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New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 3:26 am
by ZackP
Hi everyone! My name is Zack, I am fourteen (fifteen this coming Monday) and I play Harmonica, Guitar, Drums, Piano, Organ, and I sing. Wanted to say hello.


I also have a question, I can bend greatly using lip block, but do not understand how to tongue blocking, anyone care to explain?


Also, hey Walter Tore!


Sincerely,
Zack.


---
Check out http://www.genesisharmonicas.net, he makes amazing Harmonicas!

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 3:36 pm
by jeffl
Hey Zack, try this guy on YouTube. He's a well respected teacher and performer in the harp community. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7-MZmYln94

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 4:26 pm
by dcblues
Hi Zack, and welcome to out little corner of the web.

I started playing harp when I was fifteen, and I had a birthday this month. :)

I once read an interview with Rick Estrin and he said that all you have to know about tongue blocking is on that little piece of paper that comes with every new Marine Band. He was simplifying it a bit, but what he said is good advice.

What you basically do is cover three holes with your tongue and play one hole on the end (most players block to the left, some really experienced players can block from both sides).

But it's not just covering the three (or two) holes that makes the technique so valuable. What most blues tbers do is play the chord, and a quick instant later slap their tongue on the holes they are going to cover. That really fattens the tone and gives it a percussive effect.

Try this. Play the 1234 blow chord. Then, while still playing it, block holes 1, 2 and 3. When you can do this slow, try it faster, so you only hear the chord right before the single note. Big Walter did this all the time.

I know Jason Ricci has a good lesson on tongue blocking on YouTube, and Adam Gussow probably does as well. Jerry Portnoy's Masterclass really covers it in detail.

I hope this helps.

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 4:54 pm
by jeffl
dcb, the link I put on there is Gussow's lessons. I learned to tongue block from my dad before I learned anything else, when I was about Zack's age, 44 years ago. I've really forgotten how I dealt with the early obstacles to learning, other than using a Tony Glover book and vinyl record as a tutorial.

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:04 pm
by dcblues
I didn't get a chance to look at the video link before posting (can't access YouTube at work).

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:37 pm
by ZackP
Hey guys, thanks for the warm welcome. But I can tongue block and do tongue slaps, but I cannot bend while tongue blocking, that is what I was wondering about. :D

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 7:44 pm
by jeffl
ZackP wrote:Hey guys, thanks for the warm welcome. But I can tongue block and do tongue slaps, but I cannot bend while tongue blocking, that is what I was wondering about. :D
OK. Try dropping your lower jaw a little and pulling your tongue back at the rate of the bend. It may feel a little like a transition from a tongue block to a single note lip purse. At first you may cover all three holes (the hole you want to bend and the two to the left of it) and you pull your tongue back from the note you want to bend to start the attack; As you drop your jaw and pull your tongue back farther, you should be bending the note. You should be able to get a sharp percussive attack as soon as you start the air moving by pulling away from the hole to the left. Pulling your tongue back should be more noticeable in the fat middle part of your tongue, because as you pull it back the tip of of your tongue gets smaller and the fat middle part of your tongue slides up between your molars, moving toward the roof of your mouth.

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 8:08 pm
by dcblues
And whatever you do, DON'T PLAY WITH TOO MUCH FORCE!!!!!!! Because almost ALL diatonic players do that!!!!!

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 8:42 pm
by jeffl
dcblues wrote:And whatever you do, DON'T PLAY WITH TOO MUCH FORCE!!!!!!! Because almost ALL diatonic players do that!!!!!
Hey DCB, you sound like a parrot sittin' on BBQBob's shoulder,lol! I play with an acoustic jam every week, and it gets loud, with about 4 acoustic flat-top players,drums,bass, mando, etc. goin' at different times. What sucks is that I have to play with some force to get the volume up, and it raises hell with your articulation, 'cuz none of your body parts (lips,tongue, jaw) move as fast when you're tryin' to play with that much force. They did consent to me playin' amplified when it gets too loud, so that I wouldn't have to play as hard ( as long as I stay in the mix ), thank God. Zack, you just keep workin' away at those bends, and before you know it, you'll have it all down. If you have a decent ear, and maybe some formal knowledge of keys, pitches, etc., you'll be able to hit those bends right where you need 'em, and slide 'em to where you want, or attack 'em at different points in the pitch bend.

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 1:06 am
by ZackP
Thanks guys, I did it! I am so proud of myself! You guys rock, hahaha.

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 1:48 pm
by jeffl
Congrats Zack! That's a big one. You're young..you learn fast at that age. You might wanna tie into a tutorial system if harp is important to you. There are a number of good ones out there, and if you're interested, just start a new thread and let some of the guys respond to it.

Re: New Guy Here! Also, Tongue Block Bending

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 6:24 pm
by ZackP
Okay I will see what I can do, I am pretty much a Blues Scholar, or something.