<Can anybody tell me what overblows are and how to play them?
  <What notes can you get with them, how do they sound, who uses
  <them, and most im  <portant of all how do you get them?
  <Bart de Boer.

Funny you should mention mention this. Issue No. 4 of HIP will be
all about overblowing.

An overblow is the opposite of a bend. On a diatonic harmonica,
bending lowers the pitch of the higher note in any given hole.
Overblowing raises the pitch of the lower note.

Let's take Hole 6 of a C harp as an example. G is the blow note,
A is the draw. A being higher in pitch, can be bent down to about
a semitone above the lower note - Ab in this case. G, being the
lower note, cab be overblown to about a semitone above the higher
note - Bb in this case.

           HOLE 6

            Bb <-- ---i
          ==========  |
          | A ---i |  |
DRAW      |      | |  |
          | Ab <-' |  |
          |________|  |
          |        |  |
          |        |  |
BLOW      | G -----+--'

Note that the overblow pops in at a much higher pitch - you don't
get the continuous smooth change in pitch that you get with

In the upper range, we have blow bends, and overdraws, because
the pitch relationship between blow and draw notes flips so that
the draw notes are lower instead of higher that the blow notes.

The best way to start overblowing is to play draw A in Hole 6,
blow. You may need to fiddle with it, and bear down a little
more, but chances are you'll be able to produce an overblow.

It helps to set the angle of the reed to the reedplate fairly
low, and it helps to have reasonably airtight harp. There is a
mystique around Golden Melody harps because Howard Levy uses
them, but this is blown way out of proportion (overblown?).

The most useful overblows are in Holes 3, 4 ,5 and 6, and
overdraws in 7 and 9.

They sound awful until you get them right. Properly played, you
can get a pure note, but ast first, you'll get both the regular
blow note and the overblow together, making a very rough sound.

Howard Levy is the most famous proponent of overblowing, although
its use on records goes back to 1929. Starting in 1969, he
cultivated the technique to a high degree of proficiency, and
went on to use it on the first 3 records by Bela Fleck and the
Flecktones, his own Harmonica Jazz album, and Kenny Loggins' Live
in the Redwoods, among many others.

The first two Hot Tuna records from 1968-1970 feature Will
Scarlett playing overblows in several positions on one G harp.

Many younger players are incorporating overblowing as a regular
part of their technique, just like bending. Michel Herblin from
France, Roland Van Straaten from Switzerland, and Carlos del
Junco from Toronto are some outstanding examples.

HIP NO. 4 will feature:

 - A history of overblowing

 - A scientific discussion, using REAL scientific research from
   Robert Johnson and Hank Bahnson (not speculation)

 - Tips and trick on choosing and setting up harps for good overblow

 - A review of Hank Bahnson's new Overblow Harp, which I'll also
   play on the optional cassette for Hip No. 4.

 - An extensive feature on Howard, including interviews, a
   discography, and a background bio and analysis of his
   technique. Space permitting, I may even do a solo

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