How do you play the overblow in hole 1?
There are several positions of the tongue that will allow the overblow to sound in hole one, but most of them are not stable.

In my opinion the best way to play this is to put your toungue on the bottom of your mouth and try to get the tongue as low as possible for the entire length of the tongue.

The feeling is a little like having a hot potato in your mouth that you are trying to cool down by blowing past it.
Choke the blowreed with the tongue in that position. If you are able to get a relaxed but solid choke on the blowreed, you should be able to play a stable overblow.

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User Contributed Notes
16-10-2015 17:34
Tinus: this isn't strictly an overblow question, it's related to the blow bends 7 through 10. But really it's mostly about #10. When i bend the notes i get the two bent notes but when i release the bend instead of going back to the original #10 blow note another note kicks in or a bit of squealing or modulation. Do you know what causes this?

Anyway i'm going to wax the rivets to see if that cures it. Either that or my embouchure is slightly wrong and that's what allows the noise, unrelated to the proper notes that should be played, to come in.

I also notice that after spending a long time practicing the blow bends on hole 10 that when i play the draw reed it's choked off and won't sound. I think you mentioned condensation before when i spoke to you about the #1 overblow. Is it the same thing here?


07-10-2015 21:49
Tried everything Tinus but to no avail! The hole 1 overblow remains elusive. I can get it fine when i set the action really low but then the ordinary blow note tone sucks and it often sticks. I was forced to just put a bit more gap in the reed and bite the bullet and forget it! I'll come back to it some other time as i was spending too much time setting action and not enough time playing.
26-09-2015 22:39
Cheers Tinus, thanks for replying to me again. Yeah i noticed, in taking the harp apart to make adjustments, that with practicing the OB a lot the harp was pretty wet inside around the reeds. That'll be the reason. I think i will tip scoop and see it it helps. I have some small needle files but i don't even think they'll be small enough!! I'll see if i can rig up something suitable.

Thanks again, your replies really help me out a lot.
26-09-2015 22:07
@Gar7: the reeds stick because of condensation. When you choke the reed the damp air is pushed through a narrow opening where itcools down. Condensation forms a film between reed and plate andthe surface tention traps the reer. Tip sc9oping helps with that.
26-09-2015 17:20
Cheers Tinus. I have it set up where i can get the OB in hole 1. Not at will i hasten to add. But i can get it fairly consistently. Problem is i don't think the blow reed is choking instantly. I try to choke it and i get the normal note but then it's as if it chokes off a bit at a time. Then i can get the OB at will, at that point. However when i go back to check the original blow note it won't sound. If i draw and blow it then comes back. Any idea why it would stick like that? Sometimes the draw reed will stick too if i've been practicing the OB for a long time. It's not happening very much though.
25-09-2015 19:44
@Gary: Just tight enough so the draw note and bent note work well.
25-09-2015 18:01
Tinus: What's the best setting for the draw reed to make the hole 1 overblow respond quickly? Is it basically the same as setting the blow reed? I followed your suggestion on dipping the blow reed at the rivet into the plate and then keeping it straight from there on. It seemed to knock me out of tune a bit, not much, but a little. I haven't really done anything to the draw reed yet apart from gapping it quite low.
21-09-2015 17:55
Tinus thanks a lot for your reply. I can get the OB's in holes 4,5 and 6. Now and then when i go for them i miss them but i'm getting better. Hole 1 though seems much harder!
21-09-2015 13:36
@Gary: start by doing it slowly. Bend down till the blowreed stops and then keep the blowreed choked as you bring the back of the tongue up to the palet. Start doing it slowly to get used to it and train muscle memory.
21-09-2015 04:03
Hi Tinus, how do you do the two things at the same time for overblowing in hole 1? I mean we practice the two parts separately and then combine them but if we need the OB we don't have time to choke the reed down. It all has to happen instantaneously which makes it tough. I can choke the reed and play the OB with the covers off and covering the draw reed with my thumb for the choke and index finger covering the blow reed slot for the OB. But trying to do the two things at once seems impossible. Any other tips i can try?
13-10-2014 11:27
I need one hole harmonica for alarm pneumatic
27-08-2009 03:19
I arch the tongue way in back of my mouth so its almost touching the roof. The tip of my tongue is pulled almost an inch back from the harp and kept near the floor but pointing up towards the roof. The rest of the tongue is flat and spread out almost touching the teeth on each side. I've never had much difficulty overblowing the 1 hole. Biggest problem is keeping both reeds from sounding together, but with practice that problem diminishes.
31-08-2005 09:38
I can overblow holes 4,5 & 6 with a U-blockbut hole 1 hasnt' been succsefull with a U-block. I'll give it a try though, sounds interesting and might give a new perspective on playing hole 1 overblows.
31-08-2005 01:05
André Daneau
I get nice overblow in the hole 1 by using the "u" block. I mean i isolate the hole 1 with my tongue (your tongue must be partialy in the hole) and shape it like the letter "u" it's easier to isolate the hole that way and i get more strength and precision to get the Eb. You could use that technique for the overdraw Db in the hole 10.