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How to Play Harmonica


Spring is here, and sunny days interchange with rainy days. Gloomy weather makes us melancholic, but blues can also be beautiful… and melodic! Let's learn how to play harmonica - the instrument that personifies the real man's sadness. This article will explain you the very basic features of this instrument, show you the basic techniques and give you an idea of how to play it.


Choose the instrument

You'd better start with 24-hole tremolo diatonic or chromatic harmonica. Ten-hole harmonica also known as blues harp is a good instrument to start with because that's the choice of the vast majority of musicians.

Hold it right

There is no rules for holding a harmonica, but it's commonly hold it your left hand and pressed diagonally between your thumb and index finger so that the small numbers go towards your left. Then, you want to use your right hand to block the holes. Some people use their tongues to play harmonica; others protrude their lips as if they are whistling, and press them to the holes.

Learn straight harp and cross harp

These are two basic ways of playing harmonica. This is also double-cross harp, but this technique is more complicated. To play straight harp, just blow into the 1st hole and you'll get the note that your harmonica is designed for. You can find this note on the cover. Thus, if you see the "C" mark, you'll get the C note when you blow into the 1st hole. When you play cross harp, you draw air in, not blow.

Learn tabs

Harmonicas are tuned to diatonic musical scale. You want to work out pure single tones. Once you feel you are good enough with that, you can start learning tabs. These are basically the scheme of playing songs that you can use to turn those random notes into real music. You'd better start with video tutorials though because tabs may seem tricky for a newbie. Find something that sounds like music for you and start practicing. Obviously, you want to start with something really simple because playing harmonica requires a lot of practice. Professional instructions would aid you tremendously, so make sure you bought one.

The best thing about harmonica is a lot of room for experimenting. Just play with the notes and figure out what sounds good.


Don't buy too cheap harmonicas

Seriously, what's the point in buying a $5 instrument that sounds bad just to save $10-15?

Don't play too much when you're just beginning your lessons

You might end up with a sore throat.

Don't borrow harmonicas and don't let other people play it

That's the instrument that you play with your mouth, so, needless to say, you want to make sure you are the only one who plays it. Besides, you should sanitize your harmonica right after you purchased it and repeat the process every once in a while.

Don't let your harmonica soak in water

It can damage the wooden comb.



Playing any musical instrument takes a lot of practice. Carry your harmonica with you wherever you go and play every time you have a chance. This tutorial will help you create the right atmosphere on the night train to South.

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