I’m going to show you the #1 easiest harmonica secret for getting a rich bluesy tone, and that’s by learning the correct mouth position right from the start!
Learn the Deep Relaxed Mouth Position
Now if you’re wondering what to do next, fill in your email address in the box below to sign up to receive 3 free lessons from me that will help you to deeply reinforce this great habit while we play awesome songs together.
Sign up to receive 3 free lessons!
The #1 mistake that beginning harmonica players make is playing with tense lips, and with the harmonica too shallow in the mouth. A lot of harmonica players and harmonica teachers use the word “pucker” to explain their technique for playing the harmonica. If you’re going to give someone a kiss, go ahead and pucker up, but if you want to play the harmonica like a boss, then add the word “pucker” to your list of bad words!
Mouth Position for Playing Harmonica
The pucker method might get you to play a single note quickly, but the tone is weak and airy without the proper lip seal on the harmonica. It’s kind of like shooting yourself in the foot.
Many intermediate players, some who have even been playing for years, find themselves frustrated, unable to play single notes accurately with a nice rich tone, and become discouraged when they try to learn how to bend. (Bending is that wailing, crying, soul-stirring sound that has made the harmonica so famous.)
You may also have heard teachers talk about “Tongue-Blocking.” This technique also has its merits. Farther down the road it’s worth exploring, I just don’t want you to experience unnecessary pain and frustration that could make you give up before you realize how fun and easy it is to play the harmonica.
Here is the quickest, easiest, and most fun path to sounding great on the harmonica.
Dr. Eddie’s Journey
A good friend of mine Dr. Eddie, had been playing harmonica for a couple years, and even performing in front of people. He asked me for help with bending one day, and I quickly saw he was playing with tight lips and with the harmonica too shallow in his mouth. Because he’d been playing for a long time, I knew it was a deeply ingrained habit that wouldn’t change easily, so I advised him to try my course, Beginner to Boss. (I knew this could help him “un-learn” his bad habits, and develop new habits because I teach 27 lessons mastering just the Deep Relaxed Mouth Position before learning to isolate notes with lip blocking, and then 51 lessons isolating notes with lip blocking before learning how to bend.)
Sure enough, Dr. Eddie went through my course, and now he has a really beautiful, rich, and soulful tone. When I asked him about his experience going through the course he said, “Well, I can say this: now I really feel like a harmonica player, and I never did before.”
The point of all this is not just to convince you to purchase my course, but to illustrate the power of developing great habits, right from the start. These great habits become the rock solid foundation upon which you can build when you’re ready to go to the next level.
The 5 Steps to Success
Make sure the numbers are facing up, so the lowest pitch is on the left. Hold the harmonica with either hand, on the side of the harmonica. This is not the advanced hand technique but will make things easier for now (first things first.)
Moisten and relax the lips.
Place the harmonica deep in the mouth, and rotate the back-side of it up toward the ceiling so that the part inside the mouth angles down into the moist inner-part of the lower lip.
Ensure that your upper lip is deep over the harmonica as demonstrated in this picture. You can use a mirror or a cell phone in selfie mode to double check this.
This is the most important step which will guarantee that you are in the correct mouth position: unfold the bottom lip. Reach up with your index finger and pull down on your lower lip to ensure that it is untucked. It should loosely bounce against the bottom of the harmonica when you pull on it.
Congratulations! If you have only learned this one thing today, you have made your visit to our site worth your while and have created the foundation for learning harmonica the right way! Woo hoo!
If you want to turbo-charge your path to harmonica mastery, check out my course Beginner to Boss.
Feel free to leave a comment or question below!