How to Play the Blues Harp

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Note: This applies to the 10-hole diatonic harmonica and not Chromatics

As anyone whose kids have had a harmonica for Christmas will know, there are a lot of techniques involved in making it "talk".

Someone once said " Playing the harp is easy - you just suck and blow in three positions - so long as your partner has no objections".

First you need to be able to play single notes - to do this, you either need to pucker your lips or use tongue blocking .

Then you need to be able to bend notes to produce those "missing" from the standard diatonic harp as well as getting the authentic blues sound

Then you can add extra rhythm and depth of tone by mastering Tongue Slapping and Octave Playing

Once you have mastered these, you are ready to learn about positions or choosing the right key harp to play with a guitarist or band.

When you start to learn licks and tunes, you may start by using tab. However, although tab is useful to be able to work out how a riff is constructed, excessive reliance on it may slow you down in the long run. If you can get used to picking out tunes by ear, you should be able to progress much more quickly in the long run.