Greetings from Germany

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    Hallo everyone,

    My name is Tony and I’m originally from Ireland but living in Germany the past 20 years. 8 years ago I started singing in a band, doing covers of Van Morrisson, The Band, Nina Simone,
    Santana, stuff like that. Now I’m writing and singing my own songs. Last year I tried the guitar but the bar chords killed me, and this year I had an impulse to buy a harmonica which I did
    6 weeks ago and then discovered Mitch in youtube and I’m very enthusiastic about this instrument. I have no idea about all the different models so I bought a hohner marine band cause
    I remembered seeing a photo of Neil Young with one when I was a child.
    I have no problem with the scale, the train and she’ll be coming round the mountain, but when I try the clown it’s a disaster, sounds like a deep voiced cat being strangled.
    Why is it that holes 1 & 2 are so difficult? When I play them individually I sometimes get a reasonable sound (though often I can blow or draw as much as I want and nothing happens).
    Did I just pick the one bad harmonica in the shop or are 1 & 2 difficult for everyone on every harp. Should I buy another model?
    Also what happens to me with the clown is that after three or four times up and down I run out of breath. Is that normal for a beginner?
    Haven’t got to bending yet but I guess that will be the next lesson and I’m very much looking forward to that.

    So I hope you’re all well and enjoying life. I’m very grateful to Mitch for having set all this up, cause it’s great to have support for the tricky parts.

    All the best



    Hi Tony,
    Welcome to the site.

    1 and 2 do seem to be a problem form many people. I somehow avoided it, but thats probably luck more than skill.
    I doubt the harp is to blame to be fair, but the great thing about harps are you can try other models for little investment. Especially compared to guitar. Hell, one ‘ok’ guitar will be the same cost as a whole set of top end harps.


    Hi Ian,

    Absolutely, on all counts. I’m presuming that it is me who needs to change and not the harmonica, but it’s always good to get confirmation, at least for me thats a great help.
    I’m getting something today by breathing in a strange way through the front of my mouth, which works easily when working on one hole only, but as soon as I start the clown movement
    that all breaks down. And yes I will definitely be making some good investments in the coming weeks.

    Thanks for your reply,
    Have a nice day


    Hank HamiltonHank Hamilton

    Welcome Tony from Germany,
    Yes, as Ian says, holes 1 and 2 can be a problem, especially at the beginning. Too often the harmonica is blamed and the real problem is that one must learn to “breath through the harmonica and not forcefully draw and blow through it. I remember having trouble with those holes early on; and also with the high notes of the harp. it’s about having an open throat; say “Ahhh” as you breath through the harp. Here is a link to a Liam Ward video in which he gives some good advice.

    I would bet that the problem is about breath control more than anything. But we would need to hear what it is that you are doing, what it sounds like. So here is a suggestion for you. Mitch put up a new Audio forum site about a month ago and it was done for just this purpose; to allow members to record and post examples of their playing and get valuable feedback from members and from Mitch himself.

    So. record what holes 1 and 2 sound like and upload it onto the audio forum for some quick advise.

    Hank Hamilton


    Hi Hank,

    thanks a mill for the link and advice about the audio forum. Will get that set up in the next couple of days.
    have to go on a long journey tomorrow so it’ll be early next week.

    Have a lovely weekend


    Hank HamiltonHank Hamilton

    Ok, Tony, Enjoy journey.

    In the meantime here are a couple of Youtube links you can check out regarding hole 2:

    This is Tomlin Leckie:

    This is (not sure who, good though):




    Hi Hank,

    I posted an audio this morning and am very interested to see what you can say about it.


    Hank HamiltonHank Hamilton

    Hi Tony, you got a couple of responses to your audio, from Henk and me, Hank.


    Hi Henk, Hi Hank,

    Just wanted to let you guys know that I started practising this evening, very slowly just breathing through holes 1-4 and after a while I could hear a difference.
    When I tried a bit faster I lost it again so I went back to slow and there it was again. Felt and sounded much better. So I’ll keep going very slowly forward.

    Thank you both again,


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