I’ve been playing the harmonica on and off for several years, having played piano far longer than that. I have three harmonicas: two are Lee Oskars in C and A, and the last one is an old Hohner in C-minor tuning.
When I started out I was immediately obsessed with learning to bend and to play the bent notes in tune. This is likely a “missing-note-o-phobia” resulting from my piano playing experience. By now I’m able to get most notes confidently, and with little effort.
My problem, however, is one of tone. Bent notes do sound different, and that’s part of the charm of the diatonic I think, but my hole 3 draw bends sound like the mating call of some large animal. On the old Hohner this problem isn’t so apparent, but on both LOs it’s very noticable.
What happens is when I start smoothly bending the hole 3 draw, the first thing to go is the sharp edge of the sound. This is when I’m at about the half-step bend. When I go further, I get a very leaky sound as well. So on the deeper bends the resulting sound is an airy and muddy tone that likely is more pleasing to an elephant than to me.
There are so much information out there on how to bend, but less on how to get a good sound when doing so. Got any tips on how to keep a good tone when bending? Do you have any similar experience with the LO’s? I tried gapping the third draw reed closer to the reed plate on my LO A; it certainly improved the responsiveness of the note, but the bend is still as leaky and dull.
I can make a recording of this later.