holding the harmonica and the deep relaxed embouchre

Anyone have trouble with their fingers getting in the way of the deep mouth embouchre? I noticed that playing single notes is pretty easy with the deep mouth embouchre when I’m not holding the harmonica correctly. When I hold it at each end I have no problem hitting the single notes.

When I hold it correctly, my lips keep hitting my fingers and my fingers knock my lips out of position.

Not really. I keep my top finger all the way to the outer edge–right on that hump where it flares out at the back–which leaves plenty of room for my top lip. But then my problem is that my finger blocks my nose sometimes so I have to work around that for my breathing. My lower lip is against the comb so doesn’t hit my thumb at all.

There is another way to hold the harmonica, which I have seen in some books. JP does not teach this way. It didn’t feel right to me, but maybe it will work better for you.

That’s the way the old man used to hold his big super chromomica. He only played melodies. You’ll have more difficulty with techniques you’ll want to learn later this way, though I guess it can be done. Look at the way Dizzy played trumpet. My students always threw him at me during my “bad habits get in your way” lectures. Remember how many years and how much hard work and pain it took for him to get where he was in spite of the “bad” technique. With experience you will get comfortable with the correct holding position. I have pretty large hands and still find this the best way to get started. It was very awkward for me at first, but now it feels as natural as holding my wife’s hand…though not as good. When we’re learning, nothing feels right, and most things are at least a little difficult because they are things our bodies are not accustomed to doing. Our body parts naturally want to repeat already learned movements and tasks. New things are rejected at first. It’s part of your built in self preservation. But good harp technique is actually good for your body. It counters stress and fatigue while playing (after you’re playing for long periods), and good breathing techniques have great health benefits. I promise your lips, nose, and fingers will adjust.

BB