Single-note U-Blocking? Am I shooting myself in the foot

I’m pretty deep into the single note module, and I kind of accidentally started doing this thing to isolate notes where I use my tongue and kind of make a “u” out of it to block out the notes on the sides. It actually works pretty well on all notes except that dang 2 draw. I am still working on the lip blocking and that works about 50% of the time, so I will keep working on it.

My question is…am I shooting myself in the foot by doing a bad technique while I’m learning…or is this a valid way to play single notes? Thanks so much!


You’re referring to the “U” as the “bad technique”, right? And tongue blocking is what you’re trying to achieve? I want to be sure I follow you correctly.

I’m like you, I like single note playing. Sure, I play chords some, but, single notes are where the ''real music is", in my opinion. But, anyway. Using the “U” technique should be fine. Every note requires our mouths to interact differently with the harp. So learning more techniques and using a variety of oral gymnastics(mouth, lips, cheeks, even teeth) will always help in our playing. As we go along, we’ll use different techniques on different notes in the course of a song. Once it gets fixed in our heads(from practice), our mouths will learn its way around each note. There may be some players who use just one style/technique for playing, but, that’s really hard to fathom. The harmonica is like a lot of things in life, if it works, use it. It’s not one size fits all. You’re the ultimate judge of what works best for you! The best(most memorable) music is the kind created by people who find their own way through a complicated maze of emotions to a meadow where all gather to be refreshed.


Hey @dani - sorry I thought I’d responded to this but I’m not seeing it here. I agree with @MountainRecluse generally that if it sounds good and it feels good, it is good.

I’ve always advised against U-blocking as I’ve seen students who rely on it get stuck and not be able to pass a certain point. But then I heard that NORTON BUFFALO used U-blocking. If that’s true, then it certainly would be hard to refute the technique!

I’m glad you’re still working on lip blocking too though. I think it will serve you well!

Rock on,