Quick Blues Harmonica Lesson

A friend recently asked me advice on playing harmonica, specifically bending bluesy notes for the beginner. I’m no virtuoso (my Uncle George, on the other hand, is) but in performing as John Lennon with Beatles Tribute shows for years, I’ve got a pretty decent handle on the basics of harmonica blues. Here is my reply to my friend (thanks, Crystal):

…So I play blues harp, which is all bending. My Uncle plays a chromonica, which is very difficult(see www.myspace.com/ugeorge12– it has the button on the end and contains every note on the scale in semitones. A much larger, more expensive and long-lasting instrument than a regular harp. I would suggest getting a HOHNER BLUES HARP any key is fine- A or C are probably most practical the trick to doing those bluesy bends is to do it when you DRAW (inhale) you make a little sort of whiney shape in your mouth as you draw (kinda like whistling on an inhale) and voila! The blues harps are designed to bend easier for beginners One note: when using a HOHNER harmonica in a song(or any harp, for that matter) you want to use the FOURTH of the key the song is in For example, in the key of E, use an A harp. In the key of C, use an F harp, etc… Yes, the reeds are very sensitive on harps and weather can certainly destroy them. If your top few notes are gone, the rest of your reeds probably don’t sound too hot, either. A brand new harp sounds best in the studio. There are samples of this kind of playing on my CDs, BEATLESQUE TOO, www.myspace.com/beatlesque2 (se solos on “Rockin Little Baby” and “All Of The Time” and MRS SIPPY BONE www.myspace.com/sippybone (“GONNA GET TO YOU” has a pretty decent solo)

go here for some of the most excellent harmonica playing you’l ever hear:


~ by abernhoft on September 16, 2009.

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