Harmonica Tabs - Freshman Year Lesson 6

In the previous lesson, you played two single notes, C and D, from the 4th hole. In this lesson, you will also begin from hole 4, but play more notes.

For many instruments, you need to read music to be able to play. However, most harmonica players don't read music. In these lessons I will encourage you to memorise tunes, so that you can play without needing music scores.

However, it is useful to have a simple method to indicate which harmonica notes to play when learning new tunes. We will use the following method:

1B means first hole blow note. 1D means first hole breathing in, or draw note.
2B means second hole blow note.  2D means second hole breathing in, or draw note.
3B means third hole blow note. 3D means third hole breathing in, or draw note.
and so on.

In lesson three, you played the pattern 1 blow, 1 draw, 2 blow. Using the notation above, these notes would be written as 1B 1D 2B.

In this lesson, you will play the notes 4 blow, 4 draw, 5 blow, 5 draw, 6 blow. With the new notation, this pattern is written as 4B 4D 5B 5D 6B. It sounds like this


These five notes have the names C,D,E,F and G.

To play this pattern, you need to play the two notes on the 4 hole, then slide your lips over to the 5 hole, play the two notes, then slide you lips over to the 6 hole to play the last note. To make your lips slide more easily, you can run your lips over the middle part of the instrument before you begin.

Now play with this track


then this one, which is the backing only


Note that you play the pattern twice, then finish with a 4B (number 4 hole blow note). After you have played the pattern for the first time, your lips will be above hole 6. You need to move your lips to hole 4 to start the exercise a second time. Jumps, such as 6B to 4B in this case, are common in harmonica playing. These jumps must be accurate, so you should give much attention to this exercise.

If you have trouble with this jump, then take the harmonica away from your lips after the first pattern, move the harmonica until the 4 hole is in line with your lips, then start again.

Now try the exercise again, with the same backing, but this time play the pattern 4 times. It should sound like this


Here you have less time to make the 6B to 4B jump.

Sporting stars, such as soccer and basketball players, spend many hours practicing small parts of their game, such as passing and shooting goals. Musicians do the same thing with exercises like the ones here. Practice them many times, and your game will be ready.

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