Advanced techniques.....where to next?

Hi all,

Hope you are all well. First off i’ll admit i’m only in my first month of learning this great instrument and still plodding away at Mary Had A Little Lamb but i’m happy to say that the single notes are getting better every day. Obviously I have a long way to go before I worry about advanced techniques but i’m curious about things like ‘over-blowing’ and ‘over-drawing’ that I keep hearing about. I skipped ahead through the lesson index to see if Luke covers these techniques just so I could get an over-view and a better understanding but he doesnt seem to cover these techniques. I guess it’s beyond the scope of a beginner course, so my question is, where have people gone to
continue their progress and learn such techniques once they’ve completed Beginner to Boss?


Hi @chris3

Yes, those techniques (overblows and overdraws) are most definitely advanced techniques – so advanced that some professionals do not use them because they do not feel that they can play them well enough to use them in live performances. Simply being able to overblow or overdraw is one thing – even I can do it. To use them well (meaning in tune, in time with the music, etc) is something entirely different !!

I personally am convinced that the absolute best way to learn (not only) such advanced methods is with a personal harmonica trainer. I know: easier said than done. But there are good ones out there who offer live Zoom or Skype lessons. It is very important and advantageous for you when your trainer can see and hear what you are doing.

Since you are just starting on your journey, there is ample time for you to search around and perhaps find a personal trainer who is not only affordable for you, but also is competent and personable/likeable.

Good luck and best regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:


@chris3 I’m gonna refer you to this post on the main over-blow thread on this forum.

I’d take it a step further and say so advanced that most (more than 50% of) professionals don’t use them.

Give me your top 5 favorite harmonica recordings and let’s see how many of them contain OB’s!

I always feel a little bit exasperated when beginners get fixated on over-blows and over-draws because I’m like:

  • Can you play all your draw bends on holes 1,2,3,4,6 and blow bends on holes 8,9,10?
  • Can you play -2" and -2’ at will?
  • Can yo play -3’‘’ -3" and -3’ at will?
  • Can you play 10’ and 10"

If the answer to any of these is NO, then I wouldn’t worry about OB/OD’s. Why? Because all of these you can play with big fat tone, they are used in 95% of all harmonica recordings, and there is an infinite amount of expression you can accomplish with these.

On the other hand OB/OD’s are the “thinnest and most unstable” sounds in the words of the great Joe Filisko, as quoted on the link I provided at the top of this post.

When it comes to learning new techniques, slow and steady wins the race! Or, as I like to put it: the faster you wanna grow, the more you have to go SLOW!

So, learn the deep relaxed mouth position before learning single notes.
Learn single notes before learning to bend.
Master ALL your bends before worrying about OB/OD’s.
That’s my advice.

I agree with @slim that private instruction may be the fastest way to advance. One great option for a teacher is @davidkachalon .


Thanks Luke
I wasn’t really concerned about knowing how to do them (I know I’m a long way down the road before I’d be anywhere near capable of exploring them). I was really just curious to know WHAT they are. At the moment if I listen to recordings I can just about tell when a note is being bent, but I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to recognise an OB or OD :slight_smile: Really just trying to further my general understanding of the instrument.


@chris3 Right on my bro glad you followed up here because I wanted to follow up and thank you for your initial post. After I replied, my own words were ringing in my ears because I had almost EXCLUSIVELY been practicing music with overblows/overdraws for a week or two prior, lol. I was like, “I need to get back to practicing more roots stuff…” and I have! :sunglasses:

Regarding what they are, if you don’t mind, to keep the threads clean, I think better to check out the OB/OD link I gave, and then post your question over there please? :pray:t3:


I am about to start lessons with David. The time zone means I’ll be just possibly awake 5.30am in the dark but very excited. I’ll report on my experience with him.


Nice Toog!!!

Ouch. 5:30 am that’s tough. GOOD FOR YOU! Love the dedication. :facepunch:t3::sunglasses:

Glad to hear you’re branching out. Over the last few years I’ve studied with Joe Filisko, Todd Parrott, and Carlos Del Junco. Different people offer different perspectives and studying broadly is so enriching!