Hi! My name is Mike and I'm a quitter...

That’s right. I have great musical interest, but no follow through. I impulse buy, but have given up on every instrument I have tried. I have always loved the harmonica, so I recently bought one.

I thought about purchasing JP’s bundle because of his money back guarantee. Great for people like me who will most likely give up. So I thought I would start with his free email lessons. But I’m already stuck!

I cannot for the life of me play a single note using the “deep relaxed embrasure”. The only way I can get a single note is to shape my mouth into a super tight pucker.

Help! If I can’t get even this little thing down, what is the point in purchasing the DVD’s? :-\

I got stressed out just reading all that I did! :stuck_out_tongue:

So on the one hand, I’ll agree with you: Yeah, give it up while you’re behind already!

On the other hand, I’ll say: You don’t have to be great to play this cool little instrument. But you do have to learn about it!

I can relate to the DRE. I had misgivings about it too. Yet my desire to play harp overcame my shortcomings and I did not quit.

So hopefully this helps you like it did me and others:


Bottom line: Relax. Don’t sweat it. And JP Allen’s best-selling home harmonica course is the world’s most favorite, so I and many here know you can’t ever go wrong there either!


Good Luck!


“Have harp, Will Travel!” 8)


How long have you been playing don’t give up now. It took me a long time before I was able to
play single notes.

Give it 20 or 30 minutes every day and just remember practice on the 4B till you get it down.
If you do it correctly you will be using your bottom lip to block the 3 and the 5 so you can get a clean 4B.

Just work on that 1 note and also just practice playing some rhythm chords train chugging just
to keep it interesting.

Once you get it then move to another hole in the safety zone 4 5 6 7.

Don’t quit and you’ll get there

Harp On!!

Hi Klackamass,

What ever you do don’t give up or you will regret it forever. Don’t be a quitter!! Its easy to quit and its difficult to learn an instrument and the harmonica is no different but that’s where the fun part comes in.

I have never played an instrument but always wanted to learn so I purchased JP’s course in late September. I started off learning to blow a single note and man it was difficult but I got there and approx 10 weeks later I recordered a song just to prove to myself I had learnt something. No it’s not good and I have never posted it anywhere because I thought it wasn’t good enough but I have it below to show what you can expect with a little patience. I am self employed so I can’t devote a lot of time to practice but I never gave up and didn’t quit.

Hang in there and follow Joe’s advice and learn one note and then move onto any of the safe notes until you master or at least feel comfortable that you have achieved something that you have never done before.

It may not happen straight away but it will happen.



Wow Keith very nicely played much better than my first attempt (Bob Dylan’s) Blowin In the wind. Which i played out of key.

Here’s was my 2nd attempt that at least was in the right key. I would have never know except some kind person emailed me
privately and told me my 1st version was in the wrong key. But that’s how you learn.


Klackamass don’t give up baby steps at first look for little tiny improvements. Hopefully your using a decent harmonica like the
special 20 that will help some. Get a key of C here. http://www.harmonica.com/store/harmonica-hohner-special-20.php

Harp On!!

Keith, I’ve never enjoyed anything more than listening to this recording of yours, thanks for sharing it with us.


Don’t give up bro! Life is tough but Harmonica ain’t! Harmonica will get easier, and Life won’t, which is why I play! Just stick it out! What you need is harmonica friends! And I tell ya what, you came to the right place! Stick around and stick it out, we’ll help ya along!

just do the double notes and learn some cool sounds and come back to the single notes that are frustrating you at the moment.

Single notes are not the most important thing! Just make sure you keep VERY relaxed because if you tense up, you will go nowhere. AT ALL. Just keep playing the chords. It still will sound pretty good! When I first started, the kit that I bought (not JP Allen’s) was saying that single notes are crucial and so I learned how. (It was the wrong way, unfortunately. I was puckering so tightly that I thought my 2 draw was broken. lol. But now I know that it won’t play well if you’re too tight. Anyway…) I played only single notes for the longest time, and I heard people at concerts and on the radio etc. playing and I knew that they were doing somthing different. I had no idea what it was! Then I found JP’s stuff and realized that, while single notes are important, playing those chords REALLY adds alot.

Thanks everyone for your positive comments and encouragement! I’m going to keep at this. I’ll keep ya updated to my progress!

Guess you’ll have to be held to that so you ain’t a quitter, eh?! :wink:

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)

i ordered the JP dvd bundle in June of 2010 and i could not be more pleased with my progress.

some tips from one beginner to another.

  1. get a decent harp. start with a special 20 in the key of C

  2. if you can’t afford the dvds you can study a lot of basics online for free. i do recommend that you start with any and all of JP’s free beginner videos so you can be sure to start out right.

  3. don’t blow your self silly practicing single notes, pick a real simple tune that you already know the melody to by heart and practice it for a few minutes every time you get a chance to practice, start with the first line, get it down, then add the next line. it gets easier and easier the more you do it.

  4. practice rhythms and chords by learning some train chugging rhythms. learning basic chugging rhythms and chords will help you nail that single note.

  5. if you get stuck/bored/fatigued/etc, set it down for a few minutes or a day or two and think about what you have learned, and what you are trying to do, and i mean really think about it, sit and visualize playing in your mind, you would be surprised how much practice you can get that way.

  6. listen to other harp players and listen to other musical styles. if you have boundaries it’s time to step past them and soak up some music lol. i was sitting at the el metate eating tacos with one of those HUGE cold ones the other day and they were playing the stereotypical Mexican music, and i thought to myself it would sound wicked to play some of those horn parts on a harp.

7 don’t quit. you can carry your harp anywhere, unlike most instruments, so you can practice almost any time.

  1. most important, relax and have fun. there’s tons more to learn, but all in good time. keep on chugging and keep us updated.

You nailed it, man! :wink:

Don’t stress it, just play it!! :slight_smile:

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)

I like that better than klackamass! You have gotten some good advice from some good fellas here! I can’t offer any more than they have given you except to add my encouragement. Look back to the first page of this thread and find SPD’s first reply to you and read the thread he pointed out and I believe you will find the embroucher and the elusive single note. If you think single notes are frustrating wait till you come to bending and the three 3 draw witches. By that time you will be addicted and won’t be able to quit. The best advice here is to relax, keep it fun and don’t rush yourself. By all means ignor your inner critic.

Don’t quit dude! I’m 42, never played an instrument in my life, and never really had an interst in playing music, until I started listening to the Blues. Instant addiction to the harp! In the last 2 months I have taught myself to read sheet music and I’m having a blast with my harps… Yes that’s plural. I now have 12 harps! And I love them all like they were my children. LOL. Hang in there dude and don’t give up.