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Jun 2017 MENU

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By JP Allen
If you want to master single notes on your harmonica then this article has 4 tips that
reveal the not so obvious secret! Having a solid single note technique is critical to your
being able to play harmonica with a beautiful, crystal clear sound. First check out my
intro video here, then read the rest of this page to get more on the nitty gritty for
playing single notes…

Harmonica Video Lessons…

You can also jump straight to
the free beginners how to

This is because the holes on a harmonica are so small and close together! In this lesson. I can confidently say that though there are other great single note techniques. When you start playing the harmonica. How to Play Harmonica More Quick Start Guides Harmonica Mouth Position How to Hold a Harmonica How to Breath With Harmonica How to Bend Notes If you’re having a challenging time hitting your single notes with accuracy. After 25 years of teaching harmonica. But hitting one clean single note can be challenging. learning the lip-blocked single note will be your quickest route to sounding great on the harmonica. play harmonica lesson video (the free lessons start two minutes into the video). There are primarily two ways to play single notes: 1. Lip-blocking . you will notice that it is easy to play two or three holes at the same time. Tongue-blocking 2. you’re probably not using the lip-blocked single note that is explained in this article below. I’m stoked to help you develop a solid foundation that will ensure you don’t get stuck or frustrated.

Step 2. Place your harmonica deep in your mouth.” Step 3. . Keep the upper lip relaxed and deep.The Deep Relaxed Embouchure for Single Notes The mouth position that we will be using to play single notes is the “Deep Relaxed Embouchure”. Here’s a quick review of this technique: Step 1. Tilt the harmonica 30 degrees down into lower lip so that the lower lip “unfolds.

Put the harmonica in your mouth. The idea is that your lower lip should block out holes 3 and 5.Keeping the upper lip relaxed is very important. Your lips should look like the photo in “Tip #2” below… . Step 3. while only playing hole 4. Step 2. My experience of teaching thousands of harmonica students has taught me that those who tightly pucker their lips will be unnecessarily challenged. We only use the lower lip to block out the undesired holes and the upper lip remains TOTALLY RELAXED (seals the air and goes along for the ride): Playing a Single Note Let’s try playing a single note on hole 4 blow: Step 1. Take the harmonica out of your mouth and look in a mirror. The upper lip should be completely relaxed. Slightly pucker your lower lip by bringing the corners of your lip closer together. with a deep relaxed embouchure (explained above).

working fine. These makes it easier holes are usually very easy to bend. When you angle of the try playing them. it is quite likely that you will Tip #3 (Step 2) harmonica get a weak sounding airy note. try reducing Open wide on the inside of your mouth by the angle. read on… up. When you play a single note. All you need to do is make a You will have to small adjustment in your technique. here are some tips that would really help you out: Tip #1 Tip #1 Increase The Tricky 2 and 3 Draw Tip #2 the tilt angle - Holes 2 and 3 draw are notoriously difficult for Tip #3 (Step 1) Increasing the beginners to play single notes on. 3-draw and while leaving only upper register reeds (8. one hole The odds are very high that your harmonica is unobstructed. sometimes Tip #3 (Step 3) nothing is wrong with your harmonica. Once you as possible) get the knack of it. Here are experiment with your three main goals: the tilt angle to find the sweet Drop the jaw (so your teeth are as far apart spot. 9. the natural curve in your lower lip will Why Do My Harmonica automatically Notes Sound Bad? block out the undesired holes It’s very unlikely that your 2-draw. and so Tip #4 to get single you can accidentally bend them while trying to notes. and 10) are faulty. Don’t worry. simultaneously yawning and saying “ahhh” (like the doctor says. For more on how to tilt the harmonica remedy this.Cannot Get a Clean Sound? If you are having difficulties getting a clean single note. “open wide and say .

