Tongue Blocking and Giving Into Peer Pressure

My absolute advice?! Try everything, create air bursts with cheeks, throat, side to side, tilt, whatever and sometimes the acoustic may not seem good, but thru an amp, whoa come to life, baby.

Hi @KeroroRinChou I went like 29 years without tongue blocking (except for octaves and the -25 split) and then 4 years ago I started learning tongue blocking.

For ME it has opened up a world of harmonica playing that I PERSONALLY love and enjoy playing.

But honestly, for the style of music that you enjoy, I don’t think you need to. Buddy Greene actually does a little bit of tongue blocking, and plays split-3’s and split-5’s in addition to split-4’s, but I don’t hear Todd Parrott or Terry McMillan tongue blocking.

You DEFINITELY should NOTE become a FULL TIME tongue-blocker. Being a hybrid player gives you the widest variety of colors to chose from, BUT I think I know your tastes and preferences pretty well from what you’ve shared on the forum, and I think you DO NOT need to learn tongue blocking. I disagree with Michael Rubin on this subject, respectfully.


Luke knows. And a lot of good advice in general above. But Luke is your guy.

Here’s a different perspective: For me it’s not about the sound. it’s about the experience of the physical dance that controls the sound. There is great great joy in this. I understand. this is where the experience of expression comes from - the physical dance. As in air guitar. The sound is nice it’s our goal. It’s the result. I’m saying that what is important is “how it feels.” Physically - emotionally - Not how it sounds. If it’s feeling great to you it will eventually sound great. So answer your question with; “go with the technique that is fun and sweet for you.” And try other things now and again, that might actually feel real good down the road. I only just began learning tongue blocking from Joe Filisko about 10 years ago and I love the feel. But I’ve been using the pursing technique for 80 years and I guess I’m used to it - but I love both. I love it all.

I never wanted to make Music a burden for me, so I just follow the path of finding the joy. If I wanted to play, if I felt like it, I would, and I would choose to play what was going to be fun. After all the harmonica is just a toy. if you think of it like that you’ll get what I’m talking about. LOL! Of course I’m kidding about the harmonica being a toy. I was just toying with you on that one.



@Corky_Music always an honor to hear from you Corky! Great words of wisdom here much appreciated. I wanna be like you when I grow up. 80 years of harmonica!?!? But you’re only 28, so how’s that possible? :wink:

I’ve only been play 30 years, but I started learning tongue blocking from Joe Filisko about 5 years ago, and I’m having so much fun with it. It does FEEL different. It’s been my technique of choice when playing on my Low C, while rocking my infant daughter to sleep at night.

But coming from a background as a funk, rock, and reggae guitar player, I love the percussive, chordal, rhythmic things that TBing allows me, and as you so beautifully point out - it’s the FEEL of it that’s so fun.

I’m taking these words to the bank Corky. Beautiful perspective, thanks for sharing.


Thank you Luke.

I’m honored.


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This has stuck with me. Meditating on this one @Corky_Music. You are a blessing!!!


Once in a while I do, but I can just blow to the left or right of my tongue and push or pull the air as I desire. I saw the 30 year thing, mine is 48 years, and yeah didn’t play a lot some years, but regularly, some years when you work 2500 hours, you just have to do other stuff, like plumbing, painting or as I often say, a house owns you, you don’t own the house. Plus I learned some bass, guitar and keys along the way, cajon probably isn’t officially a drum, but fun nevertheless.

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I would like to update on technique, now that I sort of analyzed what I do. I noticed certain sounds I use head air, throat air and chest air and various pressures for various sounds. The Diaphragm can pull or push, then use your throat or cheeks as secondary bellows which can give you, cheeks can give you a trill effect as well as the throat, but the chest not as fast.

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Just do it. I do not tongue block. When playing a single note I narrow the distance by dropping my lower jaw to close ant air drift into the next hole. Do what U and only U want to do.


Hello my friend i started playing 1986. Soon as i watched crossroads went and brought a harp 2 years later started learning whammer jammer and started playing with a very good bluesman Ivan Zarr on the side of the road in Northbridge. We became good mates and he even asked me if i wanted to go on tour with him up north. I had to decline his offer as was just starting to get mor work in my chosen field so there my learning to play stopped as 12hr shifts took my time. Well now im having the time to spend relearning and realise yes Tb does have some very special techniques that you can only get tb and depending on the style of music you want to play tb might not be needed if your playing more rock. But its your harp you play it for you and as long as your happy thats what counts. Look at the fella from UK that just won best harp player he lip purser brilliant player. Herd him play pink floyd tune bloody brilliant. Wil Wylde Lp everything and even tunes his harps slightly different. Good luck my friend you play for you and make it a expression of you dont even think about anything else while being creative.