Author Topic: Hole 8 struggles  (Read 1755 times)


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Hole 8 struggles
« on: June 01, 2016, 02:53:02 PM »
Complete beginner here.
firstly I'm sorry. I'm sure this has been asked a million times, but I actually did quite a lot of searching and never found an experience that truly matched mine while at the same time finding several different answers, which just confused me further. Alright.

So I bought a harmonica. they didn't have a special 20 in the shop so I went for a Hohner Big River Harp instead on the clerks recommendation.

watched some videos on youtube, but noticed I had issues drawing hole 2, 7 and 8. But Mostly 7. Despite reading that it was typical for beginners to blame harmonica for lack of technique, I still came to the conclusion that there surely had to be something wrong with the harmonica's hole 7 cos I was completely unable to get it to make sound, so I returned it. They told me it would take 20 days to RMA it, and I was just getting really into it so I decided to buy another meanwhile assuming that I wouldn't have issues with that too. So I picked up another, this time a Special 20 (which is more pleasant to play, due to not having a sharp edge right in the mouth area. Seems like a weird design choice for the Big River Harp)

Now on the special 20 I've become a little smarter on technique and am able to get sound out of both 2 draw and 7draw. It takes more air than 3-6 draw but it's possible. However 8 is a mystery to me. I can't get any sound out of 8draw the way I play the rest of the holes. (my technique is to eat the harmonica, then gradually narrow my mouth opening until I get a single tone. I've been recommended to rotate the hole openings down into my lower lip as much as possible, but also reading the opposite, to keep the openings perpendicular to the direction of air, which seems contradicting to me.

I'll be in the middle of a tune and as soon as I go to 8 draw it just makes a creaky wind noise, like a draft through an old house.
I read as much as I could and found many different suggestions but discovered that when I tried a little and just focusing on 8 draw I could get it to make some noise by eating the Harmonica some more (deeper in my mouth nom nom) and relaxing my tongue (I think) but anytime I jump to 8 draw directly after another hole it just gives me wind noise. Furthermore if I then focus on 8 draw and go to another hole with the mouth shape that gave me sound on 8 draw. I don't get single tone on the other holes anymore.  I tried consciously changing my mouth shape for 8 draw specifically but it's awkward, a lot of work and in the end I still barely get any sound out of 8 draw and it eats up all my breathe.

furthermore 8 draw and 9 draw always takes half a second or so before it starts making sound and it takes so much air/breath to just make a little bit of sound compared to the other holes.

I'm really looking forward to getting the replacement for the Big River harp so I can compare the 2 and see if there is/was a difference or if it was just my lack of technique that gave that.

I hope someone can tell me what I should do and what I might be doing wrong.

ps. Bonus question, why is hole 5 blow and draw so much louder than the rest at the same amount of blow/draw pressure?