How to play a glissando on harmonica and 3 licks

Apr 5, 2017 | Advanced Beginner Harmonica Lessons, Licks, Technique

This week’s harmonica lesson looks at how to play a glissando on the instrument. I have also included three example licks for you to play. You can download the free transcription of them by clicking the button below.

You will need a harmonica in the key of C.




What is a glissando?

A glissando is a continuous slide between two notes either on an inhale or an exhale. You need to move the harmonica in one fluid motion making sure that you don’t linger on any notes.

You need to be really aware of what note you are aiming for on the instrument. Try playing this note before you attempt to slide up or down to it. This will give you an idea of the pitch you are aiming for and will help you stop in the right position.

Audio Clips

Lick 1

Lick 2

Lick 3

Move your hands

As usual, make sure you are moving your hands with the harmonica rather than holding the harmonica still and moving your head. This way you will be much more accurate.

Practice each lick slowly

Try practicing each of the three licks slowly with a beat (use a metronome if you can) before you speed them up. Also try to play the glissando slowly at first to make sure you are passing through each note evenly.

If your lips get stuck

It is very common to feel dry and get stuck to the front of the harmonica. To counteract this try licking your lips and if that does not work then you can apply a very small quantity of vaseline to the front of the harmonica or your lips. Don’t use to much otherwise you might gunk up your instrument!

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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