I frequently recieve inquiries from potential customers on overblow and overdraw set-up. I think both techniques are great to master on the harp even if you don’t intend to use them extensively in your playing. However, there seems to be some confusion amongst even seasoned players about OB/OD. Many mistake the technique with blow bends and draw bends. OBs are typically played on holes 1, 4, 5, & 6. ODs are played on holes 7, 9, & 10.
Both techniques involve hitting the note that is 1/2 step higher than the highest note on the hole by completely choking the opposing (Lower) reed. Contrast this with bends that involve lowering the note. It is also important to be aware, that effective OB/OD playing necessitates a very precise set-up on the harp. This means your reed gap is going to be very low. If you are a hard and/or fast player, it is likely you will unintentionally choke notes on a harp set up for OB/OD. Be prepared for this if you request OB/OD set-up.
OB/OD playing is not necessary. Plenty of great players out there don’t do it. However, many great players do and it is a great way to expand your musical knowledge and creativety. OB/OD playing allows you to experiment with new musical ideas (ie get away for the standard blues licks you always seem to fall back on). I am not an expert OB/OD player but I have found it is a great way to learn musical phrases even if I eventually play them in a different key harp that doesn’t require OB/OD. I have also found that OB/OD harps respond much more effectively to other advanced techniques.. noteably the 3 draw 1/2 and whole step bends. Awhile back I did a little video demo on OB/OD. Don’t judge me to harshly.. just trying to get the info out there… !!