Re: [Harp-L] Note bending technique
The last mini-keyboard I purchased at Radio Shack cost me $50. And I'm sure
you can find one for $100 or under. (Some even have songs built into them in a
couple of keys -- good for playing along with.)
But having one of these inexpensive keyboards means you can match notes on
your harmonica with the board when you are trying to get your bent note on
In order to do this you need to know your harmonica layout and keyboard
Blow 1 = C (to left of two black keys on piano)
Draw 1 = D (between two black keys on piano)
Draw bend 1 Db (aka C#) the left black key of the two black keys on the
In other words, the bent notes are the notes between the blow and draw reeds
on the same hole. You can see them on the piano keyboard.
Blow 2 = E (white note to right of two black notes on piano
Draw 2 = G (white note between first and second of three black notes on piano
1st Draw bend half-step = F# (first black note of three black notes)
2nd Draw bend full step = F (white key left of three black notes)
Blow 3 = G
Draw 3 = B
Find those notes on piano; the notes between B and G (Bb, A, Ab) are the bent
Blow 4 = C
Draw 4 = D
Just like Blow 1 and Blow 2, the draw bent note is Db/C#.
Blow 5 = E
Draw 5 = F
Look at your piano; E and F are the two white keys between the two blacks and
three blacks. There is no note between them. So there is no bent note. You
can get a sound -- often called a quarter-step bend that is not a "real" note.
Blow 6 = G
Draw 6 = A
The draw bent note is Ab.
Knowing where to find these harmonica bent notes on the piano and recognizing
them can make it easier to learn to hit those bends dead center on pitch.
For those who don't play blues, simply learning how to play the F note on
Draw 2 and the A note on Draw 3 will enable you to play the melodies that you now
play on holes 4-7 and above (and avoid the "tweety" notes.
To practice the first octave bends, simply play the scale up and down until
you can play it in tune. Hint: it is the same as in holes 4-7.
Hope this helps.
In a message dated 11/6/08 9:33:31 AM, IcemanLE@xxxxxxx writes:
> How many of you understand that when you bend a note to the "floor" (my
> label for that place where the note bends down to the "max" and won't go
> lower) the actual pitch is almost 1/4 tone flat? This is very similar to
> the 5 hole inhale and bending it downwards.
> One wouldn't want this lowered pitch to represent the sound of 5 hole
> for most situations involved w/melodic line reproduction if you are
> concerned with in/out of tune.
> The same may be said for all those notes created through bending
> OB's are even more evident, as you really need to tweak your technique to
> pull them closer to true pitch.
> If you are strictly a blues player, this phenomenon is not so critical to
> the music. However, with the new wave of players expanding the diatonic
> other areas of music, it is an important consideration.
> For example, 4 hole inhale bend - when you achieve proper pitch and sustain
> it, you should have room below to bend further downwards - exactly the same
> note placement as playing 5 hole inhale with the ability to bend this
> downwards. However, this is quite a finesse point and takes sensitivity and
> awareness to first of all understand this and second of all to develop the
> technique to feel this one out. Most players seem to bend down to the max,
> the "floor" as a resistance and using this as a guide of where to place the
> If this maximum bending is considered a "floor", try to PLACE this note (or
> float it) about 1 foot above the floor. Using some sort of pitch meter to
> visualize may be helpful at first to grasp this concept.
> The Iceman
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