I got my first harmonica for Christmas, and I just today got around to devoting some time to it. It'sa Hohner Special 20 (in C).

I have no experience with breath instruments before this, so I assumed it'd be pretty tough. Well, it is haha. I so far have been just doing the major scale and Blowin in the Wind (very slowly) and it's pretty hard to get clean notes.

Any harmonica players here? Got any tips or good websites? I could use all the help I can get. I'm having a lot of fun learning it just for its sake, but ultimately I'd like to be able to play it along side my guitar. I'm in no rush, though, and don't want to develope bad habits.

the key to getting clean notes is the same theory as it is for guitar/stringed instruments


the way you mute a harp is to put your tongue flat against all the hole you want to mute, so only the one hole you want to blow/suck is open to allow air through

investigate "cross harp"

edit - i gotcha. i was under the impression that cross harp was a different kind of harp all together than a diatonic

invalid - edit - i gotcha. i was under the impression that cross harp was a different kind of harp all together than a diatonic

A brief explanation of "Crossharping"
Song Key-- Cross Harp-- Third Position













Diatonic harmonicas come in 12 different keys- one for each 1/2 step in a standard chromatic octave. If you play the harmonica in the key that it is labeled, you are playing straight harp or first position. You would be using mostly blow notes. This is the position that most of the "folk" type music is played , as well as being best suited for playing melody lines. To play cross harp (second position) you are playing the harmonica in a key other than the key in which the harmonica is labeled (using the chart above) The main reason for doing this is that the draw notes can be bent for more expression and to get your "blue" notes (flatted third, fifth, and seventh) which are not naturally present on the harmonica for the key in which it is labeled. This is the position that is mostly used for blues, rock, and country. In these styles the harmonica is usually not playing the melody, but is used to add fills and riffs that compliment and add to the music. So using this example, and depending on the style of music being played, if the song is in the key of G, you could play a G harp in first position, or a C harp in second position and both would "sound right" with the music. Of course the C harp could be made to sound more "bluesy" than the G, and would work better on blues, etc.


This is a good instructional site.

thanks man!