Tricky hole 10 bend

Hi guys,

I’ve always found the hole 10 blow bend very elusive. :-[ Especially on high key harps such as C and D. I can get all the blow bends till hole 9, but the hole 10 blow always seems quite challenging. Could it be because my harmonicas are not set up properly (reed gap etc), or is it just because I need to practice more? ;D

  • Ashish

Ok I’ll bite -

Answer: All of the above! ??? ::slight_smile:

I’d say I’ll let you know when I get there too…

But that’ll be a long wait also – :-X

I’m still working on getting my draw bends down, bro!

One day I hope to get that little 1 hole “wfft!” blow bend Howard Levy discovered way back when…

In the interim: Good Luck and Keep on Harpin’! :slight_smile:

Yeah. The 10 hole bend is tough on harmonicas above D.

It’s all about a very tight and forward bending embouchure (which is something you probably already know). A bit of reed gapping could help.

I usually don’t do the reed gapping.

I like to bend it quick and decisively. Get on the note and get off it quick. No messin’ around.

In other words, I won’t take my time on a slow, gliding bend on the 10 hole of an F harmonica.

Also, need to be careful with people’s ears on microphone. The 10-hole on harmonicas above the key of D are pretty darn ear splitting.

I hope that helps Ashish,


I was able to get some 10 hole blow bends right now by using a very tight embouchure…but it seems like a lot of effort! :-[ I think practicing it regularly would make it easier.

Have you listened to Whammer Jammer by Magic Dick? -

… there are lots of 10 hole blow bends in that tune. Magic Dick plays them effortlessly…and also adds some vibrato! That’s what I’m trying to achieve.

Well, thanks for the tip! I’ll keep practicing. :slight_smile:



I just now got around to watching your youtube vid here:

Absolutely brilliant! :o

I really want to learn “boogie-woogie” style playing. That’s my favorite! For me personally, when I get there I know I’ll feel accomplished beyond my current beginning levels!

Can you teach me your riffs or where I can learn them; and btw what key harp are you playing on?!

Hey Street,

I’m glad to know you enjoyed that recording. :slight_smile: I’m playing a Hohner Special 20 (key of A).

The tune I’m playing is called - “Walter’s Shuffle” (or Walter’s boogie). Look it up, and you’ll find videos of Big Walter Horton playing it on YouTube! I learned the tune by listening to his recordings. :slight_smile: If you find a particular riff challenging, let me know. I’ll try to break it down for ya. :slight_smile:


Cool Beans!

For several reasons! I’m going to checkout Walter’s Shuffle, for sure. But too, I really think you’ll like this!

I had to go back into one of my Howard Levy posts and find it! The topic was who were your favorite harmonica players. So my gift to you, Ashish! Check out the links and let me know what you think!

"Besides the Sonnys and Little Walter, I’m trying to track down more of this rockin’ pre-war dude by the name of Rhythm Willie!

I heard him just the other day on this great podcast:

If you don’t wish to listen to all of it, you can speed up to just before Track 8.

First time I heard this song I immediately thought of Howard Levy. Apparently, Pat Missin thought along these same lines long before I did, but that’s okay too. His comments on Willie are here:

For me, Rythym Willie was the John Popper Blues Traveler of his day! Or rather: Is John Popper the Rythym Willie Blues Player of our day! Hmm…? I think I know the answer, but I’ll let you decide it for yourself!!

So until next time:

Harp Onward & Upward!

Street Player Dude :slight_smile:

{Oh, FYI: You can put the podcast on RealPlayer and save it too}

Thank you so much for that link, Street! Wow. I listen to a lot of pre-war players, but I wonder why I never listened to Rhythm Willie. Listening to him just made my jaw drop in amazement. I’ve got to do more research on this man. He’s just amazing.

What have you done to me, Street? I should be working right now…but I can’t! I am reading about Rhythm Willie!



Isn’t he just great, Ashish!

I listened to the podcast last night for the first time in a long time on my RealPlayer. And he just sends chills down my spine everytime I hear him!

I don’t even recall how I stumbled across the Musical Ramblings website, but I’m so glad I find that radio program.

I also researched him, as I’m sure you’ve read on Pat Missin. I’m hoping the sheet music Pat supplied helps you on your quest for them high overblows!

Now what I did is I took my little pocket tape recorder and recorded “New Bait & Tackle Blues” off my computer. (I actually recorded it twice, from end-to-end without the commentary, and back-to-back to make it play longer…Anyways…)

I can do some of the riffs in lower registers, certainly not all by a long shot.

Yet meeting you here in the forum, getting a feeling for what you like, well, by golly, I’m sure I’ll be seeing you on YouTube playing this tune soon enough!

Keep on harpin, my friend!

Thanks for reading!!

Same here! It sends chills down my spine. ;D

Yeah, I’ll definitely be studying Rhythm Willie now. Maybe you’ll see me playing his tunes on youtube soon! :slight_smile: Speaking of youtube, do you happen to have some videos there?

Have you listened to Gwen Foster? Gwen Foster was also really good at the high end of the harmonica. Check out these tunes -

Enjoy! :slight_smile:

Inre: Gwen Foster! I listened and I liked! :slight_smile:

Inre: My own YouTube vids! I don’t have a webcam nor do I do pics of myself either; personal preference for me now, may change in some future setting! 8)

Inre: Rythym Willie! So glad I found somebody else besides me I could turn him onto! ;D

See ya!!

Enjoy Buddy! Then come back and teach me how to do it too! :slight_smile:

Railroad Tycoon 2 Soundtrack-Sunset and Lonely

Ashish! Well done! You’re a pro! Thanks, for posting.

Hey Street! Thanks for sharing this. :slight_smile: I love the rhythm, and the laid back playing. Really cool! The harmonica seems to be in the key of “A”. I could be wrong, but it seems that the harmonica in the recording has been retuned At least one note in the recording (at the 23-24 second mark) seems to be an overbent 6 blow, but he (or she ?) seems to be playing it without actually overblowing. So, I’m guessing the harmonica has been retuned. ???

Speaking overblows, I’ve been working on them a lot the last couple of days…and I’ve learned many things I’d like to share with the folks here. More on that in a separate post when I get more time. :slight_smile:

Thanks Don! Glad you like it! :slight_smile:

  • Ashish

Can’t believe somebody actually found and made a cool vid of this, but so glad they did! Enjoy, Ashish! I definitely am!! :slight_smile:

Rhythm Willie - Boarding House Blues (1940)

If’n these two fellers don’t knock yore socks off, nothing will!!

Eddie Mapp - Fourth Avenue Blues (1929)

Willie “Red” Newman - St. Louis Blues (1936)

OK, 10 bend is elusive for me, a sometimes thing.
I want to ask about my 9 bend though. I can bring it down pretty good and far,
but rather than a smooth slurring bend, I get pretty well slotted notes. I know that
when I mean to do this it is a good thing, but what am I doing wrong that many times
I can’t get a smooth slide down and back up rather than just skipping to the next half steps?


Hi BB,

What Harp are you having the most problems with that 9 Blow bend,

Curious haven’t done much practicing on blow bends just kind of fool
around with it sometimes to see if I can get.

Let me know what Key your having the most problem with and I’ll give it a
shot and see if I can figure it out.

harp On!!

Hey SPD,

Wow, I really enjoyed the videos. I had listened to Eddie Map and Rhythm Willie before, but this was the first time I listened to Willie Newman. Gosh, he’s really good. The talking harmonica thing reminded me of Salty Holmes:

Salty Holmes’ “talking” harmonica


Salty Holmes - The Ghost Song

They called him the “king of the talking harmonica”.