How to develop your blues harmonica technique | Easyharp Tips

learn harmonica

 

Hello blues harmonica friends, today I try to give you some tips about developing your technique on the instrument, with a complete study plan so to proceed step by step. Obviously, if you are an advanced blues harp player, you don’t need this help, but if you are a beginner probably my study plan can help you to gradually add more consciousness to your playing.

01 - FIRST STEPS WITH THE HARMONICA
Learn how does it work your instrument, how to obtain different notes. Begin to explore straight and cross harp playing simple melodies. Here a preview of this topic:
FIRST STEPS WITH THE HARMONICA

 

02 - HOLDING THE HARMONICA AND EMBOUCHURE
Learn how to properly hold the harmonica in your hands and how to use your hands to manage your sound; learn how to play single noteschords and rhythmic effects with different embouchures: puckering, open-mouth and tongue-blocking. Here a preview of this topic:
HOLDING THE HARMONICA AND EMBOUCHURE

 

03 - BREATHING
Discover how to properly use your diaphragm: playing the harmonica means also breathing through the harmonica. Gain a better control of your sound and you will be able to perform even complex rhythms and progressions. Here a preview of this topic:
BREATHING

 

04 - BASIC CHORDS AND ACCOMPANIMENT
Learn to play basic chords you can find on the harmonica and how to use them to create simple rhythmic accompaniments and even more complicated patterns alternating chords, single notes and tongue-blocking. Here a preview of this topic:
BASIC CHORDS AND ACCOMPANIMENT

 

05 - ARTICULATION OF THE NOTES
Learn how to set and enhance individual notes attack and expression, through the use of syllables sound and throat tapping. Here a preview of this topic:
ARTICULATION OF THE NOTES

 

06 - THE NOTES OF THE HARMONICA
Discover which notes can easily played with the harmonica and the notes you can obtain using the bending technique. Learn to recognize each note through its sound and its musical value. Here a preview of this topic:
THE NOTES OF THE HARMONICA

 

07 - EFFECTS AND ORNAMENTS
Discover several tricks to enrich your phrasing, learn the techniques of hand vibratothroat vibratowah-wahglissandoshakesoctaves and special effects such as the train whistle and its application. Here a preview of this topic:
EFFECTS AND ORNAMENTS

 

08 - BENDING DRAW NOTES - PART 1
Learn how to lower the pitch of draw notes and gain a correct setting of the bending technique. Start from the fourth hole draw half-step bent and the sixth hole draw half-step bent. Here a preview of this topic:
BENDING DRAW NOTES - PART 1

 

09 - BENDING DRAW NOTES - PART 2
Develop the bending technique applying it on the third hole draw bending half-step, a whole-step and a whole-step and a half, on the second hole draw bending a half-step and a whole-step, on the first hole draw a half-step bent. Here a preview of this topic:
BENDING DRAW NOTES - PART 2

 

10 - SECOND POSITION - PART 1
Discover why it is so common to play in a different key than the straight key of the harmonica. Note after note, even with the use of the bending technique, you will understand how to get a blues scale in second position. Here a preview of this topic:
SECOND POSITION - PART 1

 

11 - SECOND POSITION - PART 2
Learn to recognize all the notes in the first six holes of the harmonica, study some nice melodic possibilities offered by your instrument and how to play effective licks in second position. Here a preview of this topic:
SECOND POSITION - PART 2

 

12 - BLUES SCALE - SECOND POSITION
Discover all the secrets of the musical scale that characterizes the blues music and learn how to use the different notes of that scale playing the harmonica. You will enhance your musical language studying many effective blues licks and riffs. Here a preview of this topic: 
BLUES SCALE - SECOND POSITION

 

13 - MAJOR PENTATONIC SCALE - SECOND POSITION
Extend the melodic possibilities of your instrument, learn how to use the notes of the major pentatonic scale in second position over the entire range of the harmonica and how to play some nice and effective licks with the use of this new scale. Here a preview of this topic:
MAJOR PENTATONIC SCALE - SECOND POSITION

 

14 - PLAYING OVER BLUES PROGRESSION - PART 1
Learn to recognize the structure of a twelve-bar blues, its harmonic progression and how to play over it. Learn to play a 12-bar shuffle, build an effective recurring phrase, transpose it on different chords and learn to play some turn-around licks. Here a preview of this topic:
PLAYING OVER BLUES PROGRESSION - PART 1

 

15 - PLAYING OVER BLUES PROGRESSION - PART 2
Learn to play a boogie song, develop your knowledge of how to build a melody on the chords progression, learn to play a minor blues, discover new possibilities within the structure of the blues playing with a swing feeling. Here a preview of this topic:
PLAYING OVER BLUES PROGRESSION - PART 2

 

16 - FIRST POSITION - PART 1
Develop your way to play in the same key of the harmonica, explore the major pentatonic scale studying many nice new phrases, so that you will find out how it’s easy to use this scale on the entire range of the harmonica. Here a preview of this topic:
FIRST POSITION - PART 1

 

17 - BENDING BLOW NOTES
Learn how to correctly apply the bending technique on blow notes too, start playing some effective blues licks using the eighth hole blow a half-step bent, the ninth hole blow a half-step bent and the tenth hole blow a whole-tone bent. Here a preview of this topic:
BENDING BLOW NOTES

 

18 - FIRST POSITION - PART 2
Learn to use the blues scale in first position on the higher octave and on the low octave of the harmonica. You will play many nice new licks that will enrich your musical language and will enhance your mastery on the instrument. Here a preview of this topic:
FIRST POSITION - PART 2

 

19 - THIRD POSITION
Discover how to play the blues scale in third position, learn how to play new licks using blues scale notes on the entire range of the harmonica, explore the unique sound of the third position and how to get a swing approach with the use of tongue-blocking. Here a preview of this topic:
THIRD POSITION

 

It takes a lot of time making yours all these topics, but if you study diligently step by step you’ll achieve a great consciousness of how to play the blues harmonica. Obviously, we are not all the same, the main difference will be our personal musical ideas. On my personal opinion, studying an instrument technique is one of the most effective ways to free our musical imagination. If are happy about your music, don’t worry about anything; but if you feel that you can’t express all your musical ideas, start studying some of the proposed topics and probably it will be easier to better express yourself on your blues harmonica.

 

And remember that playing music should be fun too: so, have a great time playing the blues with your harmonica :)

P.D.

 

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