Open sidebar

Harmonica Techniques: Tongue Block

Tongue blocking is one of the playing techniques used on the harmonica, but it is not the only option. Whether you need to tongue block depends on your playing style and the type of music you want to play.

Tongue blocking involves using your tongue to block off certain holes on the harmonica while allowing air to pass through other holes. This technique enables you to isolate specific notes, create chordal sounds, and perform various articulations, such as bends and vibratos.

On the other hand, another common technique is called “puckering” or “lip pursing.” This involves using your lips to cover multiple holes and controlling the airflow to produce different notes.

The choice between tongue blocking and lip pursing often comes down to personal preference and the type of sound you want to achieve. Some players prefer tongue blocking because of the versatility it offers, especially in blues and traditional styles. Others find lip pursing more comfortable and suitable for playing melodies in certain genres like folk and pop music.

Ultimately, it’s beneficial to learn both techniques, as they each have their advantages, and being proficient in both will give you more flexibility as a harmonica player. Experiment with both tongue blocking and lip pursing, and see which one feels more natural and allows you to achieve the sound you desire. Practice and patience are key to mastering either technique.