Take the 2-minute tour ×
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When playing the harmonica for more than a few minutes, I'll often run into the problem where I produce way too much saliva, which all ends up inside the harmonica itself. Sometimes this even clogs one or more notes completely.

Most often, this happens when I sustain one note for a long time, blowing out. There's no possibility to swallow (because that will interrupt the note), so I don't know what I can do to keep this from happening. Is there some sort of technique that keeps your mouth from producing (so much) saliva while breathing out?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2


On any wind instrument spit is a fact of life. You will notice that larger wind instruments have a spit valve, and regularly empty it (sometimes on your shoes!) There really isn't a good way to keep your body from making more spit, and you want to shape your embouchure for good sound rather than worrying about spit related concerns.

Instead, strategize for removing the spit at the correct moment. You can do this by blowing hard through the harmonica, or tapping it against your leg.

Some people think that beginners drool more, and that you may drool less as you get better at harp. I can't guarantee that this will happen for you.

share|improve this answer
The valve is more for removing condensation from your breath out of the instrument than spit removal. –  Tim Jun 24 '14 at 7:51
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have done some more research on this, and found this forum post to be very useful. It explains some very basic and logical ways to make sure you produce less saliva.

In a nutshell:

  • Try to play with the harmonica tilted slightly upwards. This way, the saliva does not flow into the harmonica as easily.
  • Try not to touch the harmonica with the tongue. Apparently, we naturally produce more saliva when our tongue comes in contact with the harmonica.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.