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Harmonica Lessons: Bend Simply: Introduction

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Well this is what a lot of
you have been waiting for
if you've made it through
the beginner part of this course.
And are chomping at the bit to.
Learn how to bend notes cuz that's why
most people are attracted to the diatonic
harmonica is for the note bending and
the bluesiness of it all.
So I'll try to explain this to you.
And when I first bought my
first harmonica, for $2.25 at.
Manny's Music on West 48th Street,
in New York in 1903, I think it was.
It cost 5 cents.
I know I look a lot younger than that,
but I've been around for a while.
I started messing around on it,
and I have a friend who played very well,
and I went over to his house.
I took took the subway over there and
I said, "Okay--" Got my harmonica,
now teach me how to bend.
He say, well, I can't really teach you.
I said, what do you mean?
You can do it.
He said, well,
it's just stuff inside my mouth.
I'm just doing this stuff with my tongue,
and I can't really describe it to you.
Well thanks a lot.
[LAUGH] I thought you could teach me.
And he said yeah,
you're just gonna have to teach yourself.
And I walked around for months
without being able to bend the note.
I, maybe I thought I
could bend a little bit.
And I couldn't.
So I'm gonna try to help you guys, and
show you exactly what you
have to do to bend a note.
I'm going to start with the first hole.
And the way that note bending works is
just a little bit of the theory behind it.
Remember I was telling you that of
the first six holes in the harmonica,
the draws are higher than the blows.
Well the way the bends work,
is that you bend.
The higher pitch note on a hole down
to just above the lower pitched note.
It's a very exact thing how
far you can bend a note.
It's not some sort of approximate thing.
It's a very exact, and
the two reeds interact with each other.
So I'll just bend a note.
And then I'll explain to you,
try to teach you how.
So, the first hole, we have two notes.
We have a C on the blow.
D on the draw.
this is what it sounds like when you bend.
I'm bending it back and forth, and
there's the shark from Jaws
is swimming towards you.
And if I want to,
I can hit that note bent too.
In other words, there's a position inside
the mouth, that if you know this position,
you can hit it.
And the note will come out bent.
If you want to hit the note unbent and
then bend down to it, you can do that too.
You can bend it quickly.
Back and forth.
All different kinds of things because
it's a feeling, it's a position.
Inside the mouth, and I can't show it
to you physically with a camera or
anything like that, and I don't even
know how helpful that would be.
So I'm going to describe
exactly what it is I'm doing.
A lot of the best ways to teach harmonica
is to say, you do something and
then you figure out what it is you're
doing without playing the harmonica.
So if I bend,
I'm gonna sit here with my mouth,
in that position of the bend.
And I figure out
what word I would say or
sound I would say.
If I didn't have the harmonica
in my mouth, so [SOUND].
It's kind of like the letters N-G
on the end of the word like hung.
[SOUND] My tongue Is down
behind my bottom teeth.
And the back of the tongue.
[SOUND] is when you say those
[SOUND] sounds it's kinda
pushed back to the back of your mouth,
Closing off your throat.