What Are You Struggling With?

Part of the learning process is hitting up against obstacles, and finding ways around them. Everybody hits obstacles, even the legendary musicians we all admire.

So what are y’all up against right now?

I’ll share an obstacle I hit recently. Personally, I’ve been bending my whole life by lowering the back of my tongue and raising my soft palette so in an “O” vowel shape, and then releasing by doing an “EE” vowel shape.

Recently I made a video comparing “oy” to bending, and someone at Harmonica.com told me that was all wrong, and that “wa-oo” is better for bend and release. I thought he was crazy and stupid. But after I worked with it for a few minutes, I was able to bend and release with this vowel shape.

Then I consulted my Harmonica for Dummies book, and it also confirmed that lifting the back of your tongue into the “kk zone” is the best way to bend.

Well I felt like the rug had just been swept out from under my feet. I was just so used to doing it the other way! The opposite way! I felt confused.

But I discovered the new way (new to me at least!) did give me more control over the half-step bends on the draw 2 and draw 3, and I like the release tone of an “oo” vowel shape better than “ee” because it’s darker, warmer, rounder, and my tone tends to be a little too thin and bright.

So I’m trying to work on it and re-train myself after doing it the other way for for 25 years! Lol!

What about you? What are you struggling with?

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Yes, the “Harmonica for Dummies” and “Blues Harmonica for Dummies” books really helped me to improve my bending – and it’s improving day-to-day (I’m a slow learner :crazy_face:)

The key, as I see it, is to practice bending every chance you get! Just warm up by practicing bends, for example: starting unbent and going down slowly into the bent note. Then starting afresh, but at the bent note and slowly bringing up to the unbent note.

At least it works for me. It also helps that I play the flute and can (relatively) quickly switch to it to check that I’m getting to the bent note I’m aiming to reach. A piano or electric keyboard would be even better: playing both simultaneously …

I’m still leraning to play a harmonica but wanted to play southern country gospel but can’t hardly find relevant tutorials yet
Will really appreciate your help

Cris, I think that there are not any tutorials specifically for “southern country gospel”, however, what you can do is to simply use resources such as the “Dummies” books listed above, and the tutorials offered by @J.P.Allen on harmonica.com (and what looks especially good for you would be his offering of the new Jam-Along System)!! The techniques you need to learn will be found in these resources. Then apply them to “southern country gospel” music. :sunglasses:

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Thanks a lot slim

Yes - I have and love Harmonica for Dummies, and refer to it to investigate / confirm things, as I mentioned in my previous post. I don’t have Blues Harmonica for Dummies. Worth getting?

Welcome to the forum Cris! Glad to have you here…

Good question! I have not really gone completely through either of them yet. There is, as you might expect, some overlap; but there are also some differences. Whether they warrant having both? Ask me again in about year (I’m slow about progressing through them since I tend to stop at a topic until I feel sufficiently good at it before moving on to the next topic! :crazy_face:

I’ve been playing for over 50 yr. but have never really perfected my grip or hand techniques. It seems like my hands are too small. I can’t realy seal and use them to get extreme wahwah sounds. Suggestions?