Hands vs no hands sounds?

Does anyone know of a video showing the difference of sounds if you were to use your hands while playing the harmonica versus not using your hands? I know that you can play the harmonica without your hands. However, I’ve seen many YouTube videos so far of harmonica players pretty much playing/teaching and using their hands.

I won’t be able to use my hands much while learning to play the harmonica. I ordered a neck holder with my harmonica. I’m just curious to hear the differences of using your hands versus without your hands for the same notes for example.


The hands allow you to do a certain effect when both cupped and not. This is known as hand-wah. I don’t think it’s possible to do hand-wah with a rack, though I could be wrong. Just imagine that you’re playing the harp with one hand. This allows your harp to have a louder, clearer sound than if you would’ve cupped it with two hands. I hope this helps.


Hey @JonaMusic - can you tell us a little more. Do you not have use of your hands? Why are you using a neck holder?


@Luke I am unable to use my hands due to my disability. So I’ve been trying to learn the harmonica with just a neck holder.


Good for you for persisting undeterred! Joe Filisko plays pretty much without any hand wah technique. And of course Neil Young doesn’t use his hands!

Jimi Lee is a PHENOMENAL player who uses a rack.

You know what - check out these videos on Blows Me Away Rackit 2.0! page for some inspiration on playing at the highest level with a rack!


From there you can look up the players who inspire you most and check out more. :+1:t3: Keep on rocking and never quit! :sunglasses:


Thank you so much! This is great inspiration


@JonaMusic AWESOME! I thought you’d like that! :+1:t3:

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While the hand wah definitely adds some nice flavor to playing, it seems that many things can be done with the mouth, throat, tongue and breath to create unique sounds on the harp.

I recently went diving for a ball in a Pickle Ball game and ended up with a broken right collar bone. At least it didn’t affect my harp arm and hand, but I need to keep my right shoulder immobilized until it heals, so eating soup is now challenging and my wah wah’s are temporarily out of order.

I’ve found that one of the benefits of no wah and pure sound is to look for subtle nuances in the notes we play with different techniques using just our mouth and breath.

I salute you for your courage to do what must be done to blow some harp… It’s changed many of our lives forever for the better and surely can do so too for you!

Keep on harpin’ :notes:


Ouch @HarpinBobbyMcB so sorry to hear that my friend! I pray you have a full and speedy recovery. Good for you for finding the silver linings. Rock on! :sunglasses: