too much moisture

I am learning this tune it’s kind of a quick moving fiddle tune which has several 3D’’ notes.

Here is the tab:

A Part
7B 7D 6D 6B 5B 4B 4D 5B 4D 4B 3D" 2D

4B 4B 4B 4D 5B 5D 6B 5B

7B 7D 6D 6B 5B 4B 4D 5B 4D 4B 3D" 4B

3D 4D 3B 3D" 3D 4B

B Part
6B 5D 5B 6B 6D 7D 7B 6B 5B

6B 5D 5B 6B 6D 7D 7B 7D

7B 7D 6D 6B 5B 4B 4D 5B 4D 4B 3D" 4B

3D 4D 3B 3D" 3D 4B

Here is what it sounds like at full speed. Professionally recorded definitely not me ;D

My problem is the 3D’’ makes my mouth over saturated and I end up clogging and getting the reeds
stuck so they play flat or not at all.

I was just wondering if anyone else has this problem. I’ve actually stuck paper towels in my mouth prior
to practicing to get it as dry as possible :stuck_out_tongue:

But by the time I finish the tune I’m liquefied and my harp needs to dry out :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s a challenge because to get it to speed I have to play over and over again and that
becomes a problem because constantly have to let harp dry out >:(

Harp On!!

Wow! I’d say you must’ve definitely been drowing…Harp stopped at about 0:37/38 and music went on for like 10 more minutes!!!

Not that it wasn’t any good…it was. But throw the man a life preserver for gosh sakes, will youse, eh?!

And while that’s going on – How many times does this topic in various threads/versions keep coming back:!/

Since nobody wanted to talk about it then, I locked it up. Guess I’ll go ahead and unlock it so ya’ll have something else to chat about! hehehehe!!! :smiley:

Rock on, yo!!

This may be a stupid idea from a novice but… maybe put a lite coat of PAM cooking oil on the reed plates to displace the moisture and keep it from collecting. I don’t know if it will work but it sounds logical to me!
It mite keep your lips from sticking too. If you try this and it works let me know cus at my level I haven’t run into this problem enough yet to really matter.

Um, well, PB:

No offense, but er uh –

Pull out all your harps and do it first, okay?! ;D

Be my guest, eh?! :wink:

Was playing two of my A harps earlier today.

And seriously no bullshit aside just one measly drop of moisture on both the 6 Blow reeds locked them up! :stuck_out_tongue:

Of course I did this to both:!/msg1327/#msg1327

Yet fortunately I was home and could open them up to see what’s what. Had to be heated up with my old hair dryer because the plates really got colder since the weather here changed. :’(

But um yeah – I wants to see you put PAM and/or anything other than warm air on yours first. And then I’ll be happy to try it all on mine - er um not! :-\

Rock on, yo!

PS: Back when I was organizing these threads after Management finally put in the Blocks to build upon, I originally ‘locked’ the above post. However, now that we are getting into colder weather again, figure might as well open it up for anybody who wants to add their experiences to it. Thanks! SPD (Moderately) On The Job!! :slight_smile:

No offense taken 8) and I will accept your superior harp knowledge. It was just a thought that kicked in as I read the post. I just figured the lite oil film would keep things from sticking and ward off rust and buildup.

MY BAD :-[

Thanks for keeping me straight!!!

I will accept your superior harp knowledge

You’re such a kidder, PB! :stuck_out_tongue:


Hey Joe, just recently James Cotton was in the Albany, NY area giving a one night show and I noticed that the way he plays (very fast and long riffs) he builds up a lot of moisture and he’s constantly wiping his brow and mouth with a cloth placed on a table next to him. And after playing and when he tries to speak there is a great deal of moisture coming from his mouth. When you play slow or fewer notes do you build up this same volumn of moisture?

I don’t know the answer to correct this problem.



You know where it happens is the 3D" and the following 4B that just saturates my mouth and makes it tough to finish the tune.

Maybe I’m not quite doing the bends right IDK but I’ll beat this tune yet.
I put my tongue down below the bottom of my bottom teeth to play the 3D"
and when I release the bend to go to 4B, I think I’m bringing up moisture/saliva :stuck_out_tongue:

Subsequently clogging the 4B ???

I’ll figure it out eventually :wink:

Even if it drowns me ;D

Harp On!!

Joe, are you tongue blocking the 4 hole while draw bending the 3hole and then vise-a-versa? Or, do you play single hole? If you tongue block try single hole playing.


I usually have the opposite problem because I’m not full of spit like you guys. I get too dried out, but when working on some advice for getting more saliva I have stumbled on an idea for you to try.

When you put your tongue below your teeth for the three draw is it just kind of sitting there or do you think you might be pushing your tongue forward into your teeth. If I push my tongue against my teeth it makes more saliva. You may be unknowingly doing this.

Hope it helps.

@Barry Definitely not tongue blocking, Yea that will definitely spring up some waters ;D

@Gregmatic Yup I think your right I am pushing the tongue pretty hard, to help get the bend. Will play around with that tmrw :-\

Harp on!!

