second position

How do I advance to be more competent in 2nd position? I am fairly OK following the melody, but to add depth and sound to the music, the second position is necessary. Helpful hints or practices?

Thanks, Ron

Ron, speaking as one Ron to another…i have recently been finding myself in nearly everything but 2nd position for some reason. I even ended up in 12th position because i grabbed the wrong harp in a hurry the other day…lol.

But, my limited experience with harmonica says 2nd positon for rock and blues, 1st position for most folk and bluegrass…including Christian contemporary in whatever category you want to put that. 3rd position for the lion’s share of minor key work with 4th position to solo the way guitarists do in the relative minor of the song’s key.

To master second position, given the above ideas…bending accurately is important and playing some octaves via tongue blocking can really fatten it up without getting too technical. Less is more…but the 2 hole draw and the 3 hole half step bend (minus a little if you believe in the “blue third” concept…which i do.) are critical holes for second position, in any genre. The 4 hole bend and the 6 hole bend are very useful as well. Just realize you can also blow bend in the upper octave in first position and this sounds very different…same notes, just higher and adds variety.

I wouldn’t get too hung up obn the 2nd position…i went after finding the notes i wanted, when i wanted them…like a trumpet…then used the four mosst common positions as listed above to make the note choices easier with minimal overblowing…i am no master, but i can play music with my harmonica and nobody i play for is complaining…on the contrary they want lessons…which i am not really good enough to give.

Well Ron #1 - the only other thing I can add to Ron #2’s great input is to get yourself some jam track cds from David Harp, Jon Gindick, Adam Gussow and/or others –

And then start wailing away!

Nothing makes for the experience than just doing it!

Good luck!

Keep us posted!

Keep on harpin’!