When starting out with anything, we all do some mistakes. What if I told you that I can take care of some of your mistakes ahead of time and shave time off YOUR harmonica learning curve by learning from someone else's mistakes? Here are the 7 things I wish I knew earlier about harmonica that could have saved me a ton of time for getting better faster.
* Some of the How-To links here are for instructional videos I filmed for the Guitar Songs Masters YouTube channel. These videos are short & to the point and do a good job, but if for some reason the technique is still not clear, feel free to search around YouTube for more videos on the topics – there's definitely no shortage of 'em.
1 – How To Hold The Harmonica Correctly.
This is the number one thing to learn in order to start sounding good, so make sure you get it right. When you are not holding and cupping the harmonica correctly, you are losing tone and resonance – so watch a video that will get you started.
Watch video: Proper Harmonica Holding ~ Getting “The Soundbox Resonation”
2 – Don't Settle For Cheap Harmonicas.
Harmonicas are cheap instruments in general. When you can get the top-of-the-line “flagship” harmonicas from the best manufacturers for less than 40$, I don't see any reason not to spend those couple of extra bucks to get the best.
Those cheapo 10$ piece-o'-shit harps are taking away the fun, causing you to play less time and essentially making your progress slower! They are less responsive, they do not last as long, they get out of tune faster, and overall are just not as fun to play.2 – Don't Settle For Cheap Harmonicas.
Don't settle. Great harmonicas are cheap anyways.
Read: Best Beginner Harmonica – Which Harmonica Is The Best For Beginners?
3 – For Guitarists: Get A Harmonica Holder And Just Nosedive Into it!
Playing 2 instruments together is really not as hard as you think – the guitar and the harmonica are a natural match… Pick a 4 chord tune and just start going at it. You will see that soon enough, with some practice, you're gonna sound great! Holders can cost as little as 10$ so you've got nothing to lose. They also fold to fit easily inside any guitar case.
Click here for a wide variety of harmonica holders to choose from.
4 – That Adding A Vibrato Effect Is Easy As Pie…
One of the cool effects you can easily get out of the harmonica is the “Vibrato” effect. With the guitar – vibrato is about pulling the string up and down – with the harmonica it's simply about rapidly opening and closing the “cup” that your hands are forming. Watch the video below and start implementing it yourself.
Watch video: The VIBRATO Harmonica Technique
5 – That Bending Is Not As Hard As I Thought (Although It's definitely Trickier Than The Vibrato).
Bending is the technique that will give you the Bluesy vibes probably more than any other technique.
Watch video: This'll show you the basics of bending in 7 minutes.
6 – That Once You Learn And Memorize The Notes Everything Makes Much More Sense!
When you learn and memorize the notes everything becomes much easier. By doing this, you will understand the 3 octave structure of the diatonic harmonica, you will be able to know the notes in different harmonicas in different keys (by remembering the relative scale degrees), understand how to finish songs/solos with the perfect note, and much more. It's also a great introduction to music and guitar theory!
Here's a good chart to start with:
7 – That There Are Good Websites That Can Teach You Harmonica From A-Z For Cheap.
After a few weeks of doodling around when I got my first harmonica, I found HarmonicaAcademy and really jump started my harmonica journeys. I later went on and created a course by myself that I believe is even a better version of the harmonica course that I used myself. You can check it out at HarmonicaJamz.com
That's it. I am inviting you to take advantage of my mistakes.
Peace and thank you for reading!
If you are still on the fence about getting a harmonica – read this:
If you still do not have a harmonica – read this: