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Harmonica Lessons: 1st Hole Overblows

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Okay, now we're gonna get to
the last of the practical overblows,
because you can get overblows
on holes two and three,
because the rule of the overblow is that.
The draw note bends up.
Well okay, if you try the overblow three,
you get a pretty flat version of B sharp,
which is C.
You might want to use this some time,
I don't know.
I've used them occasionally for effect.
If you over blow two.
[SOUND] You get a weird version of A flat,
G sharp.
[SOUND] Which is also available to you,
as the third hole,
draw bent down all the way.
So you don't really need
these to get separate notes.
But they do exist.
Now, the first hole overblow.
Now this is one that for years,
I could get it in passing,
but I couldn't get it to sustain.
Because I didn't know anything
about adjusting reed clearances.
I had no idea.
I was doing all this stuff,
for like 15 years,
before I even opened up a harmonica,
and went gee I wonder if I did this?
I was just doing a,
mind over matter thing,
and thinking of it as a piano keyboard.
Then students of mine,
came along, and asked me.
How does this thing work?
And I had to say I really don't know
[LAUGH], and they figured it out.
So the first hole,
if you blow C, you draw D,
and then you blow two-blow, it's E.
So the note that's missing is E flat
it's the flatted third of C.
And I first started getting
the E flat by going
It's that mouth breathing thing that I
talked about in some of the earlier units.
And if you just do
a mouth breathing thing.
With the inhale.
It's like saying the world whit, sort of.
One of my friends used to say it's Howard,
Howard, Howard, Howard.
And [sound]and then you can get it.
And so then you can use that E flat going
as a passing tone.
It's great.
What if you want to hit the E
flat as an actual note?
You can.
It's not the easiest
thing in the world to do.
[SOUND] It's easier like all these are,
if you draw on the D first.
[SOUND] Except the sound of the mouth is
much deeper.
It sort of corresponds to the shape that
you make when you bend
the first hole draw.
[SOUND] It's that UN sound again.
When you bend one draw.
This is a little less deep
because the pitch is higher.
And your tongue UNNN is a little further
forward than it is if you go OHH.
[LAUGH] [LAUGH] Sorry but
that's just the way it is.
you have to believe in the fact
that this note is here.
And then to hit it by itself.
[NOISE] You have to make
your mouth kinda wide.
[NOISE] Being able to do this actually
improves your tone on
all the notes around it.
Because it's kind of an extreme.
They talk about extreme sports.
This is kind of extreme, extreme bending
in a weird way, extreme over blowing.
And the more extremes you can do on
the harmonica of controlling things and
making things happen that seem
like they're not possible
the easier all the stuff in
the middle starts to get.
The moderately difficult things.
That's the first hole overblow.
And now a very amazing thing has happened,
because now we can play a blues
lick in the first octave.
All of these really funky,
bluesy things that previously
were the domain of the second
position alone are available
now in what used to be the squarest most
white-bread position,
the first position.
And we can make the first
position totally bluesy.
Now another thing that's happened
as a side effect,
a byproduct of this is with
the first hole overblow, fourth, fifth and
sixth hole overblow, and
all the blows draws and
the draw bends,
in the bottom of the harmonica,
we now have a two octave chromatic scale.
It's all
[LAUGH] Just like a piano,
just like a flute,
just like a saxophone,
just like a guitar.
Now, this little instrument,
at least two-thirds of it,
is a fully chromatic instrument.
And it just depends on what
you wanna do with those notes.
If you don't wanna play things that
are fully chromatic on it, that's fine.
If all you wanna do on this instrument
is play the blues on it, that's great.
You have more notes to be bluesy with.
You have more power of
expression on the instrument.
There are no notes that you have to jump
over with that stepping stone thing.
You can play every note
that comes into your mind,
in whatever style of music
you wanna play it in.
As simple or as complex as you want.
The problem is,
the difficulty is to make all
of these notes sound equally believable.
And the fact of the matter is that the
harmonica, the character of the harmonica,
which is a wonderful thing about it, makes
a lot of these notes sound different,
which is great.
And so
it's a little bit of a kind of a paradox
that one goal of the instrument
is to work on it,
and make things sound the same,
play the same stuff in every key.
And the other fact is that, when you
play the same things in different keys,
a lot of time they're gonna sound
different, but that's not a bad thing.
So it's kind of a paradox, it works for
you in certain situations,
against you in others.
That's the beauty of this instrument.
And I'm constantly learning new things.
And I'm sure that many of you who
are watching this are gonna be teaching,
continuing to teach me new things with
the things that you send in to me,
with the video submissions.
Because I certainly don't know
everything about this instrument,
there's a lot of mysteries yet,
to unlock and hear.
So happy hunting with all of this.