Hohner Blues Harp MS

Hello everyone. Ive learned so much from all of you by reading all the posts. I have a NOOB question (please forgive me) but I just bought a Hohner Blues Harp MS a month ago and have been practicing my bends and overblows pretty steady since then. that is until two days ago when either 4, 5, or 6 (not sure which) started sounding like a hockey horn. really really awful - no matter how much I changed technique - I cant get a consistent 5 draw or 6 draw from it - and the 4 blow sounds funny. I originally thought it was me because playing chords it seems better, but as soon as I start blowing harder on some notes - I get really crazy sound!? Have I done something to the reed perhaps? or is it really just my technique needing refinement? p.s. I have tried taking it apart but it has funny screws that wont let go…need a special screwdriver perhaps? a flashlight shone into the reed plate shows no obstructions…btw.

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Hi @annierickert1, other people will have a much better idea than me but I’m thinking maybe the wooden comb has swelled and distorted. Maybe it will resolve itself. I had a Blues harp and hated it, although I don’t recall it being MS, I’m not sure what that bit refers to. Is that the only harmonica that you have?

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Hey @annierickert1 welcome to the forum. So happy to have you here! So glad you are playing harmonica!

I’m not a tinkerer, so I will leave the technical recommendations to other people, but will share a few OPINIONS of mine for your consideration.

If you’re not sure which hole you’re getting the sound on, to me that’s an indication that it’s probably not the right time to be focusing on practicing bends, and definitely not yet time to be practicing overblows.

It pays off richly to establish good fundamentals before moving onto more advance techniques.

  • First get good at breathing. Then…

  • Get a good deep, relaxed mouth position. Then…

  • Work on getting nice clean single notes. Then…

  • Start working on draw bends. Then…

  • Work on playing all the draw bends in tune. Then…

  • Work on learning blow bends. Then…

  • If you feel that you must, work on learning overblows.

Each technique builds on the previous one. Steady foundation is the key to it all. Everyone’s journey is different and unique, but I think this perspective is worthy of consideration.

Regarding the Blues Harp, it’s not my favorite harp. If it’s not a financial hardship, I’d recommend picking up a Marine Band Deluxe or a Special 20 so that you can compare. I think you’ll appreciate the difference!

Rock on! :sunglasses:

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Thanks so much Luke! I did what you said - tho I cant find the deluxe locally - I special ordered a crossover and bought a regular Marine Band 1896. Love it. Turns out the Blus MS Harp is fine too…I am wondering if this Newb has too much Goob (I play rather enthusiastically but am learning to blow softer)?! Is it possible I warped the wood comb with all the playing Ive been doing? I have been playing since November - pretty much every day - and I can get all the notes - but am having trouble getting the 4 and 6 bends. I get the higher register really well tho. I am even finding the notes for songs that I dont have the tabs for…by ear! SO much fun to improvise too - even if I dont get the notes ALL the time! My goal is to ditch my huge binder of tabs by spring next year - and have it all in mouth muscle memory! You have been an awesome teacher, Luke. Thank you!

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I think you might be right! This Newb has too much goob! Just invested in a few back-up harmonicas in case I do it again! Thank You!

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Ha ha, well said. I’m a Newb with too much goob also. I still consider myself to be a beginner so I’m cautious about giving advice to others, but I continually have to remind myself to tilt the harmonica upward a little while playing. Perhaps that’s something for you also to be aware of.

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Thank you PapaCurly! Itry to remind myself about the tilt! Its hard not to get a little enthusiastic on a good tune tho - in which case Im moving fast and forgetting the fundamentals!

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