The most recognizable song in the English language 🤯

Yup! It’s Amazing Grace.

Estimated to be performed 10 million times annually, it’s the ultimate crowd pleaser to have in your back pocket because of its emotional power, popularity, and versatility. Let’s jump in…

This video assumes you know how to play single notes on harmonica. If you haven’t learned how to isolate notes yet, check out my lesson How to Play Single Notes for Beginners. 

Level1The Easiest Way
in 1st position

We can play Amazing Grace in 1st position on the harmonica without any bends, if we play it in the higher octave.

On a C harmonica, this may sound a little bit shrill, and might sound much sweeter on a low harmonica like a G harmonica.

Also, high draw notes can sometimes be problematic for beginners. Here are tips on getting nice clean high draw notes:

Let gravity lower your jaw so that it’s totally relaxed and in a nice “aw” vowel shape, your teeth should be far apart from each other 😮

Keep the back of your tongue down, like it is when you yawn. Make sure it’s not in the “Kk” zone (how your tongue is when you say a “Kk” consonant). 🥱

This may be the most important tip! Use a nice steady, GENTLE, airflow. Most beginners (and many intermediate and advanced players) use WAY too much pressure. 🌬️

Here are the harmonica tabs in C for Amazing Grace:

6 7 7     8 7 8   -8 7 -6 6  

6 7 7     8 7 8     -8 9 9  

8 9 9     8 7 8   -8 7 -6 6

6 7 7     8 7 8   -8  7

If you know how to bend, the -6 is a good note to add some soulful expressiveness with a bend. If you don’t know how to bend, you can try saying “oy” or “waoo” on the -6 and see what happens. 🤷🏻

Also holes 8 and 9 are great places to do little blow bends on the harmonica. You can try saying “tyuh” or “kyuh“.

Level2The Easiest Way
in 12th position

I think this is actually easier to play than Level 1 because it sits lower on the harmonica. The only reason this is Level 2 is just because it’s in 12th position, and harmonica positions are a subject that can be very confusing, especially for beginners. 😵‍💫

In a nutshell, “Harmonica Positions” can be defined as:

Using a harmonica to play in a different key 

from the key labeled on the harmonica. 

But what do we mean by “key”? 🔑

The KEY of a song is the note name that feels like 

the song’s home base – it’s place of greatest resolution

The Circle of Fifths is a helpful tool in understanding which keys correspond to which positions on the harmonica.

If we have a C harmonica and we’re playing in the key of C, we are playing in 1st position. 

👉🏼 If we move one space to the right, we are playing in the key of G, in 2nd position.

👉🏼 If we move one space to the right again, we are playing in the key of D, in 3rd position.

👉🏼 If we move one space to the right again, we are playing in the key of A, in 4th position

♻️ And if we go all the way around to the 12 position, we are playing in the key of F, and that’s the key we’ll be playing in for this rendition.

If you’re playing by yourself, none of this really matters. 😎

If you’re going to play with someone else though, you’re gonna wanna let them know you’re playing in the key of F if you’re using a C harmonica (or if you’re using a different key harmonica, the key up a 4th from the harmonica’s key label).

Here’s Amazing Grace harmonica tabs in 12th position:

4 -5 -5     -6 -5 -6    6 -5 -4 4

4 -5 -5     -6 -5 -6    6 7 7

-6 7 7      -6 -5 -6    6 -5 -4 4

4 -5 -5   -6 -5 -6    6 -5

Level3A Bit Tricky
1st Position Lower Octave

For Level 3 we have to do one bend, and it’s the -3” whole step bend and that’s why this one is a bit tricky. 🤔

But it’s just a passing note in the melody, so if we don’t get it quite right, it’s not the end of the world. And, other than that, this is a really easy place to play Amazing Grace on the harmonica because it’s nice and low in the register. 

So even if you don’t know how to bend yet, I recommend giving it a shot! 🙌 

Here are the harmonica tabs in C for Amazing Grace in 1st Position in the Lower Octave:

3 4 4      5 4 5     -4 4 -3” 3

3 4 4      5 4 5     -4 6 6

5 6 6      5 4 5     -4 4 -3” 3

3 4 4      5 4 5     -4 4 

Level4The Bluesiest Way
2nd Position Lower Octave

This is the hardest level because our tricky -3” bend is much more prominent in this version (compared to merely a quick passing tone in Level #3). 😱

Also we’re gonna switch back and forth between single notes and double stops, and add some bluesy vocabulary in the middle. 🙈

Here are the Amazing Grace harmonica tabs in 2nd position (key of G on a C harmonica):

-1 -2 -2     -3 -2 -3     -3” 34 23 -12

-1 -2 -2     -3 -2 -3     -3” -4 -4 

This is a good place to add a bluesy riff*

-3’ -3 -4 -4   5 -4 -3’ -3   -3” 34 23 -12

-1 -2 -2      -3 -2 -3      -3” 34 -23 -3” -12

*The moment after the 2nd line of tabs presents a good opportunity to flex a little bit 💪🏼 and add in some soulful bluesy improvisation. 😎

Here are some options to consider in order to get your creative juices flowing:

Option #1

As I’ve said many times before, in all my experience playing in front of people for 3 decades, nothing thrills a crowd as much as the -45 trill (aka “warble” or “shake” – alternating quickly between -4 and -5). This is a perfect moment to do it! 🎶

Option #2

Wanna flex a little bit more? After the -45 trill, you could come right down the blues scale in 2nd position, ending on the -1 like this:

6 -5 -4 -4’ 4 -3’ 3 -2” -1 -1’ -1

Option #3

Or, if you wanna get even fancier 👑 you could go into a 3rd position blues scale lick. Why?

In this moment of the melody the underlying chord is a V chord. (If you don’t know what that means, you can check out my harmonica chords lesson.)

Any time we are playing over a V chord is a great opportunity to bust into some 3rd position vocabulary. 

If you’re feeling tired of the same old 2nd position blues licks, this is a great way to get some fresh melodic content for your improvising. 🎶

Here’s the first 5 notes of the 3rd position blues scale: 

-4 -5 6 -6’ -6

If you’ve checked out my Blues for Beginners lesson, I talk about a couple of licks that I use all the time which I’ve labeled the “Question” phrase ❓and the “Answer” phrase. ✅

In that lesson, we explored those phrases in 2nd position, but we can also transpose those licks into 3rd position. Here’s 3rd position harmonica tabs for the “Question”:

❓ -4 -5 6 -6’ -6

And here’s 3rd position harmonica tabs for the “Answer”:

✅ -6 -6’ -5 -4 

So beginning by putting those two phrases together, we can heighten the sense of climax with some 3rd position blues harmonica vocabulary like this:

-4 -5 6 -6’ -6 -6’ -5 -4 6 -5 -4 -5 -4

And from there switch back into some 2nd position blues harmonica vocabulary like this:

-4’-3’  4 3 -3’  4 -4’ -4 -4’ -3’ -2

4 -3’ 3 -2” -1 -1’ -1

Regardless of how you may choose to bluesify this climactic moment of Amazing Grace, I do recommend that you consider ending either on the -1 or -4. Why?

This moment sort of “raises the question” in the melody (which is why it’s supported by the V chord).

✅ So we don’t want to provide resolution here (by ending on -2, 3, or 6). Instead, we want to create tension, and then have our return to the melody provide the resolution.

Play with this, and remember: HAVE FUN! 😎

I hope you’ve found this lesson on how to play Amazing Grace on harmonica to be helpful. Please leave any questions or comments below. 👇🏼

Don’t miss out on hearing LT Smooth sing this song! Check out this video of us performing the whole song together:


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