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David's Tip of the Day: Beginner Tips #10 - Cupping the "Cup"

David Barrett Admin's picture

In the lesson Blues Harmonica Fundamentals I show you three ways to commonly hold the harmonica: "The Pinch" (standard), "End Cap" and "Two Thumbs Up." Whichever way you choose, the goal is to hold the harmonica the same as when you play for yourself, into a vocal mic, or when holding a bullet mic.

To experiment, get a cup/glass that's somewhere between 2" and 2.5" (most bullet mics are around this size) and place it on a table. Without the cup at first, adjust your hold on the harmonica until you feel you have all of the elements of that particular hold dialed in, then open the back of your hands and lean over the table so that your hands travel over the cup on the table, now "cupping" the cup.

There should not be much adjustment from a non-bullet hold and a bullet-mic hold. The cup will feel large in your hands at first, but by experimenting with the rotation of your palms and how much overlap you have of your fingers at the top of your hold (the more your fingers overlap at top, the less hand you have to bring your palms together while holding the large diameter of a bullet mic)... with time you'll dial this in.

Visit the Cupping & Hand Effects lesson on the site for further details on holding a bullet mic.