If you blow or draw on a C-major harmonica you can only play the C-major scale tones: c, d, e, f, g, a b, c) , thus your performance will be rather limited.
To produce the missing half tones (d-flat, e-flat, g-flat, and so on) you have to exhale or inhale in a special way. This technic is called bending .
Lets give it a try – whilst drawing in on hole 4, touch the tip of your tongue on your lower teeth, then, pull it back slowly as if you were whistling. This would be similair to
saying “eeeuuuuuuuuu” or sucking juice through a straw (beer will do just as fine).
It should look like this:
- there is no need to inhale too hard, just pay attention so the harmonica is held properly (don’t play with the edge of your lips) – also try holes 1 to 6
Bending on holes 7 to 10 are performed exhaling.
To have a better grasp of the technique
use the virtual harmonica.
Now that we know what bends are, its time to put them into practice.
Let us test the scale of C , but this time, thanks to bends, on all three octaves.
Some short riffs to work on bending techniques:
For more exercises click « here«