Try OPENING WIDE. The reason I am bring attention to “the back of the tongue” is because students often think they are dropping the back of their tongue but they are only dropping the front of their tongue. DROP THE JAW and say “ahh” or “ohh”. Remember! The key is to angle the harmonica into the lower lip. So ultimately. This is a very normal problem and it happens to over 90% students in the beginning. You need to learn to be able to play a single note while your jaw is dropped. Experiment with moving it into a variety of different positions to see if this helps. My suspicion is that you are raising the back of the tongue and you need to open your mouth wider. you will find a mouth position that enables you to have TOTAL FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT OF THE JAW while still easily being able to play a single note. it is very helpful to DROP THE JAW. so that lower lip obstructs the undesired holes (see this page for more info on the Deep Relax Mouth Position) So what are you doing that’s not helping? I’ll take a educated guess. Open as . In order to drop the back of the tongue. Single Notes Exercise Practice going from a Blow note to its corresponding Draw note: Going Up… And Back Down Again… I’m going to reiterate the above three points in hopes of being more clear: Try adjusting the position of your tongue. ahhh”) Maintain the Deep Relaxed Mouth Position so you can still play a single note (Often times when students drop the jaw they loose their single note. The problem is that you’re teeth are too close together and you’re probably lifting the back of your tongue and it’s creating a slight jet stream with pulls the reeds into a bent position.

Are you a beginner or intermediate who is looking for an especially easy approach to getting good fast? Do you think it would be fun to play blues or some of your favorite songs with minimal practice? Then CLICK HERE for JP's Beginners Harmonica Lessons. A lot of times students suck (and blow) too hard when they are first learning and this only makes the problem worse. Comments (39) TOM REED Hi JP: thank you for the lower lip method for single note playing Reply JERRY howdy jp. jerry Reply . Try playing more softly and see if this helps. check to make sure you are still angling the harmonica into your lower lip or go back and make sure you are properly using The Deep Relaxed Mouth Position. Dropping the jaw is the key I would also recommend that you play at a moderate volume. If when you drop your jaw you can no longer play a single note. the world’s only 100% play-along harmonica video lessons. thanks a ton.wide as you can while still allowing the lips to maintain their seal on harmonica. i ordered one from musicians friends recentely along with other stuff so i could get free shipping so here i am. i’m looking foreward to learning some harp an your free lessons are great i will be a player/customer when i get the techniques down . JP Allen JP Allen believes that anyone can learn to play harmonica. i am a harp appreciative.

left box. Chris Reply JP ALLEN Great news Chris!! I’m glad to hear you’re getting a feel for it. Single hole hits are progressing. I just figured out how to play “The Rose” last night – one of my all time favorites. like anything else really. jp . enjoy! jp Reply KMOOREBEAST Where is how to play harmonica notes on here?!?!?! Reply JP ALLEN On the page. 4th down – “How to Play Single Notes”. jp Reply CHRIS I’ve been at it a week. I think it’s just a FEEL thing. JP ALLEN Great Jerry.

Reply JP ALLEN Hey Ed. 2. Adjust the position of your head by slightly looking up. 3. I know when I start producing a lot of saliva it’s from not knowing the riff or song really well.its make me hard to play it. here’s some suggestions: 1. Hope you can help me. Thanks Reply .. Reply ED Hey there when i get the harmonica deep inside my mouth and do the technique there will be a lot of saliva inside my mouth. jp Reply ED Hey there thanks i try that method actually i got another problem that is when i play harmonica and trying to hit single note and sometime succeed then problem is i dnt know what number or what hole i was blow or draw at for example if i at hole no 4 im not sure which hole is the no 6 ect.. Keep practicing until you know the riff real good. Adjust the harp by pulling it out slightly.can you help me how do i control my saliva. Thank you.

What am I doing wrong? Reply JP ALLEN Hi Dylan. I would encourage you to relax a little bit more. jp Reply DYLAN JP. It’s okay if you’re a little sloppy in the beginning while learning single notes. If you’re using the Deep Relaxed Embouchure. I’m having a lot of trouble bringing the corners of my lower lip together. If your lips are getting tight. as explained on this page and in more depth in “ My Video Lessons ” then your lips should not be getting tired. I’d rather you be RELAXED than develop the bad habits that come with tension (and trying too hard with the mind). When I try it. ONLY the lower lip very slightly contracts to bring the corners of the mouth SLIGHTLY closer together. JP ALLEN Just keep practicing at it Ed and check out my video lessons for more help. So please relax and enjoy yourself and you’ll get it in time… I PROMISE! – jp Reply . my upper lip gets tight.

