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Harmonica Lessons: Bend Simply: 3rd Hole Draw

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The third hole.
And I like to say that the third hole
bend is the way that when I listen
to a harmonica player,
I can tell how good a player he is by
how much control he has
over that third hole bend.
Cuz this one, this is really I
think the hardest of the bends.
There's one very big reason for that.
If you play three draw.
[SOUND] It's a B.
Three blow is a G.
[SOUND] If you look over at the piano,
here's B, here's G.
There's a whole bunch of
notes in between B and G.
There's B flat, also called A sharp.
A and A flat, also called G sharp.
So that when you try to control
this bend on the harmonica,
there's a lot more area to control.
These reeds are doing their little dance.
The higher pitch one is bending down,
the lower pitch one's bending up, and
you have to control it by these resonances
of the tongue and the inside of the mouth.
So, this one is almost more like trying
to keep your balance on a surf board or
a skate board, or something.
It's a real balance thing, or
maybe a unicycle instead of a bicycle.
So, it's a little more unstable.
So, third hole
Immediately a lot of people
instantly bend down a little bit.
Which incidentally is why most harmonica
companies tune their
harmonicas a little bit sharp,
even though most harmonica's,
especially Hohners say A440 on the side.
They're almost always tuned A442,
because whenever you play
a harmonica with any kind of
expression the pitch drops down.
440 means 440 vibrations per second,
which is the definition of A.
It's called A440.
Well these harmonicas are tuned where A is
442 times a second, a little bit sharper.
Because when you start
to play with expression,
your pitch just comes down a little bit.
So instead of sounding flat to the rest
of the band who's tuned to 440,
you're gonna sound in tune with them.
Just a little musical point there.
So, third hole.
That's a big bend.
And it's a [SOUND] again,
but it's a little bit more
along the roof of your mouth.
it's almost easier to play this
just trying to bend it down all the way.
[SOUND] Ng, ng, ng, ng.
It's in between ung and ing.
[SOUND] And it's also kind of a coo.
[SOUND] [NOISE] There's different
dimensions to this one.
Once again, I can't overemphasize
how little air is actually
needed to do this.
If I have this note bent
down at a bent position,
at a normal volume,
I can hold this for a long time.
running out
of breath
a little
bit but.
The tongue is arched up and
the air is somehow,
somehow you're breathing in but
you're not going [NOISE].
You're not filling your lungs
when you're breathing in and
inhaling on a bend like this,
it's just enough.
[SOUND] Air to vibrate the reed.
And the vacuum with your nose being
closed, is creating this resonance.
And it's remarkable how little
air is actually moving.
[SOUND] It's very surprising,
because when you play unbent [SOUND]
you can choose to play with less air or
more air.
[SOUND] See I can fill up my diaphragm.
[SOUND] Or not.
[SOUND] Just by setting
the reed vibration,
but when your bending, [SOUND] the tongue
arching is kind of
cutting off the airflow.
None of this stuff is
what you think it is.
None of it is obvious because
we can't see what we're doing.
I'm trying to teach an invisible
instrument that does things that
I can't see, and that you can't see,
and that nobody can see.
And if I play my normal way with
my hands over the instrument,
you can't even see the instrument.
And sometimes people go, what were you
playing, were you really playing that,
were you singing, was that a recording?
Because they can't even
see what I'm doing.
So none of this stuff is obvious.
So this bend has four
notes in it,
which sounds kind of comical.
[SOUND] [SOUND] That's funny for effect.
I think the best way to practice
getting the separate notes,
aside from bending it all the way down,
making sure you're going all the way down,
which it's really good to check on
the keyboard, [SOUND] to hit the A flat.
[SOUND] So, sound like a doorbell.
It's like the joke about the bridge
from Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
[SOUND] It sounds like
a French police car.
[SOUND] Just all these different
sounds are helpful to knowing how
far this thing bends.
[LAUGH] It's more than mere humor.
And so, if you want to,
you can bend it all the way down
and let it up.
And try doing it in tune,
it's really not that easy.
But if you wanna hit the note
that's actually in the scale of C major or
G major, in other words the note A,
this is a hard note to grab
onto on a C harmonica.
See that's
that third hole bend.
I articulate it
with my tongue.
I'm exaggerating now, but
you can hit it with your
if you have the right position in your
mouth, you can do the tu
tu tu with your tongue.
Or you can just do [SOUND] hu hu hu hu hu.
So, this
bend is also very
useful for
Just giving expression to the third.
And it's a little bit more
of a country blues sound.
Letting it
all the way up.
hitting the flatted third which is the B
flat, then bending it down to the A.
country blues
it's very
And also for
playing a straight blues lick.
You can give that flatted third,
which is the other important
blues note by bending the B.
The third hole draw down
just to the B flat.
And if you wanna play in
really in G minor,
you can do that now with that flatted
3rd and I'll show you some tunes
we'll play some tunes with the band,
the G minor on the C harp.
So you see,
with one, two, three and four draw bend,
with all the bends that are available,
a tremendous amount of.
That's where it is.
It's simple but it's not obvious,
you can't see it.
And you have to get control over it
with a lot of practicing and playing.