Bending problems/harmonica problems?

Okay. So I’ll use this as an introduction also!
I found an old harmonica in a drawer in my house a few days ago and have been practicing it and playing around with it, learning the basics and whatnot.

Well the harmonica I’ve got is a Bluesband Hohner harmonica which are reputed to be very cheap and occasionally of very poor quality. So after playing I realized that the draw reeds of several holes are shot, and the blow reeds of the higher holes are shot. I can’t seem to bend any of the holes. I can bend 1 just fine. In fact I played along to a video and I matched tone. But I can’t get ANY of the other holes to bend, not even three, which is supposed to have a three-note gap.
Could the reeds being damaged affect my ability to bend the notes, or am I just making up excuses?


It took me around 3 months to get to bend and another year to learn to bend all the holes and control them, to play the bent note without having to slur down to it.
The BluesBand harp is a POS to begin with. they are bad about leaking air, shavings or trash keeping reeds from working, and impossible to learn to bend on. Take off covers and make sure there is a small space all the way around each reed with no trash or debri.
2nd (is the worst) and 3rd hole is difficult for most people to play in the beginning, even without bending.
Harp is the easiest instrument people can pick out a tune on but takes years to polish and master. Good luck on your journey!

Hi Sinclair,

I have started, with some seriousness, to learn to bend. I didn’t find it too difficult to change the pitch of the draw notes but I had no way of knowing if the sounds I was making related to any notes.

On the 1 draw/bend, how do I know if I am playing a D-flat. Or on the 3 hole draw/bend am I playing the B-flat, A, and A-flat?

The answer to these questions is to use an electronic tuner. Here is a free application that has helped me to learn to bend to the note I am trying to play. Hopefully it will be of some use to you, and others, too.


I can bend now with relative control all the possible bends excepting 3-hole Ab. It just doesnt pop out.

Try this:

Properly torquing harmonica reedplate screws

Whether or not this helps, get another harmonica. This is what my dad and I did with the last Bluesband I bought.

.45/90 Buffalo Rifle vs. Harmonica at 100 yards