I got tired of practicing single notes by playing the same songs over and over again so I decided to go to JP’s Gypsy Wedding Song lesson. I got to the tongue-blocking part and found out that I can tongue-block single notes pretty well and then I tried the octave. I moved my tongue from one side to the other and made sure I did have both notes, like hole 1 and hole 4, but when I tried to block the middle notes, I only got hole 1 or 4, not both. I’ve tried putting my tongue at the top of the fret (that’s what I call the piece that separates the holes) between holes 2 and 3 and that didn’t work. I’ve tried moving my tongue one way or the other slightly; no dice. I’ve tried less pressure; zip, nada. Nothing has worked. I get one note or the other but not both. FatTongueitis. See it? It’s simply to fat to block just the middle notes only. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to put my tongue on a diet… which should help the rest of me. It’s a WIN WIN!!!
Try increasing the upward angle tilt of the harmonica in your emboucher. this should move your upper lip closer to the fluted edge of the upper mouthcover and allow you use of the top of your tongue rather than the tip. Say H, the sweet spot of the block will come from the spot on your tongue from whence the H occurs. Hope this helps you.
Also be sure your mouth is open wide enough to play all 4 holes and not just 3. If your going to play 1&4, they both have to be where they can get air flow at the same time.
Well, Prez, I tried your method. LOL!!! Oh, how I wish you could’ve been here. Trying to say ANYTHING is absolutely hilarious, much less H. I did finally succeed by looking at what I wanted to block, putting my tongue where I needed it and putting the harmonica to my mouth. I did get it. I can’t have the harmonica as deep in my mouth to have success. That may change as I work on it but at least I did get both notes and was able to move to the next holes and got those notes as well. So to start, I have to see what I want to do and not have as deep an embouchure as before. It’s a start. Victory! ;D
To clarify, I mentioned you should say H, meaning where the “eitch” is sounded on your tongue is the spot to work from. I never said you should do this with the harp in your mouth. Keep your tongueown in your mouth even with your bottom teeth.
Try this simple exercise, it’ll help with your bending: Pick a blow note you know, blow of it for thirty seconds, if you have a problem doing this it indicates that you haven’t stopped air from escaping thru your nose, or you have some serious breathing problems. Being able to seal your nose is paramount to being able to bend. Try the exercise with a draw note for thirty seconds. And lastly to see what I am talkin’ 'bout try the blow exercise and allow air to escape your nose you won’t be able to go much past the point of when your shoulders sag from the exhale.
Well, as far as the H thing goes… you gotta remember that I’m a beginner, doing JP’s lessons and scouring YouTube for videos on bending. All I hear all day long, every day is: Say Ta, say Too, say Tucka, say Toodle, say eeeyooo, say Tee Toe, say Doodittle, say Koo… you get the idea. So when you tell me to say H… yeah, well… it gave me and my family a good laugh when I tried it and we all need more of those. As far as the breathing thing goes… well, I found out that my 38 year old son has great lungs!