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How to Use a Harmonica Rack | Basic Tips for Playing with Harmonica Holder

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Hello! In today's harmonica lesson I'll give you some beginner tips for playing harmonica in a rack/harmonica holder. You might use one of these if you play guitar too.

Tip #1: Use a good quality harmonica holder

Using great equipment can make your job a lot easier. The cheapest harp racks are difficult to set in place and they are made of flimsy materials which don't hold weight well. Luckly, there are several really good holders out there. Here are links to the ones I mention in the video:

Tip #2: Lip pursing may be easier

I find tongue blocking is more difficult with rack playing because I can't get far enough on to the instrument while remaining comfortable and able to sing properly. For this reason, I tend to lip purse mostly when I'm using a rack. You may be different, but my recommendation is to try lip pursing.

Tip #3: Expect a change of tone

It's unavoidable that you'll find a change of tone when using a harp holder because you can't use your hands to shape the note. This means no hand wah or textures that you'd need the hands for. Get used to it!

Tip #4: Keep it simple

You're doing two things at once: playing the harmonica and another instrument (guitar, washboard, whatever...) so cut yourself some slack! There will be a roughness to your playing. Embrace this and keep things simple. Simpler isn't always worse - pick big, bold notes to keep your solos strong and attention-grabbing. Of course, this shouldn't stop you for pursuing excellence - it's never too late to keep improving!

Thanks for following this harmonica lesson. I hope you enjoyed it!

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