[Harp-L] tongue blocking fifths on diatonic harmonicas

Winslow Yerxa winslowyerxa@xxxxx
Tue Aug 30 16:33:35 EDT 2016

Everybody's tongue is different, and you may not be able to isolate a single diatonic hole with the tip of your tongue (or especially with the broad surface).

What works for me individually to isolate a single hole is to point the tip of my tongue upward and use the narrow cord-like muscle that runs along the underside of the tongue to block that one hole. 

For really wide blocks, I use the top surface of the tongue as it's pliable, moist, won't poke into the holes and cuase drag, and will easily cover several holes.

To block 2 holes, I find the tip of the tongue works fine. Any wider and the tongue start pointing down. Any narrower and the tongue starts pointing up.

But that's just me.
Winslow Yerxa
Producer, the Harmonica Collective
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, Second Edition: ISBN 978-1-118-88076-0
            Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
            Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Expert, bluesharmonica.com
Instructor, Jazzschool Community Music School
President emeritus, SPAH, the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica

From: Sheltraw <macaroni9999 at xxxxx>
To: Rick Dempster <rickdempster33 at xxxxx> 
Cc: harp-l <harp-l at xxxxx>; Hannes Schneider <hannes.schneider.23 at xxxxx>
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2016 8:51 PM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] tongue blocking fifths on diatonic harmonicas

Lately I have been working on tongue blocking for playing dyads too. I usually play the two notes separately before attempting to play them together. This way you clearly hear what your target sound is before attempting to play it. I think Winslow may have taught me this. Winslow?


Sent from my iPhone

> On Aug 29, 2016, at 3:47 PM, Rick Dempster <rickdempster33 at xxxxx> wrote:
> Make your tongue into a point and place it in the hole to be blocked.
> RD
> On 30 August 2016 at 02:32, Michael Rubin <michaelrubinharmonica at xxxxx>
> wrote:
>> Get a four hole spread octave on holes one and four by blocking 2 and 3.
>> Move your tongue slightly right and close the left side of your mouth by
>> one hole's width.
>> That is the fifth in 2 draw and 4 draw.  Learn that shape.
>> Hope that helps.
>> Michael Rubin
>> michaelrubinharmonica.com
>> On Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 10:26 AM, Hannes Schneider <
>> hannes.schneider.23 at xxxxx> wrote:
>>> Ever since I got Richard Hunter's solo harmonica CDs and listened to Sam
>>> Hinton on Youtube I've been wanting to learn how to play like that. The
>> one
>>> thing that consistently eludes me is how to tongue block the middle hole
>>> out of three to play (mostly) fifths. Any help in learning how to get
>> there
>>> would be greatly appreciated ...
>>> thanks
>>> hannes

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