help me with tongue blocking

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

help me with tongue blocking

Postby jagarner70 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 2:40 pm

Are there any good techniques or practice methods for learning to tongue block?
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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby brianp » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:30 pm

When I was first learning tongue blocking I worked on getting a good clean note while tongue blocking. After I could always get a good clean note I worked on moving the harmonica around playing simple songs while keeping them souning good. Then i worked on all my riffs until I got those solid. Then I worked on octaves and flutters and such until they were easy. Then I worked on using octaves to fatten my riffs up where I could and slowly they started to become part of my playing and now they just kind of happen for me and I throw TB effect on top of them when it feels right. I hope this helps.

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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby rookie » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:43 pm

Yeah, the Portnoy course explains all that stuff pretty simply, as well as chording to add a bit of rhythm
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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby jagarner70 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:49 pm

I am looking for something very basic. I am just starting to tongue block to get the single notes. I have been working on my lip blocking and now I am switching over to tongue blocking and starting from scratch. I need to work on some basic methods to get used to tongue blocking.
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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby bosco » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:19 pm

I learned tongue blocking playing on straight harp tunes in first position. Looking back now, it was probably a lot easier that way than trying to tongue block blues riffs.

Try "Swannee River" or "Oh Suzanna". Cover four sound holes with your embouchure. Start by moving your tongue on and off of the three sound holes on the left side of your mouth to provide intermittent background chords. Get a steady rhythm going. Then add the melody out of the right side of your mouth trying to get a clean lead line note. When the melody takes you up the harp, the blocked chords go up with it, remaining at the same interval. It will actually sound like two harmonicas playing at this point and you will have to coordinate your breathing.

Some of the old pros may laugh at this, but 30 years down the road it's easy to forget what it was like just starting out. This is probably the most basic, bare bones way to learn. Once you have the technique down, it will become automatic and you can apply it to your blues playing in second position.

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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby barbequebob » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:49 pm

The main thing with the TB is to remember NOT to press the tongue hard on the instrument, open the mouth more and get a bit more of the instrument in there. If you press the tonge hard, you will wind up using too much breath force, which will thus make you play with a wet mouth and lead to damage to your harps. When playing really fast phrases, TB can be quite advantageous, especially when you also learn to move the harp more in an arc, and not have too many movements with your head.
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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby mukluk » Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:44 am

Hey there jagarner70, I put together a quick and basic video lesson on tongue blocking. I posted the link at another site I visit, but there's been problems with the host site for the video. Here's the link anyway:


http://209.245.59.42/Gimme/16263353/265 ... ueBlock.rv

If it don't work for ya, let me know thru the forum here 'cause I've found another site that hosts RealPlayer files, and I'll post it there for ya bro.

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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby harp54 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:55 am

2nd position: 14b 14D 25d 36b then the beauty 47D just keep running up and down and mess around with the sequence.

3rd position: 14D 25D 36D 57b 58D 69D and just mess around again

the 25D with a tongue flutter is a good affect to start off a solo, kind of makes people listen up.
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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby rookie » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:54 pm

Blimey, for a minute there, I thought you really must have a giant 54-hole harp there, Harp 54...
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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby bosco » Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:13 pm

2nd position: 14b 14D 25d 36b then the beauty 47D just keep running up and down and mess around with the sequence.
3rd position: 14D 25D 36D 57b 58D 69D and just mess around again

the 25D with a tongue flutter is a good affect to start off a solo, kind of makes people listen up.


With all due respect, Marty, Jag70 is looking for BASIC instruction on LEARNING tongue blocking, not a bunch of advanced riffs in different positions. That is why I made the statement that it's easy for the vets to forget was it was like starting out and to overload the beginners with too much information. I can figure out that those are tongue blocked octaves that you posted, but you did not explain that and I doubt if a starter could figure that out. Let's try to keep it simple here and not confuse these young guys.

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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby ricochet » Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

I figured they were surgically enhanced bra sizes.

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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby mukluk » Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:32 am

OK,.... found another free site that'll host RealPlayer files. Once
you start this clip, I found it's best to Pause it right away, and you
can watch the gray loading status bar under the clip moving to the
right. Let it get about halfway across before Starting the clip again,
and you should be able to watch the entire clip uninterupted. First clip is tongue blocking, second is a sample of how a SM57 sounds thru my amp.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=a4NmF0BmFrE
http://youtube.com/watch?v=5JzLy1M_Eq0


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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby mukluk » Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:56 am

OK,.... found another free site that'll host RealPlayer files. Once
you start this clip, I found it's best to Pause it right away, and you
can watch the gray loading status bar under the clip moving to the
right. Let it get about halfway across before Starting the clip again,
and you should be able to watch the entire clip uninterupted. First clip is tongue blocking, second is a sample of how a SM57 sounds thru my amp.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=a4NmF0BmFrE
http://youtube.com/watch?v=5JzLy1M_Eq0


Chuck
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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby harp54 » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:18 am

Oops, sorry guys. It is my first time on the forum and I remember when I was asking the same questions. I will try and be a little more understanding in future.
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RE: help me with tongue blocking

Postby bosco » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:57 pm

Hey, no sweat.

We got harp beginners, forum beginners and everything in between!

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