Hey JOE!!!

LOL! Something about this post gave me a chuckle… “liquifying the harp”

First thing:
Do you slap the excess moisture out of the harmonica? I do this by facing the holes towards my thigh and slapping the harmonica against my pant leg.

The other thing is that I’m very aware of how much moisture is collecting in my mouth and I personally stash excess saliva under my tongue and to a lesser degree between my cheeks and lower molars.

Then when ever there’s a break in the song I swallow…and slap my harmonica to eliminate moisture…

I think this is a problem you can solve if you become very sensitive to the amount of moisture in you mouth at all times and being very careful not to blow that moisture into the harmonica.

I hope this helps Joe…

And thanks for being part of our harmonica community…I’m really enjoying your posts and I’ve appreciated how generous you’re been with other harmonica players.



Ok JP, now that’s one of the things that separates the highly experienced from the me.
You made that sound simple and easy. Sometimes I forget all that I took for granted with my instruments during my years of serious play…until someone asked a question about a topic that I had conquered so long back that I had forgotten I’d ever even had a problem with it.
That’s called practice, practice, practice. I’ll work on this idea of storing and swapping my slurp. I usually don’t have too much. I usually have the drying lips trouble. Could that be because I don’t keep a good seal on the harp when I play?



I thought I had this tune figured out as far as too much moisture in my mouth.
This is what I did:

Two small pieces of paper towels in my mouth to help control the moisture
while I was playing.

Sounds reasonable right in theory. (what was I thinking) >:(

I hit that 3D" bend and you guessed it paper towel down my throat almost choked to
death :stuck_out_tongue:

Back to the drawing board :-\

Who would have thought playing harmonica could be life threatening ::slight_smile:

Keep the paper towels out of your mouth or anything for that matter, while playing your harp ;D
Harp On!!

LOL. I thought the paper towel idea was a bit sketchy but I was trying to be respectful. Thanks for letting everyone know SPD

BB: What you’re saying make total sense. If you don’t have a total seal on the harmonica and it’s causing additional airflow it will cause drying…

Saying that… another remedy to lips getting too dry is to play more softly to decrease air flow…

You know I remember my first time playing live I was so nervous I had cotton mouth and I could play a thing because the harmonica was sticking to my dry lips…

I think the thing that made the most difference was monitoring the moisture level in my mouth…

So if my mouth gets dry I lick my lips and if my mouth is too wet I stash the moisture under my tongue and swallow at the first chance I get (i.e. when there’s a pause in the music)

How’s the moisture in your mouth right now while you’re reading this?

This can be our new Zen and the art of harmonica playing meditation… staying mindful to the moisture levels in our mouth and staying present to our breath so that we’re not too full or empty… :slight_smile:


Two small pieces of paper towels in my mouth to help control the moisture while I was playing.

Okay, been watching Brando in the Godfather lately, have ya?!

If none of these other fine suggestions don’t help - Well guess you’ll have to learn how to “SPIT” in rhythm, preferably on the downbeat and/or during the lead guitar solo …Works for me! mwuahahhahahaha!

Keep on jammin’!

You know, this is where trumpet players get all the breaks. We have spit valves and plenty of tacit sections.

Of course that leads to a harp joke about the blues harp man playing with the symphony orchestra. After the show, the conductor asked what in the world the harpman was doing playing through the final section. The harper said, “I looked at the chart, and it said ‘TACIT,’ so I took it. I had to wing it most of the way. That fiddler was walking all over my ride!”
OK, so you have to be a little creative in your sense of humor to appreciate this (maybe that should read “dense”). Whoop out the dictionaries boys and girls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!


so you have to be a little creative in your sense of humor to appreciate this

I wouldn’t expect anything less from A Prima Vista such as yourself, BB! :-*

Or should I say AFFANNATO, ASSAI – Not that there’s anything wrong with that!! ::slight_smile:

Keep in touch with yourself! :wink:

Rock on, yo!

Joe> Are you looking at the tabs ie even just glancing at the tabs whilst you are playing? Where are the tabs placed?

Make sure that if you are referring to tabs that they are positioned at or above head height ie so you don’t have to lean forward or look down. A good place is to hang them like a picture on the wall.

Also even if not referring to tabs make sure you are holding your head up so that any moisture in your mouth doesn’t run into your harp.

Another thing that might sound contradictory is to have a glass of water and sip from it often.

Yup I know what you mean Dave, but I would tilt head upwards and it would help very slightly :stuck_out_tongue:

But the good news is I think what I was doing was really hitting the bends hard hard and it would
get the juices flowing inside my mouth :o

Just today I’ve been practicing it in a more relaxed mode not trying to attack the bends as hard
and I wasn’t springing up as much saliva ;D

I also think that will help with the tone of the bends and how they sound. Less Ducky sounding and a little
more smoother hopefully.

Harp on!!