Tongues

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Tongues

Postby gogs » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:38 pm

This tongue blocking's a bit of a bugger,ay?Started tryin it this week and sound like burst bagpipes crossed with a crow with bronchitis,not to mention lookin like a rabid dog...and I've got a blister on my tongue!Oh well,perseverence pays,as they say...



:)
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RE: Tongues

Postby freewayjam » Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:07 am

I'm rather new to this forum so not sure how often tounging is discussed, but just a quick note here. Assume you are referring to tounging to play single notes. I only use tounging for stacatto and other effects. I get single notes from a v-notch my bottom lip has in the middle. Call it pursing, if you must. Sounds like you're really mashing your toungue tip against the comb. Even when I play around with single note tounging I don't get hurt...this ain't guitar...it shouldn't hurt to gain experience!!
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RE: Tongues

Postby gogs » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:15 am

I don't think it's so much the pressure as the comb itself.The harp I've mostly been tongueing on has a wooden comb and the edges are quite sharp.My other one is a composite of some kind and more rounded.I've thought about rounding off the edges,but I don't know if this will alter the sound of it or not.I've tried pursing my lips but I always seem to get half a hole at each side of the one I'm trying to play.
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RE: Tongues

Postby t bone bruce » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:57 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-25-06 AT 04:59 PM (EST)]Freewayjam, Gogs is referring to tongue blocking, using the tongue to block 3 holes, leaving one hole uncovered. To many beginners tongue blocking seems like an unnatural way to play. Having made a concerted effort to use tongue blocking over the past 6 months I would say using it has improved my playing immensely. There are a number of techniques that can only be acheived this way. Gogs, don't push your tongue hard onto the harp, as you will lose control of accurate play, just keep at it, it will work eventually! I find wooden body harps uncomfortable to tongue block, but you can sand down the metal smoother. I always use plastic body harps, much more comfy!
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RE: Tongues

Postby freewayjam » Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:04 am

Now you did it - got me started on the old "tounge-blocking is the only way to harp nirvana argument"!! Harp sensei Norton Buffalo reportedly uses a "rolled-toungue" technique, and many excellent pros prefer a pursed lips style. As in ANYthing, it's whatever works. Of course I toungue to get those octave effects and such - probably use it more than I'm aware of, but I've been pursing for 20+years and I've developed it to a point at which I have no problem hitting single notes on long runs up and down. Ok, I better stop.. Anyway, plastic combs are the answer if you're tearing up your tounge and lips.
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RE: Tongues

Postby t bone bruce » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:43 am

I was a puckerer only for many years, and I still use it for some techniques, especially bending, which I find hard to do tongue blocked, although I'm working on it. I use both techniques as I need. For fast runs sometimes puckering works better. Paul Butterfield didn't tongue block and had great tone and chops, So did Sonny Terry. I'm not knocking anyone who doesn't tongue block. I was hoping to clear up any confusion between tongue blocking and tongueing the notes for statacco effect, and save Gogs the blistered tongue!
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RE: Tongues

Postby jeffl » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:21 pm

I am on the other side of experience: I was taught only the tongue blocking method,and used it for most of the last 40 years,and when I was given a Jerry Portnoy instructional book and CD for a Christmas present,I learned the benefit of being able to lip purse as well as tongue block. I wish I had tried lip pursing at a much younger age,when I had more time to work on it. Now,it has been a slow progress getting comfortable when lip pursing; Portnoy convinced me that there are times when one system is more useful than the other,and that it's a good idea to be able to transition between the two methods in order to better play certain passages.
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RE: Tongues

Postby gogs » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:45 pm

Cheers for your advice boys.It is slowly coming,although I can only tongue to the left for some reason.Mind you,the fact I'm mostly playing while driving probably doesn't help(gettin pretty good at nasal harp though,got Diggin My Potatoes down pat!) :D
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RE: Tongues

Postby eline » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:12 pm

I think one of the main things to keep in mind is to use what ever comes natural to you. You should try to learn both techniques, but in the long run, once your confortable with both techniques your still likly to really use one or the other (mostly). Also, when you say that your blocking from the left, I'm assuming your playing your single note from the right, which is good because you want to be able lift the tongue every so often to get the under chord that your note or melody is riding on. Kind of like playing the piano, chords to the left and melodies to the right. Once you've learned how to tongue block and/or lip purse, it just becomes another tool in the bag for you to pull out and use at will. So good luck and stick with it, don't worry it'll come with plenty of practice. One more thing, don't forget to take a break every now and then when your practing your tounge blocks, otherwise your face is going to tire and certain muscles in your face will get sore. Good luck with it.

Blues in E
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RE: Tongues

Postby jagarner70 » Mon May 01, 2006 1:36 pm

Dont worry about the tongue blocking. It will come. I am proof of that. I am just getting over the point of laughing while playing due to tongue blocking. When I would hit a clean riff I would beging to laugh and lose it. I am now getting to the point of feeling the rythm and hearing the music. I would suggest the same Honer Special 20 that was suggested to me. The harp has a smooth plastic comb and produces nice sound. I am also learning to chug at the same time which is alot of fun.
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RE: Tongues

Postby gogs » Tue May 02, 2006 12:04 pm

It is coming,actually managing to play some tunes in single notes rather than chords.But for some reason blues riffs won't stay in my head;as soon as I pick up the harp,they're gone...Learning to chug??I thought that was drinking beer!:D
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tongue use other than blocking.

Postby colmanL » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:46 pm

in a responce here there was mention of norton buffalo using a rolled tongue tech. i don`t know what his consisted of but i use a style that is
rolling the tip of your tongue down,then covering the bottom half of the
hole. this works great onthe upper area of a diatonic and all over on a chromatic harp. it takes a light touch to be able to move smooth and
the slight mute action on the hole fattens up the tone. i`ve been doing this over 30 yrs. and its the first time i heard any mention off it.
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