Can’t bend more than almost a semitone

I’ve got a problem, I’ve just learnt how to bend and can activate the bend pretty good. But I can’t go deeper than just touching the note a half step down, how should I do to be able to go deeper?
(I’m draw bending on holes 1 through 6 except for the five, same on all holes).


I’ve got good news for you! If you are bending a half-step, then you are well on your way. You just need more time bending and you’ll be able to go deeper as your tongue and throat get more experience and more reps in. Just use the bend-it-better tool or an app on your phone to measure your progress along the way and don’t get frustrated with yourself. The secret is really in getting more reps in. You’ll get there!


Hi @Ilo

Since it sounds as if you are a beginner, then I am unsure about your knowledge of the harmonica. So just in case you don’t know this: on holes 1, 4 and 6 you should not attempt to bend beyond a half-step. Otherwise you risk damaging the reeds. :point_left:

– Slim :sunglasses:


Thanks @Slim appreciate your information, I thought you couldn’t bend more than a half step on 1 4 6 but it appears like you can but shouldn’t. Thanks again.


Welcome to the forum @Ilo! No, you are correct -1, -4, and -6 only bend a half-step. Only holes -2 and -3 bend more than a half-step. If you are raising up the back of your tongue towards the roof of your mouth in order to activate the bend, think about pulling that place where the tongue in the roof of the mouth are meeting backwards. Also think about making your throat is large and open as possible. If you pay attention to the difference between playing a natural note and moving into a bend, you just keep moving further in the same direction in order to get into a deeper bend. Hope that helps! Let me know… And welcome again to the forum.


That’s how it starts!

I’ve tried many ways to bend and it all comes down to one thing, the amount of air coming through the reeds and the pressure. It doesn’t require a lot of force, contrary to what I originally thought, but rather the throat positioning and airflow as @Luke teaches us…

What really helped me to get beyond a half step on bends was to think of sucking a really thick shake through a straw… That gets you lower.

Hitting the notes on demand is much trickier :wink:


Milkshake analogy is on point. :+1:t3: