Single draw notes

G’Day all.

Having some trouble with the low single draw notes - 1 through 4.

I can happily hit the blow single notes but for some reason when I get down to 4 and below I am either getting a very windy note or nothing at all.

One other minor very minor problem I am having is air leaking from my left upper lip when playing the 12 holes. I think that this is just inexperience but you never know till you ask.

Any pointers?

Many thanks

1 through 3 usually always cause problems for those whoever first pick up the harp!

However, to better know what’s happening with you now: What make/model harmonica(s) are you using?

You say 12 holes?!

On a 10-hole diatonic?!

Wow, no wonder we rightside up here think you’re all upside down over there! Hehehehe!


But still asking…

Oops sorry SPD, missed the coma, hehehe. should have been 1,2 holes I think.

I was given a hohner blues harp to get me going initially.

I have compared it to a Hohner International Traveller, dimensions only, and have found that it is maybe 3mm shorter on the cover plates, and I don’t have such a problem with leaking air on it. Could That be the problem?

Well makes much more sense…I think! Hehehehe!

But er um, since Hohner has various harmonicas under the name ‘blues harp’ –

If it’s one of those made in China-types, it’s going to be mostly the harp. It’s leaky, and you’ve got your foot in the door for an upgrade! To a Spec20 or better!

If it’s any of the MS series-type, which is upwards of the Spec20, on the level of Big Rivers and such –

Well, I’d have to say it’s going to be mostly your lips, which harp players call “embouchure.” And it will just take time for your mouth, tongue, et al to adjust to those little holes. And it will happen!

In the interim, there are plenty of posts and threads throughout the forum here from our fine members to help you along the way…

But here’s just one topic to get you started:!-(a-whistle-goes-a-long-way!)/

Hope it helps!

And by all means, let us know about your progress!


Keep On Harpin’!

Many thanks for your help, SPD.

You’ll be glad to know that my Blues Harp is from the MS Series. I checked out JP’s best and worst harmonicas article and found it to be of a good quality.

So that puts it all down to practice and exercise for the tongue and lips…now where’s my wife?

Thanks again.

Just read your post SPD and you know what? It is working. I am already better able to hit the low draw notes much better.

As you would say EUREKA!!!

It May only be a small break through for some but it’s Mt Everest for me at the moment.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me just reading the forum, let alone playing the harp. :smiley:

Many thanks and play hard

my Blues Harp is from the MS Series.
  1. A good one.
  2. Reeds may be stiff; may require some gapping for them to work properly for your style of play.
  3. Stick with it; you will get it!
now where's my wife?
  1. If you don’t know…??
  2. Welcome to the Lonely Harmonica Hearts Club; whereby hear tell the wimmen’s have a tendency to disappear when their ol man starts harpin’!
  3. Only you’ll have to decide if that’s a good thing or not! Mwuahahaha!!!


Rock on, yo!

It may only be a small break through for some but it's Mt Everest for me at the moment.

And another Happy Harpster is born! Yay!! :smiley:

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)

Looks like SPD got it covered once again, but my eyes did pop out a bit when I saw 12 holes on a 10 hole harmonica! At first I was wondering what you did to pull that off! LOL all in good fun!
Peace Out!


Well they say everything is bigger in the Outback – ;D

Just don’t let a Texan hear you say that though… :-X

So I better duck outta here before TY-Man shows up! :o

Hehehehe!!! :smiley:

That was the first of many mountains! Next will be running out of breath, then Bending, then 2nd position, then having too much breath, then…it goes on and on! Just keep it fun. If you get stuck and frustrated stop and go to something else and come back in a week or so!
Good Luck!

very good advice PB.

Right now I am going through ALL forum posts systematically, as well as playing hrs everyday, to get as much info as I can until my package arrives from JP here in Aus.

Time consuming…yes
Tedious…Sometimes ;D

I have picked up so much already in the way of advice that it can only stand me in good stead when my DVD’s and CD’s arrive.

I have also found this to be a good way to get to know peoples characters a bit better in a new forum - really cuts down on mis-understandings.

Once again many thanks for the advice,

Live long and play hard

G’Day guys.

Just an update on my problems with 1 to 4hole single draw notes.

Firstly you are all going to be disgusted in me and SPD you are going to be Soooo proud of me hehee.

After endless hours of chugging the 1,2 2,3 and 3,4 holes to try and losen up the reds to aid my feeble attempts at low draw notes…well about 10 actually, I decided that it was time to lok inside the blasted thing and see if there was a reason for my pathetic efforts.

Now this is where you will all be disgusted with me.

Once I took off the cover plates guess what I found? A lovely brown sludge ALL along the reed plates and inside the cover plates. Now I assume this is coffee (at least I hope so ;D,) as I am a heavy coffee drinker. So I cleaned it up nicely, put it back together, waited a while (as you suggested SDP) and tried again with a seriously cleaned mouth. NOTHING. No improvement.

So this is where you will be proud of me SDP. I opened her up again and took off the reed plates to make sure they were all clean underneath - they were_ and thought “sod it” and tried a bit of reed gapping on the 1,2,3 draw reeds. IT WORKED!!! Yeeeeeeeehaaaaa.

I should point out that I practiced on an old Hohner International Traveler that I was given first.

Now I am hitting ALL my draw notes clean as a whistle, I think :-, and can now get on with Working out where the blooming holes are. Hehehe

Thanks ALL for your advice and help with this it has been invaluable.

Live long, Play hard

I have one of those blues harps and it is harder in general to get a seal on it versus a special 20 but you’ll get used to it.

Just goes to show that there’s more to learn this little instrument than just putting it between your lips and blowing/drawing on it…

Every time you learn something new, regardless how small/insignificant it may initially seem – well it’s really a big thing that begins opening things up for you as you’ll no doubt experience for yourself!

And it eventually all comes together over time!


Keep On Harpin’!