7, 8, 9 & 10 hole lick suggestions

Does anyone have any cool 2nd Pos. 7, 8, 9 & 10 hole licks they’d like to share, to break out from the middle and low octave range of playing? Mainly looking for attention grabbing licks rather than any extended playing up the high end.

Luke shared this the other day:

“Going up to a nice long -8 and holding and ending with a -8 8 -8 and sliding down -7 -6 landing on 6. (Great way to break out of being stuck with -6 as your highest note)” and that’s been great to utilise and play around with, so thanks again Luke.

Sometimes I’ll slide up to the 9 (normally from a 6 draw) then 9 -9 8 -8 7 -7 then come down the blues scale in whatever fashion takes my fancy at the time.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciate. Even if you don’t know the lick but can suggest some music to listen too that would also be great.


Play all these as quarter notes

8,7,6 (< or you could play this as draw notes)

Build from there! These are simple, but sound good.

Love this topic! Getting the major pent and blues scales under your belt will help a lot in this exploration, both of which I tabbed out here:


Thank you @DK360, much appreciated, I’ll be sure to check them out.


A lot of the upper register licks in blues use the blow bending technique (not to be confused with overblowing, which is a completely separate thing on its own) and in first position. However I do know one lick that uses blow bends in second position. Terry McMillan is the person who did this lick and he used in on almost every key in the standard 12 minus F and F#. Even though he’s a country harmonica player, a huge chunk of his licks are blues-friendly as he used the blues and mixolydian scales in them
The lick goes a little something like this:
8+’ 8+ 9+ 9+ 8+’ 8+ 9+ 9+
8+ 9+ 10+ 10+"
Slide down then draw rake
Here’s a few examples of him using this lick and some variations of it:


Thank you so much @KeroroRinChou I’ve been playing a little more country lately and that high end lick is just the sort of thing I’m looking to incorporate to add additional layers to my playing.

Blow bending is not a prob but I just need to utilise more and work on my confidence to use them.

Thanks again for your time and sending the YouTube links the tracks are epic,


Listen to some Jimmy Reed - like ‘Bright Lights, Big City’. He usually gives the top octave a good workout!


Nice one @Maka many thanks for your track tips.


@Sunseeker95 and of course, it probably goes without saying…Whammer Jammer!
9’ 9 10 10" 9

That’s really the crux of the matter for high note 2nd position bluesy playing without over-blows/over-draws.

If you play some kind of lick utilizing those notes -8-9 9 10 "10 9 you’re gonna get a big reaction from the crowd.

Even just jumping up to the 9 bending it down 9’ and sliding down is a great way to punctuate / add excitement and break out of the box.

The Way Down In Florida Riff can be played up the octave:
6 -7 -8 8 9. -7 -8 8 -8 6 Then when it goes to the IV chord 7 8’ 8 9 -10 10 8’8 9 -10 9 Playing with that might generate some ideas.

Also don’t forget that any 3rd position riff works well when you’re playing in 2nd position over the V chord.

So like I know you’re already playing and bending your -6 which is a GREAT way to add excitement. You can’t take it a bit further trying this lick over the V chord -6’ -6 7 -8 7 -6 -6’ -5 -4.

Hope that helps generate some more 2nd position high note ideas for ya!


Thanks so much Luke and indeed to everyone that’s contributed on this thread so far there have been some fantastic ideas come through that I’m already working on.

In fact it was interesting to see the comments regarding 1st Pos high note licks, but if you’re already jamming in 2nd then that’s not a possibility…or is it?

This leads to another interesting topic of if, when and how you can combine 1st, 2nd and 3rd pos licks into a song, without changing your harmonica key, assuming of course you’re playing in 2nd pos to start off with. I have dabbled with this looking to cut in a 3rd pos lick around the 3rd pos blues scales (typically with minor blues) when I’m actually in 2nd pos with mixed results. I never realised before you pointed it out above that 3rd pos works when in 2nd pos over the V chord, I’ll certainly be giving that a go. Would that need to be a minor song for that to work in 3rd?

What are your thoughts Luke, can you mix up positional licks when playing in 2nd pos?

I think I’ll leave the other positions to those who make a living out of playing :slight_smile:


Yeah good call! 1st, 2nd, and 3rd is all you need!

Sorry I realized your original post said “2nd position high note” so I was trying to come up with 2nd position stuff for ya.

But ya your question here is GREAT and here is the answer:



Of course, you can just play 2nd position blues licks throughout the whole form and have it sound great, but exploring this concept :point_up_2:t3: will likely generate some great new ideas for ya!

Also worth noting on this subject, IF you are playing Blues in 3rd position, when you go to IV chord all of your 2nd position vocabulary will fit like a glove. :sunglasses: