8 tips for how to bend on harmonica

Jun 7, 2017 | Advanced Beginner Harmonica Lessons, Technique

Today’s harmonica lesson looks at how to bend for complete beginners or people who are struggling with this technique. I am using a harmonica in C.


1) Tilt Bend

Literally what it sounds like. You play the 4 hole draw and maintain it while tilting the harmonica up.

2) eee-ooo

Make the sound ‘eee’ when you are playing a normal note and slowly transition to ‘ooo’ to initiate the bend.

3) Strong muscular tongue

You do not want your tongue to be flapping around in your mouth. It needs to be strong and muscular.

4) Don’t pull too far back

If you keep pulling your tongue too far back then you might hit the bend and slide off of it. Slow down and listen to what you are playing. If you hear a bend you should stop moving rather than continuing to pull back.

5) Keep the harmonica tipped up

Whenever you are playing harmonica, not just when bending, it is good to have it slightly tilted up. This means that your top lip will be covering quite a lot of the top cover plate and your bottom lip will be covering a little of the bottom cover plate.

6) Don’t play harder

Bending on the 4 hole is not a feat of strength. You should be able to bend with the same amount of air as normal.

7) Don’t drop your jaw

Although you are using vocalisations you want to make sure that your jaw does not move, only your tongue.

8) Keep tongue facing forward

Keep the tip of your tongue pointing forwards.

12 Easy 12 Bar Blues Course

If you are a relative beginner to harmonica and want some learning some key blues techniques such as chugging, bending, warbles and other things then you will want to check out my 12 Easy 12 Bar Blues Course.

The course lasts 12 weeks and each week you will learn a new 12 Bar Blues Tune introducing new techniques and styles.

Click here to find out more.

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See you again for the next harmonica video!

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