How to make your harmonica sound like a train

Jan 17, 2012 | Beginner Harmonica Lessons, Rhythm

This harmonica lessons is for complete beginners to see how to make the harmonica sound like a train. You are not a blues player until you can sound like a train!


In order to get that classic train sound on a harmonica you need to learn to use spoken syllables to shape the rhythm you play. You want to whisper two syllables on the in breath and two syllables on the out breath.

Nu-ka-tu-ka

You say nu-ka on the in-breath and say tu-ka on the out-breath.

Practice saying this away from the harmonica for a little while before sitting down with the harmonica. Start slowly until you can sustain it without tripping over yourself. When you can do this, gently start upping the tempo until it starts to sound more like a train.

The train horn sound

In order to get the sound of the train horn you play the three and a four hole draws at the same time. Playing two notes together at the same time is known as a double stop. Say Wah-wah as you are playing.

Practice playing double stops starting on the three/four draw moving up through the four/five blow and four/five draw.

Which harmonica to use

Although this technique will work on any harmonica it will sound better on a low-key harmonica such as A.

Other rhythms to try

ti-ka-ta-ka
ti-ka-ta-ti-ka-ta

So here you would be doing three syllables on the in-breath and three syllables on the out-breath.

Thank you

If you have any questions just send me a wee email.

Thank you so much for taking part in this lesson. I hope it was useful for you. If you enjoyed this lesson, please share it with your friends.

See you again for the next harmonica video!

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