AND IM ONLY 12 AND BETTER THEN MY TEACHER!!!! THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH Reply JP ALLEN Right on! Keep it up. TURKEY hey. and found it so hard blowing a single note. IM A GREAT PLAYER NOW. jp Reply LOLA I just got a harmonica as a gift yesterday. I tried your technique a couple of times and finally got the single notes right AFTER I dropped my jaw and relaxed my lips! thanks so much for sharing this. Reply JP ALLEN Right on Lola! jp Reply SAM hi Jp thank you verry much man for all these great lessons they are really awesome but i have a question i can’t hold the harmonica when i use the lip . I’ll keep on practicing until I’m great at it.

jp Reply MARLENE Okay thank you. So not sure what to do with that. i want to try to play. jp Reply BING FUTCH Thanks for getting me on track with single-notes. I only teach diatonic though. Reply JP ALLEN That would be a chromatic harmonica. which is a wonderful instrument. I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of your site! Reply . Just try moving your finger forward on the top plate making adjustments. my harmonica has a push slide on the end.blocking emboucure because my index finger will get in the way and knock out my lips from position so can you halp me please ? sorry for my bad english . Reply JP ALLEN That is a common problem with some.

JP ALLEN Great…I’m glad this article was helpful for you. I registered for your free lessons but I have a problem. Please help me. Yours sincerely. Glad you got it! jp Reply NICHOLAS Hey JP I am new to your harmonica lessons and I really want to learn. jp Reply EDWARD S. Something as simple as tilting the harp upwards changed everything!!!!!! Thank you!! Reply JP ALLEN It sometimes is just as simple as a turn of the wrist. Nicholas Reply JP ALLEN . The lessons don’t seem to work on iPad.

com/contact. Hey Nicholas. I’m going to pick up your DVD’s next week . please fill out this form so that we can help you directly: http://www.harmonica. jp Reply MICHAEL FLYNN Hey JP – great lesson. jp Reply GENESIS Thanks it was my first try and I did good Reply JP ALLEN Glad to hear that. I love Ode to Joy but my scales still sound like a cat being drowned. Thanks for all the freebies:) Reply JP ALLEN You got it Michael! jp Reply .

I think one is always learning. jp Reply MALCOLM Hi jp I purchased your lessons a week ago I am very pleased with my progress so far. I have your DVD set on playing harmonica. I started out as a U blocker. It is very good. U blocking just comes easy to me and I still use it. im on a weeks holiday at the moment so I have been able to watch and participate from lesson 1 through to 7 at least 3 times a day and im loving every minute of it I think your lessons are money well spent and im keeepin up with you all the way by the way that harmonic minor in A what a beautifull sound i loved it so much i went and bought one it came today im not going to play it untill i can put a tune together well thanks again J P ill let you know how i get on by for now malc . I encourage you to try my method as well and you will be able to use both at will. Thanks Tony Reply JP ALLEN U block definitely has it’s applications.i do have COPD and I am hopeing that taking up the harmonica helps me. I have been learning to play for 5 years now.i am 60 years old and I hope I havnt left it to late. that is how I first got the single notes. TONY STEPHENS Hi JP.

Thanks buddy Reply JP ALLEN You could be overblowing or even jp Reply SIDDHANT Hey Jp. and please contact us for the gypsy lesson using the A minor harp. I have trouble while playing single note that it sounds to airy. This is really cool stuff. Please go to my website and check out the free tutorials so you can work on your jet stream. jp Reply PRATEEK S . http://www. Enjoy.Thanks for this tips.The air to note ration u were talking about any suggestion on this.harmonica. I’m am so happy to hear you are enjoying the lessons and taking care of your COPD…harmonica has been said to help with this condition.Reply JP ALLEN Hey Malcom.

I’m happy you’re working with my single notes lesson.3 which is a little airy.. Tx PS Reply JP ALLEN Hey PS. I am learning the single notes with the pucker technique and doing okay except 2. Have fun! jp Reply Tell the harmonica world what you think. in it I go over the Deep Relaxed mouth position…I strongly encourage you to use this over the puckering technique.Hi JP I am a beginner currently owning Hohner 1501BX. Name * E-mail * Website . Feel free to move forward while often coming back to single notes and improving your skills. But wanted to know if learning the lip blocking technique is equally important? What should be my next target once the single notes are coming off okay? Ideally how long should i practise the single notes before moving forward? Please guide.. although it can be useful sometimes.

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