More bending questions

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  • #2949
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Hi i got a hohner special 20 and a Lee Oskar today. I’m enjoying both of these and gradually starting to get the notes to bend. Ive been just doing slow draws and gradually practicing bending the notes. But i have been noticing that mostly on the 2 draw that after a while i need to draw a little harder and it almost feels out of tune sometimes. I tap my harmonica out on my leg and palm of my hand regularly but i was just curious can bending the notes too much damage the reeds or put them out of tune?

    #2951
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Hey Dave,

    It sounds like in your case, you may be accidentally bending the 2 hole a little, if this is the case, that would make the note sound out of tune and drawing harder seem necessary. See the end of my #2 video, to help you get a clean 2 draw note.. then try bending in a relaxed fashion using the jam trax in steps 5 – 7 for reference.

    In answer to the other part of your question, It is possible to weaken the reeds and put them out of tune if you are continually bending with A LOT of force. If you’re bending in a relaxed way (as you should) then a new special 20 or Lee Oskar should last you years, no matter how many times you bend a note.

    Hope that helps.. let us know!

    Mg

    #2952
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Mitch thanks so much for yr reply. I think i was just bending the note too far its sounding better today. Good to know that if i just play relaxed my harmonicas should last a little while.
    Just another question. I know there are replacement reeds available but they really arent that much cheaper than just buying a new harmonica. Do u ever replace reeds or do u just buy a new one?
    Thanks again for yr help.

    #2957
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Hey Dave,

    I don’t replace reeds. However, I will tune them if they go a little sharp, or flat, but this is an experience thing, knowing when a harmonica can be saved by tuning, or not.

    Generally speaking though, if a reed is more than a semi tone out of tune, it’s kaput..

    One thing i DO recommend is keeping all your broken harmonicas. They are great for practicing maintenance on…

    #2958
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    And, another good trick is to simply combine the reed plates from 2 broken harmonicas to make 1 good one . This works when one harmonica has a broken draw reed, and the other has a broken blow reed.. all you need to do is unscrew the reed plates and put the 2 working reed plates into one harmonica. I do this regularly with special 20’s.

    Cheers!
    Mg

    #2959
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Mitch… Thats a great tip using the reeds to make one good harmonica. I was just looking online and a few places already stock them but generally replacement reeds seem to need to be ordered in but a brand new harmonica is in stock most of the time thats why i asked. Great tips tho thanks Mitch 🙂

    #3018
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Mitch,

    I also seem to get lots of problems with the 2 hole draw and bend in a new harp. I was beginning to wonder if I had broken a new special 20 in C. I can bend and draw the same hole in an A special 20 fine. Now I am just a beginner on harp but I am a blues pianist so I had been practising my draws against a keyboard to see where I was at in terms of semitones to improve my notes and ear. Have I bust it? If so can I tell by removing the covers. Can I fix it ie is it the air gap. I used to restore harmoniums and they are just giant mouth organ really. I know I could well bust it but I only have myself to blame.

    Any advice welcome.
    Great videos by the way but couldnt find any jam tracks.

    #3023
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Mitch, Have been going at the harmonica for a couple of months and am able to get the bends on the 1,3,4, and 6, still practising the 2, can get it but not consistently. At the moment I can only get one bend on the 2 and 3. Have you got any tips, or whats the technique to get the semi tone bends on the 2 and 3.
    Loving the course.
    JD

    #3031
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Hey Jon and JD,

    It’s all about the ears. I have similar answers for both of you.

    First Jon, it’s really hard for me to say if you’ve broken the harp without hearing the sound you are producing. If you can record a snippet and attach it to a forum post here, i’ll take a listen and tell you what I hear. Unfortunately, just opening the harmonica up will not tell you much without putting a magnifying glass over the reed and looking for fractures or blockages around the perimeter, where it vibrates.

    And, JD, it really helps to hear the bends you are going for in your mind. Listen to the jam/example tracks a few times, then slowly go for the bends. Another tip is, if you can get control over a long slow bend on those holes first, that can help get you closer to defining the different notes.

    🙂

    Ps. Jon, Jam tracks kick in at Step 4 for straight harp and Step 10 for cross harp (blues).

    #3036
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks for the prompt reply and advice. That’s great. Thanks for the offer to listen but I wont waste more of your time. I have just got a new C harp and I can draw the 2 hole in tune.
    I am certain I bust the last one. Running before I can walk and got carried away.
    In future I will treat my harps with more respect and less force. Cant afford too many replacements.

    #3506
    AvatarPhil Todd
    Member

    Hi Guys
    First of all Mitch many thanks for the course, its really good.
    Can I ask a quick bending question, I’m pretty new to Harmonica – I’ve prob only been playing about a month now and only getting into bending for a few weeks.
    I’ve kinda got some bending on the draw holes but I can’t to figure out how to progress beyond the semitone bends into the whole tone on 2 let alone the tone and a half on 3.
    Is there any trick to doing it or does it just come with time and practice?
    Also that kinda leaves me stuck on step 7 – should I stay there until I master whole tone bends or is it ok to move on and look at other stuff while I’m still trying to get the hang of all the bending?
    If anyone can advise I’d be most grateful.
    Many Thanks

    #3512
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Hey Phil,

    Only being able to get down to the semi-tone bends can be for a couple of reasons.

    1. You just don’t quite have the right technique or feel yet.. and yep that is just a practice thing.
    2. You are trying to hard (tense) and actually chocking the air supply, which makes deeper bending hard. In this case, just relax, take a few deep breaths and see how you go.

    Relaxation really is the key to good playing!! As for moving on through the course, by all means move ahead but you really can’t just skip those bends. You definitely need them to play the blues scale and much more.. so keep them in your practice everyday until it clicks!

    Cheers!
    Mg

    #3534
    AvatarPhil Todd
    Member

    Hi Mitch thanks for replying, I’ve looked further down the course and your right I really need my bends working before proceeding – some of the stuff I wanted to look at like vibrato and trills are a bit too far ahead for me to skip to.
    I’m keeping working on it most days
    I’ve also begun to suspect that my mega cheap swan harmonica is not really up to scatch I know I’ll need to upgrade but at this stage I’m not quite ready to spend massive amounts.
    What do you think of fender blues master harmonicas, if anything? I could get them one for about £10-12 which is about what I’m looking to spend at this stage…
    I know from guitar playing fender are generally reputable and I wouldn’t imagine they’d put anything too shabby out just wondered if you had experience of them?
    Thanks

    #3535
    AvatarPhil Todd
    Member

    Sorry that should be Fender blues delux the blues master is someone else…

    #3537
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Hey Phil,

    Sounds like a good plan to upgrade. Some of the cheaper harmonicas can definitely slow you down.

    I’ve not played one of those Fender harmonicas yet unfortunately but It’s possible that’s a good deal though, as Fender are new to the harmonica market, and could be pricing lower in order to gain customers. For that price I think it’s worth a shot.

    If you do give it a go, let us know what you think!

    Mg

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