Bending 2 draw... to E??

Hi all,

New harp player here, been playing for about 2 months. Used to play sax middle school through high school… but that was a very long time ago.

Anyway, I’m taking JP’s video lessons and have a good book (Rock 'n Blues Harmonica by Jon Gindick). I just did the bending lessons in JP’s series today, and I’m bending -1 and -2 well, and fairly OK on -3 and -4 (-4 can sound like a sick goose sometimes and I can only get a one step bend on -3, to Bb so far). I guess that’s not terrible for day 1. I’m using an electronic tuner to find if and how I’m bending the note. Most often on the 2 draw, I bend down to F and back up easily… I still find it hard to nail the F# cleanly. However sometimes I go even farther and my tuner tells me I’ve bent down another semi-tone to an E. JP describes bending as sounding the blow and the draw reeds at the same time. Since the 2 blow is an E, am I actually freezing the draw reed and only sounding the blow? Every harp note chart I’ve seen says you can only bend the 2 draw 2 semitones (from G down to F# to F on a C harp). I can only do it my Special 20, not my Blues Harp MS, nor can I reproduce it reliably. Sometimes I get a high-pitched “feedback” type tone after hitting the E.

Is this what they call “overdrawing”? ???

IMO yes! Imagine a shutter on a window that hangs from the top. In a gentle breeze the shutter will bounce back and forth and make the banging noise. A hard steady wind during a storm will push the shutter open and hold it there while the wind rushes thru with no banging. Your reeds will do the same with too much air flow. It takes a lot less air than you think to make the reeds respond.

No overdraws are only on holes 7,9 and 10. On the C harp you can overdraw on the 7 draw to get a Db note and a Ab on the 9 hole and a Db on the 10 as well. Overblows are on holes 1,4,5 and 6. You can get a Eb on the 1 and 4 blow and a Gb on the 5 blow and a Bb on the 6 blow. I don’t know why you are getting different notes on some of your draws but its not called an over draw unless its holes 7 9 or 10. It might be called an overbend though or that harp is not reed gapped correctly.

Thanks… maybe it’s a gap problem because in addition to this bit of weirdness, it’s just not very responsive on the 2 and 3 draw compared to my Blues Harp MS © and even my other Special 20’s in other keys (have one of those sets of 5, GACEF). Maybe this one will be my first attempt at adjusting gaps. :o

Special 20s are usually pretty reliable out of the box. I have only had one bad one out of the 20 or so I have purchased over the years and it was also the 2 draw that was bad on it. I would just go buy a new one. Working on harps yourself takes a lot of practice and time and you will most likely ruin a few harps learning to do it so use bad harps or old ones when working on them to practice.

I don’t really care if I jack it up, to be honest. I have another C harp to play (my Blues Harp MS which I actually prefer to the Special 20), and I can always get a reed plate cheaper than another harp if I screw it up really bad. I’m not completely inept with my hands so I doubt I’ll do anything too terrible to it anyway. If I do, I’m only out $20-something for a reed plate and I’ll have learned what not to do. :wink:

Or maybe I’ll just buy some Bb or F reed plates for it and re-label it since I already have another C anyway. :smiley: