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Harmonica Tips for Cleaning and Care

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  • How to clean your harmonica

    • Always remove the excess moisture from the harmonica after playing, do this by tapping it on the palm of your hand and wiping it clean with a lint free cloth.
    • You should play with a clean mouth to avoid food particles or saliva from getting into the harmonica.
    • Always let you harmonica dry completely and air out before putting it back into the case.
    • For Comfort and Playability plastic and metal combs are the best, they are much easier on the lips than a harmonica with a wooden comb.
    • Also for durability, metal and plastic hold up better because wood combs will absorb moisture and began to expand, twist and warp.

    Common Difficulties

    There are several common difficulties that you may experience when learning to play the harmonica. For example, draw 1,2 or 3 may sound muted, airy, distorted, or flat. Other notes many sound shrill, unclear or might not play at all. Many players assume that there is something wrong with the harmonica. However, it is usually an improper playing technique that is causing the problem. You can overcome these problems with practice and by learning correct playing technique, correct positioning of the tongue/oral cavity and developing proper breath control.

    Difficulty with 2 & 3 draw notes is the most common problem. Beginners and even some experienced players may have problems with the 2 & 3 draw. This is because the 2 & 3 draw reeds BEND more than the other draw reeds. Bending is an advanced playing technique that occurs when we constrict the air flow. This results in varying tones and notes, delivering greater musical expression. Bending notes does not refer to bending the reeds physically.

    What makes a bend happen? And what governs whether or not a reed will bend and by how much? Each chamber shares two reeds, a blow and a draw reed, which interact with each other. When the two reeds are more than a semitone apart, the higher pitched of the two reeds, as in the draw hole #2 and draw #3 (with proper technique) will produce the bent note, or notes.

    However, when a beginner constricts the air flow too much by using improper technique, the note will sound muted, airy, distorted or flat because they are bending the reed accidentally.

    The Tips under Common Difficulties are courtesy of LEE OSKAR HARMONICAS.

    Follow these simple tips and have fun harp'in!

    For more Tips see Beginners!

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