[Harp-L] Overblows

Jerome P. jersimuse@xxxxx
Fri Nov 16 08:14:32 EST 2018

Hey Joe, you're trying to ruin my legendary humility :D

I love your definition of what your paying a musician for !

In fact, I know many players who have done this work on timbre
homonigeneity & pitch precision.
I organize yearly training sessions in France, together with Sebastien
Charlier, and the guys we teach to have already done this work both on
bends & overblows.
Most of them are amateurs, they still have to work of course, but some have
extremely good results concerning those notes.
And at a certain point, bent notes become much more complex to be
controlled than overblows (both on timbre & pitch).

I'll reveal the secret for you.
A lot of harmonica players play the overblows in the same position as the
high bent blow notes, and they also force a bit with the stomach and/or the
throat to get them.
How do I know ? They have this specific timbre on the overblows, very
different than the one they have on draw bends.
The secret is to do the contrary : play the overblow in the same position
as the opposite draw bend & do not put any force.
Now the timbre is closer to the one of the draw bend, but the pitch is
probably too low.
Once you have done this, take a tuner and verify the pitch of both notes :
bend & overblow.
You have to find a tongue position which is exactly the same for both notes
(for example 4' and 4°) with perfect pitch for both, of course.
If you succeed, both pitch are perfect & the timbres are homogeneous.

I'll reveal another secret, just for you : I consider my harmonica composed
of natural & overnotes. That's all.
I exagerate a bit, I have two bent notes on my harp : 3' & 10'.
For all the other ones, I play either natural notes, or overnotes.
Bends don't exist, my friend ! and I can prove it ! :D

Thank you very much for your kind words !

Best regards,


Le ven. 16 nov. 2018 à 05:22, Joseph Leone <3N037 at xxxxx> a écrit :

> I always try to be charitable..IF I can. Or maybe diplomatic. Yes there
> may be occasions when a person uses overblows to show off.
> BUT I kinda see it this way. More than likely a person is using the
> overblows to show that they have paid their dues and in an ever
> increasing competitive world, these players are making a case that they
> have done the work and done the mileage to prospective gig
> providers. And therefore getting gigs through a display of (possibly)
> higher qualifications.
> See I have always believed that you are not paying a musician for WHAT
> they can do. You are paying them for EFFORT spent in practice
> time. Which in most cases amounts to years. And not just a couple hours of
> gig.
> In the 7 decades that I have listened to harmonica players, and keeping in
> mind that if the lifetime of harmonica was only one year, overblows
> didn’t (really) appear till Dec. 11th. I hear overblows and most of the
> time the timbre is like my left arm. It isn’t right and it isn’t fair. So
> to speak.
> But I certainly admire those who can pull it off. AND do it consistently.
> If I were ever to seek a player as an expert on overblows, there are a few
> right here on this list. But most fall short and should refrain from doing
> them in public until such time as they sound like a Jerome or ????
> The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love..and be loved in
> return. Play on. :)
> Love….smo-joe
> > On Nov 15, 2018, at 9:28 AM, Jerome P. <jersimuse at xxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > "A few use them to show off more than making music, though."
> >
> > I believe you but this is absurd : non harmonica players don't care, and
> > harmonica players now are aware it's not such a big deal.
> > Musicality is much more challenging (once the technical work has been
> done,
> > of course).
> > :D
> >
> > Le mer. 14 nov. 2018 à 20:08, The Iceman via Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx>
> a
> > écrit :
> >
> >> OB is used by different artists in different ways. There is no 1
> ultimate
> >> answer...I use them when they offer up a note choice not available in
> >> traditional bending techniques, no matter what "position" I may choose
> to
> >> play.
> >>
> >>
> >> A few use them to show off more than making music, though.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>

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