high. Even having good lungs cannot overcome the slow reaction of those big heavy reeds.
The scale from G to F are each successively tuned higher, there are low E etc… harps out there. But previous replies are correct, be patient, don’t push to much air and G harp reeds are longer. I try to be more breathy and allow air to escape via the nose to avoid the strange honking noise.
Yeah, for the upbeat stuff, grab your F harp! But the Low Tuned harps are really fun, especially when playing solo.
Lee Oskar now makes a Low E Harmonica Minor harmonica. Bet that’d be fun to play!
I got a hohner rocket low in E, it sounds great, but you have to get it right, I find that if I use my nose to let some air in or out I avoid problem sounds, and the great thing is on the 4-10 it is in the nominal range. I also saw, no purchase that F and F# is available with rocket low, but almost $100.
I’ve started using canned air to get out fuzz in my harps, when I first did it, a bunch of floaters came out. The low end you have to tease it a little, I use a table top tuner to make sure if the note is flat or sharp, as needed.
I had a similar problem with a new Hohner Chromatica64 and, when I took a look at the reeds, a really tiny (white) whisker from my moustache was stuck in the gap. Removed it with tweezers and problem solved. I am a new player of harmonicas and besides the Chromatica64 I have a set of Fender Blues-Deluxe 10 hole diatonics, and an Easttop 16 hole chromatic. Nice to find this group!
I have the same problem, can anyone share my knowledge?
Hi Carla @CarlaZimmerman
If you read all of the messages above I think you will see that quite a good amount of knowledge has been shared already. Or is your problem different? If so, then you need to describe it more ckearly in order to get the appropriate advice.
Hello Carla, @CarlaZimmerman,
welcome to our forum!
I have to agree with @Slim’s opinion. We’re happy to help if there aren’t any suggested solutions here in the forum. However, the problems are often similar at the beginning of learning to harp, so that there are numerous answers.
If not, please formulate your problems or questions in detail! Then there are definitely some of the many users here who would be happy to help.
Regards from Astrid
Be brave piglet and keep at it!
The 2 draw tends to need to be nurtured and babied to come out right. Too much air and the note might start bending, not enough and no sound comes out…
If that fails, then look for little fuzzies or stray hairs which might be blocking the reed, as others have mentioned in this thread.
Above all, keep on harpin’
@CarlaZimmerman - welcome to the forum. How long have you been playing for? This is most often a technique issue - a normal problem that most beginners experience! These are the tips for a getting good -2:
1.) Let gravity lower your jaw so that it’s totally relaxed and in a nice “aw” vowel shape, your teeth should be far apart from each other
2.) Keep the back of your tongue down, like it is when you yawn. Make sure it’s not in the “Kk” zone (how your tongue is when you say a “Kk” consonant.)
3.) Nice steady, GENTLE, airflow. Most beginners (and many intermediate and advanced players) use WAY to much pressure.
Hope that helps!
Luke’s tips are good, but it can be hard to translate them into action as you learn to use new parts of your mouth more intentionally. One thing that really made me start correcting this (and I still screw it up regularly) was working on bending. A lot of the harmonica does not work well when overbent.
When I finally got a microphone for my computer instead of using the phone, the bend it better tool got a lot more responsive to anything I did. By this I mean it changed more quickly than previously and I could see where the sound was going. I found that the low three notes (for me) kind of always wanted to bend because I was not disciplined in the mouth unbent position. When it would get really out of shape because I was changing my mouth as I ran out of air I was actually bending them closed and it was like sucking a rock through a straw. This is most notable for me on hole 1 which I still really have to perfect my tongue position to perfectly flat or it just plays the bent note. It always sounded out of tune to me until I could get this fixed. The 1-3 holes are easy to overbend but especially 2 is for me at least. Fixing this very consciously will also help for the higher notes.
The only other thing I found is when going through the BtB course you really work sections hard for a while and I would jam them up with spit or some debris or something. Play play play, then something just went up the vacuum. Rinse and tap and blow and suck hard can really re-open it.
I got some extra harmonicas in different keys just to check them out. A, D, E, C, G, Db. Switching to the new harp when the C would jam was usually like opening my throat back up and I would realize my C harp needed a rinse. I hope that helps
I have trouble with the 2 draw on the A but especially on the G Harmonica – no matter what type of harp I try. But not with Harmonicas in other keys. What’s that about? Well…now that I read Slim’s answer to JGF, that makes sense, After taking Luke’s B2B lessons all on the C, probably just so accustomed to the C and need to acclimate to the lower keys. Like learning 2 draw all over again. Thank you!