Two Parts of the Overblow
Choking the blowreed
Getting the Drawreed to sound
Playing the Overblow
Waxing the Rivet End
Replacing the weighted reed
Practicing The Choke
Collected tips & tricks
Jason Ricci interview
Joe Filisko interview
User Contributed Notes
@Sebastian: the closer the gap on the drawreeds the easier it will be. More likely that you are using the wrong part of the tongue. Try moving the back of the tongue to your soft palate.
Hi Tinus, great that there is an extra website covering this difficult topic:-)
Currently my problem is also to make the drawreed sound - I have closed (taped) the blowreed on hole 6 of a G harmonica, and trying now to find the correct position to make the drawreed sound. I can somehow get to that point, but only very short and very unstable (cannot hold the tone) and not really reproducible and with very very few air - is it possible that the gap of the drawreed is too close? Thank you, Sebastian
Tinus; thank you for reply.
@Gary: not yet
Tinus, do you have a chart up on the scale finder for Brendan Powers 'Powerdraw' harp? I don't see one. I see the powerbender and the powerbreath but those are different tunings. I just bough a Powerdraw and am getting used to it but i'd like to see the names of all the notes and the overblows.
@Charles: you can send an email to the address mentioned above?
How can I get info on your custom overblow harmonicas?
I have been exploring a variation of Fourkey, if you want to add it.
Like Fourkey, it's 5 holes per octave, and actually resembles Power Chromatic.
Here it is--
| G a | A b | C D | D e | F g |
Note that every hole can be draw bent a half step, that it is fully chromatic without overblows, and that the "chords" are F penta blow and G penta draw--making it a C diatonic harmonica.
Wild stuff . . .
I am working for Suzuki USA as their harmonica repair technician, but we don't make a 12 or 14 hole diatonic--so I am using Hohner Marine Band 365 harps to build these.
I have a couple of videos up using it too, search for garylehmann on YouTube.
Hope you are well, thanks for your service!
Thanks for the greatest info in the world.
I want to thank you for how your website has helped me. I have been playing the Special Twenty for many years without using overblows. Recently I started learning a tune that requires one overblow on hole 6, but I couldnâ€™t make it work. I kept slowly adjusting the gaps, but the overblow didnâ€™t sound right. I couldnâ€™t sustain it without it squawking, and it seemed to require too much force. Then I came across your website. I did the tape on the draw/blow side thing which helped me understand, but the one thing that magically made the difference was your advice in using the back of the tongue and not the tip. I had been doing it all wrong. Now it is so easy. Thanks!!!
Mr T J Antony
Where can I get a draw scraper?
I am interested on a skype lesson to learn how to modify my harmonicas, what tools do I need to buy before we can start? How much are the lessons?
I would love to come and visit. Do you have a jazzfestival there?
Ulrich H. Kiefer
Greetings from the 3-national Metropolitan Upper Rhine Region close to Strasbourg-France-Alsace
I hope that Overblow.com will one day visit that area... There is a lot of music this weekend there and I try to report news or get more information soon. Best wishes from here and happy harmonica also from Mundharmonika.net where we published some innovation on harmaonicas (Rondo Research Team Freiburg).
HI Tinus,please let me know from where can i get DRAW SCRAPER,please send a mail to me on
thanks in advance
The drawreed should also be gapped tight just to minimize air loss. However this will affect the bent notes so you will have to find the optimum yourself.
Hi Tinus, First of all thanks for such an informative site, it's opened up a whole new world for me. Who would have thought, a chromatic scale on a diatonic harp?! What a great little instrument this is! I have got O/B's on 4,5&6 after a bit of practice - well ok then after a lot of practice and am quite happy to stick with these for the time being. I have tried blue tac instead of wax and it seems ok for the moment. Adjusting the blow reeds to get the choke is fine but what works best for the draw reed? Is it the same principle as for the blow reed i.e set it close to the reed plate? It seems to me that most harps need some tweaking to get best results and have had pretty good results with GM's Harpmasters & SP20's. I've even removed the valves on 4,5&6 on my suzuki mr350V as the O/B's produce a better sound than the valve assisted alternative. Now to try and incorporate these 3 extra notes into my playing!
I would love a trial lesson...please :)
Thank you very much for such a great site on the overblow. I have not used this technique in all the years I have been playing and after hearing Howard Levy I knew I had to learn this. Jason R. and I hung out for a while a few weeks back at the San Jose Blues Fest. and I thought this young man was just great.I could really use those overblows!Any other help would be great.
Clayton Gary Lehmann
Thank you so much for placing all this great information in one place. I am listening now to your audition tunes--sounds great!
I play a harmonica based on the MS meisterklasse from Hohner.
I use crossharp MS plates, on an Anthony Daneker comb with meisterklasse covers.
The Lee Oskars are indeed very difficult to play overblows on. I think that the special 20 classic/handmade are the best harmonicas to start learning to overblow on. But peoples opinions on the matter differ.
The MS series harmonicas don't overblow well out of the box, they need some work before they overblow well.
what brand of harmonicas do you play?
i have just got to master these overbows/draws and my lee oskars don't seem to work well (think of the money I coudl have saved if i had your technique).
I played pro in the early 80's when I was young (your age) then started a family day job etc.
in the meantime, the overblow came into being. it seems like a gift from god (or howard levy).
I am currently doing try-outs with online lessons via Skype. If you want to have a trial lessons please send me an email.