I’m so stoked to teach you the best way to how to hold a harmonica because it’s not that hard to learn and it’s going to make you sound awesome. First check out this fun hand trick video, then read the rest of the page for more detailed technique info…
The Two Handed Grip
Now, I will teach you the two handed grip! In the two handed grip, you hold the harmonica with one hand, and use the other hand for hand effects (which we will discuss later in this lesson). This grip is kind of tricky at first, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it with some practice.
The grip I will teach in this lesson is considered a right-handed orientation. I generally recommend left-handed people to also use the right-handed grip because it makes it easier to get deeper “wah wah” sounds on the lower notes (more on this technique later). However, there are no set rules, and if you feel that you are more comfortable with a left-handed grip, go for it!
Right Handed Grip
Step 1: Make a “C” shape with your left hand, keeping your first finger and thumb parallel
Step 2: Hold the harmonica in your left hand, as far back as possible. Secure it between your thumb and forefinger as shown
Step 3: Align the tip of your left pinky with the top crease of your right pinky
Step 4: Cup your hands together while holding the harmonica, and try to create an airtight seal with your right hand. Make sure there are no gaps!
If you have large hands You can wrap your right thumb and fingers around the harmonica.
You can also use this to produce a muted tone
To produce bright tones, just open your hands
You will also notice in the last picture that I wrap my right thumb around the front of the harmonica. This allows me create a better seal, and gives me more control while doing hand techniques. I usually keep my thumb in that position in both open and closed hand positions. I can quickly move it out of the way when playing high notes.
A Simple Hand Technique in Action!
Here’s a simple exercise to practice opening and closing your hands:
Downward Arrow = Draw
Upward Arrow = Blow
(1,2) = Play holes 1 and 2 AT THE SAME TIME.
You should feel relaxed and comfortable while holding the harmonica with this grip. I would encourage you to use my suggestions as a starting point, and then feel free to experiment with this grip so that you feel comfortable.