Tongue Block or Lip Purse etc.

How do you play your harp is is both lip purse and tongue block, Or are you strictly one or the other ???

Just curious, There’s enough members to get a good read on how most people play ;D

Harp on!!

News Flash:

This just in from an anonymous source –

If I have to answer your poll honestly, I use none of the above. I’m the ventriloquist in the story you can read about here:’s-greatest-harmonica-joke-bar-none!/

Thank you anonymous source. We’ll keep everyone else posted!


Keep On Harpin!

I use both, but mainly lip pursing.

I started out tongue bocking and wish I hadn’t. It is very difficult for me not to use tongue block now that I am trying to incorporate using my tongue for tata’s and toodle diddle’s and bending.

I started out lip pursing…and later learned tongue blocking. Now I use both, and often switch between them while playing stuff.

I can do tongue-blocked draw bends, but I can’t do tongue-blocked blow bends or overblows. I switch to lip purse to do those.

I LOVE the sound of tongue blocked draw bends. They have a wonderful, hollow, wooden sound. :slight_smile: Does that make sense? ::slight_smile:

Hi Ashish,
I would like to hear an example of that, If you could find something on youtube maybe, or tape yourself :slight_smile:

I just recently was able to almost master bending, be able to bend a note in time with a tune or riff 8)
But to do it tongue blocking seems challenging to me :-\

Harp on!!

I’m a lip purse man myself :wink:
tongue blocking looks useful, but I just ain’t got 'round to it :slight_smile:

Bends.mp3 - 0.42MB

Joe, the first ones are with tongue block, and after the harking I use lip pursing. I think the reason they for many sound better with tongue block is because you get the harp further into your mouth that way. I am however not very fluent with tongue blocking, so my example is probably biased.

Thanks Whiskat they sound good especially with the riff on the second half.

Harp on!!

I spent weeks trying to lip purse I tried hard perhaps not hard enough I do not know so I ended up tongue blocking which I am happy with and also what works for me is forming the tongue into a u shape but the only thing with that is after a while my tongue found it difficult to maintain the u shape so now I just tongue block quite happily, though I would like to be able to lip purse as I think its an advantage to be able to do the two any one got any tips for lip pursing is there a trick to doing it? as I just cant seem to get my lips to form the right shape I have very thin lips perhaps that has something to do with it. :-\

This works with enough practice 8)

Stay at it PJD lot of practice and it will come 2nd nature.

Harmonica Lesson for Beginners: Single Note Exercise

Harp on!!

Back to tongue blocking,

I’ve been trying…to get better at it. I don’t have much of a problem with the blow
holes tongue blocking, but the draws are weak.

Any tongue blockers out there that experience that problem and a solution to get over that hurdle.

Harp on!!

Hey Joe,

I tried recording an example for you. The quality is not very good because I used the cheap mic on my laptop to record it. :-[

Link -

I play with a lip purse embouchure in the first 20 seconds or so. After that, I switch to tongue blocking.

I don’t think the difference between the two is very distinct and evident. I mean, I even can’t really tell the difference between a tongue blocked bend and a lip pursed bend in the recording…but I can clearly hear a lot of difference with my ears. You can probably hear a slight difference in tone, but I don’t think it’s very evident in the recording. The cheapo mic on my laptop is clearly not able to capture all the harmonic frequencies coming from my harmonica.

Try comparing tongue-blocked bends and lip-pursed bends yourself, and you will hear a clear difference.


Thank you Joe its not as if I cannot play single notes so I think your advise is sound I can afford to give pursing another attempt only try harder this time… peace ,harp on

Hi all! I have just come from the above thread. One question thats all , not being able to lip purse. Does it make a harpist any lesser a player [ sort of dreading the answer :-] peace…harp on :slight_smile:

Hey Pjd your welcome,

did you hear ashish’s draw bends tongue blocking vs lip purse both are very good but man
I like the sound of the riff in the second half with the tongue block.

Wish I could do that.

Ashish you should be an instructional video up on you tube on that. That sounded great.

Harp on!!

What ??? Ya I don’t think so :o

Of late I’ve been trying to learn how to tongue block. And man do I like all that you
can do with tongue blocking. (the little I can do).

Adds so much color to your playing.

So my answer to you is in regards to your question:

not being able to lip purse. Does it make a harpist any lesser a player




Harp on!!

Ok tnk u Joe just that not being able to lip purse I wondered if there were any unknown advantages I was loosing out on thats all judging by your icons it could well be the other way around ;D harp on

The only thing I know of off the top of my head

that would be challenging for you would be,

any quick fast moving tunes such as fiddle tunes :-\

I go to and it’s all about fast moving tunes over
there :slight_smile:

So I think tongue blocking does add so much color to your playing especially but not
limited to Blues 8)

For me I definitely couldn’t play any of them fast moving tunes unless I could hit single notes
lip pursing. I think you’ll have one them Eureka I got it moments if you don’t give up :o

Practice it daily, part of your routine for maybe 5 or 10 minutes. And you’ll see ;D

I practice tongue blocking every day :wink: You’ll get it. In time.

Harp on!!

Try comparing tongue-blocked bends and lip-pursed bends yourself, and you will hear a clear difference.

What’s interesting about all this, is that when I was younger and most times for years I would play with the tongue blocking techniques from the old hohner booklets and from such.

Then recently, when I decided to pick up the harmonica up again, a lot of other peeps talked about lip pursing and such. So I learned how to do it in a short period of time.

Now with JP even talking about tongue blocking on his new Gyspy Harmonica dvd, I’m back to doing that again.

Geez! Make up your minds already, will ya peeps?! mwuahahahahaha!

Actually, I listened to your clip, Ashish; and played along with it on my GM A.

It was fun!

Even though I sliced my tongue on top of them ‘razor blade’ plates - No worries, sahib!

Made sure I had enough bourbon and coke in me to cover it! hehehehe!

Yes, definitely a different deeper sound. I’m going back to it once more!


Keep On Harpin’!