How to play harmonica | Easyharp Tips

how to play harmonica

Hello blues harmonica lovers! Today I try to give some basic tips to all harmonica beginners in order to start playing your instrument with a very easy approach.

First of all: get your first harmonica, I mean a diatonic harmonica (10 holes) in the key of C.

Your first goal is to play all the notes of the scale of the harmonica in the middle octave, that is in the central four holes, from 4 to 7. In each hole you find two natural notes, one blow and one draw. Don’t be afraid if you can’t play now a single clear note, just start trying. So, in this order:

Blow 4

Draw 4

Blow 5

Draw 5

Blow 6

Draw 6

Draw 7

Blow 7

Then try to play some notes in reverse order.

This is the basic scale of your harmonica, try to get all the notes.

General tip to get clear single notes: kiss your harp with love, but initially without tongue : ) , don’t stress your lips, keep them forward, get a tight contact with your harmonica in correspondence  of the hole you want to play, tighten the lateral muscles of your mouth but leave your lips relaxed. Remember, the air should go directly from your mouth to the hole, a single hole. If you don’t get it right on your first attempt, move a little on your harp or tighten a little your embouchure. Keep in contact with your harmonica!

When you get all clear single notes, you are able to play your first C major tune! Open Youtube, search for “backing track c major” and play harmonica from hole 4 to hole 7, you’ll be happy!

If you want to play a major tune in another key, get another harmonica with the same key of the song and do the same thing you have already done before: from 4 to 7.

Playing the blues with your diatonic harmonica is a little more complicated, but remember this: you already have a C harmonica and with this harmonica you’ll play your first blues in the key of G!

Start in this way: open your mouth and draw through first 3/4 holes (from hole 1 to hole 3, or from hole 1 to hole 4), all at once with your open mouth leaning on the harp: that’s a G major chord. Do same thing blowing: that’s a C major chord.

Ok, now try to play your first simple blues just using these two chords, but pay attention that you are playing in the key of G, so start drawing! Then blow, then draw, then blow…. End drawing!

Try to get a shuffle rhythm feel:

draw

draw/blow

blow/draw

draw/blow

blow/draw

….

You have moved your first steps playing harmonica! Congratulations!

If you wanna get further, take your time and keep on moving!

Learning to play harmonica and blues means a lot of practicing with the instrument, try to do your best and when you feel you want more find a good harmonica teacher or a good blues harmonica lessons website to get faster to the next level. Here on my Easyharp website you’ll find a complete blues harmonica masterclass in the Video Lessons section.

I wish you a lot of fun playing your first harmonica!

P.D.

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