draw notes 8 9 10

I’m having a hard time getting the draw notes on the 8 9 10 I can get them one time and not the next time what’s the secret to the top of the harmonica

Hey, the high notes will come. When I had first started out, I couldn’t get them to work, now a D harp is my favorite. I’ll still have issues with an F. The answer to your request I believe is time. In time it will come, so don’t give up!
Happy Harpin’ ;D

P.S. there are others on this forum who will know how to get tutorial info that may help you.

Here’s a trick that worked for me at the beginning or when I first started. Typically the 7, 8, 9, and 10 draw reeds are difficult these holes are blow notes, and in the higher keyed harps it’s even more difficult, so,I found that if I wanted to draw one of these holes, if I blew first and quickly draw I’d get the draw note. Once you have the draw reed vibrating (making sound) hold it and get the feel of how to achieve it, and quickly draw the same note several times.

Remember, this is not practice, it’s playing so have fun!


Howdy (w)illtri!

Both Ty-Man’s and Mr. B’s observations and advice are correct.

In Time; and Blowing the upper/harder holes first before Drawing works…

As there are plenty of topic threads covering various aspects of these subjects throughout the forum – So as not to belabor whether it’s the instrument, the player, or both – One needs to do detective work to find them – Still:

Perhaps one of the best tips comes from Howard Levy. He basically says to use the softest of softest breaths on the upper register. You have to learn to control your pressure from one end of the harp to the other.

Thing is, following his demonstration, I did it! Not only on my better harps, but on my cheapest of cheapies too!

So in recapping: Try Blow before Draw (loosens up the stiff reeds.) A soft breath is only needed. And in time, all will come to you!

Good Luck!

Keep On Harpin’!

remember to keep a good seal around your lips against the
harp no leakage there will help you get them high notes

Harp On!!

In the beginning I found myself straining to play the high draw notes as if I were singing. Now I find it easier to use less air pressure as recommended above and also make sure the air stream goes straight through the harp and not at an angle.


I know exactly what you mean and it pissed me off, so out came the ole screwdriver and other unmentionable tools…(I believe Joe called it a dead blow hammer) lol…and started tweakin my LO C harp. Well now I know what Joe feels like, but I stuck with it and got those ole 8,9,10 blow and draw reeds working the way they should.

I almost screwed up tho, tweaked the 10 blow reed and couldn’t even get a squeak out of it…then I settled down and finally got it working properly.

I probably should have practiced those 8,9,10 draws longer, cuz it probably wasn’t the harp, but live and learn. At least I was able to salvage my mistake.

So, partner, good luck with the high holes and keep on harpin and most of all:
Have Fun


Illtri, leave the harp together and try whispering Ahhhh as you draw in lightly. This helps open up your throat and lower the back of your tongue which will let those notes work properly. Also if you practice the diaphragmatic breathing the high notes come out much nicer sounding.

Hope that helps.

1 Like
tweaked the 10 blow reed and couldn't even get a squeak out of it...
By the description, sounds like it was a simple case of an 'off-center' reed.

It’s neither all that rare nor all that unmanageable.

As seen on the vid, there are easy solutions to fix it:

overblow.com - harmonica customization - Embossing

After doing any embossing and/or gapping, it’s recommended to ‘plink’ the reed a few times to make sure it sounds “clean.” If you forget and the reed happens to be off, you will know immediately once you reassemble the harmonica, play it, and have very little or no sound coming from the hole.

Although he uses regular tools to make the fine adjustments, there are reed wrenches that come in harmonica repair kits. Having both the Lee Oskar and Richard Sleigh kits, their wrenches come in handy.

Although he shows his face looking at the reed plate, he should also be showing how when holding the reed plate steady up to the light, you can actually see which side of the reed is off-kilter. Even the slightest, minutest of ‘overhang’ will cause the reed to sound ‘dead.’ Then make your adjustments accordingly.

In addition, once I center a reed, using a small pair of needle-nose pliers, I squeeze the rivet end down to further ensure the reed will stay in place.

Now when I first encountered this problem on one of my harps, it actually took me the better part of a long sweaty hour to finally get the reed just right.

I learned though that if you do have problems when you first try your hand at this –
it’s a good idea just to put the reed plate down for about 10 minutes or so before going back to it. This allows the reed(s) to settle and rest before going back and working on it/them again.

Again however, experience is the greatest teacher you’ll ever have. So today, it’s virtually nothing for me to recenter a misguided askew little reed.


Keep On Harpin’!