How long did it take you

How long did it take you to master single notes i’ve been playing almost 2 weeks (I know not that long) having lots of trouble with it. Been playing mostly songs with chords i.e piano man. But i want to be able to get single notes down so i can improv some blues and play more advanced songs anyone have any tips on how to practice that or is it just something i’ll get eventually if i keep practicing. I’m lip pursing btw. I just want to be able to jam with my friends who both play guitar when we go on a road trip this summer.

Try tongue blocking. It works for me.

will you please explain “tongue blocking”? I think that’s what I’m doing and I’ve tried very hard to position my lips the way that JP suggests in the video, but my lips won’t form like that and the only way I can get clear precise single notes is by curling my tongue to block the adjacent holes. Why is this not recommended?

After playing my harmonicas for several years, originally not having anyone to bounce things off of –

Well, the best conclusions I came to when it comes to all these ‘techniques’ is:

Do whatever works for you!

Meaning, I lip/purse block when I want to and/or feel like; I curl my tongue or flatten it against the holes when I want to and/or feel like.

And truth be told:

It all works!

However –


Good luck!

Keep On Harpin’!

Tongue Blocking is basically using your tongue to block off the holes you don’t want to play.
And as much as I hate to say it SPD is right!
(Just poking at ya SPD) :smiley:

So, in a nutshell, if that’s the way it works best, then continue on? The reason I’m so concerned is because JP makes a comment about TMJ. I’ve had that for over 25 years and my jaw automatically unhinges and juts forward when I try to make clear single notes with the lip technique. I suck at it and the only way I can get the single notes is by curling my tongue.
I’m thinking that by practicing this habit (if it’s a bad one) that I might find it more difficult down the road when trying to bend, etc.

I appreciate the feedback, PB and SPD

@ Empty Dude

for over 25 years and my jaw automatically unhinges and juts forward when I try to make clear single notes with the lip technique. the only way I can get the single notes is by curling my tongue.

What are ya? A snake or something?! :stuck_out_tongue:

But seriously…Hehehe!!

Again, curling the tongue to learn those single notes is okay to play melodies and so forth. But yes, even then, when you’re ready to begin learning the bending and other advancing techniques – You should train your mouth to do other single hole methods, as JP and others discuss in the lesson plans.

Again, this just takes time. And this may help you get started in the right direction:!-%28a-whistle-goes-a-long-way!%29/

It’s not as difficult as your mind is making it out to be.

So lighten up on yourself. Have fun! Enjoy!

Good luck!

Keep On Harpin’!

@ PB

as much as I hate to say it SPD is right!

Aww, man, you knows you loves me! :-*


Laters, Brewski!

What…SPD right for once? The man thats only been around since the beginning of time (at least for this forum!)

LOL Don’t know what we’d do without the SPD!


PS Ever noticed we all tend to get letters for names after a while? SPD, BT, PB, BB, SP, etc! lol

Long tones. Zero in on a note and play it for as long and as clear as your breath holds out. Lip or tongue block, you will want both tricks in your bag sooner than later.

@ Thieven

Long tones.

Sure works after you learn to single out the notes.

Yet too, another technique to single out the notes is using scotch tape to cover the opposing holes. As in covering 2/3 and 5/6, leaving 4 open. Using lips, no tongue, blow/draw the 4 until your mouth learns the appropriate feeling. Remove tape; and play the 4.

If you get it right, go onto other holes. If not, keep doing it until your mouth learns it properly.

For those who think this might be a sissy method – Well I’ve done just to do it.

And from all those including JP who recommends it also, and from the many positive responses from those who have done it to learn singling out notes too – Sissy is, as sissy does; and this ain’t one of them! Hehehe!

@ BT

we all tend to get letters for names after a while

Only those of us who really matter around here!! :wink:

“Oh no, you didn’t?!” :o

Oh yes, I did! ;D

Mwauahahaha!! J/K :smiley:

Laters, yo!! :wink:

What are ya? A snake or something?! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m no snake, but have been called worse (hehe)

I’ve been trying out the whistling trick and appreciate the link to finding the centre of the mouth.
I’ll work on it!
BTW…you guys are funny
Smile wide :o)

have been called worse (hehe)

Ain’t we all?!

But it’s all good, eh?!

BTW…you guys are funny

Some, not all!

But I ain’t naming names either…

He/she/it knows who they is!

well like Baker says it is very much individually and obviously depends on the form of the vocal tract; you should play at first for fun and gradually you will improve :)good luck

Tongue-blocking is the easiest to learn. That’s why we have so many 100 percent tongue blockers. But I say you need to learn single-note pucker because you need to be able to do it all. There will be times for tongue blocking and times you’ll want the tongue for something else, like making sharp stacatto notes, etc. You’ll want tongue blocking for when you want to play octaves, etc.

Single-note pucker is such an inaccurate word for what you are doing. It makes it seem like you need to pucker your lips up so small to match the hole on the harmonica. You don’t pucker your lips small, you pucker them narrow. All that matters is what is happening on the sides of lips.

Looks like you have been away for a bit :smiley:
Me too , as for how long I dont recall it seems like it was pretty easy to get single notes by just tipping the harp as JP suggests . What I did in the beginning was to start at one end or the other and count holes as I moved up and down the scale. From there I went to practicing the scale 4blow4draw 5b5d 6b6d 7d7b up then again back down. It seemed to help me learn were they are and what they sound like. I’ve only been at this a little over a yr and to date I’ve not purchased any lessons which perhaps is why I’m not where I’d like to be but alas I can play single notes and several songs. Any song that I already know and have the tabs for is also doable as long as I’m looking at the tabs.
Good luck on your journey

Well, what JP says is fine but the prescribed mouth and harmonica position should not impend one to breathe or to stiffen the lips and jaw; one should be as relaxed as possible, because in other way either one goes out of breadth or one gets frustrated- for instance when one can not hold the harmonica right or do the effects… like he says - concentrate on the good sides of your play and try to improve the bad ones with the passage of time

find a hard drinking straw cut a small peice off it and stick it in the corner of your mouth and blow and draw through it. now take the straw out and blow and draw through the opening without the straw. now put the harp against your lips.