Watch the Single Notes online guitar lesson by Annie Raines from Blues Harmonica Blueprint
THE PUCKER: If you’re playing pucker-style single notes for the first time, keep in mind that you will feel a little sore from practicing, but there’s a right and wrong place to feel it. The right place to feel it is in the corners of your mouth (from making the vertical oval) and to a lesser degree in the muscle underneath your tongue, which you can feel underneath your chin. You should NOT feel soreness in your temporomandibular joint, or where your jaw hinges. That means you’re hyperextending your jaw and holding it stiffly, which can lead to a painful and lasting condition called TMJ disorder. Try playing in front of a mirror to see if you’re moving your lower jaw from side to side as you try to isolate the note - side-to-side jaw movement can be very hard on the TM joint.
If you start to feel soreness in your jaw when practicing, take a break, have some tea, (whiskey is also acceptable here, in moderation, of course!), and practice the following in front of a mirror: 1) close your mouth until your teeth almost touch, but not quite. 2) raise your upper lip as high as you can, towards your nose, without sticking out your bottom lip or tensing up your other facial muscles. Let your jaw hang loosely but don’t stretch it; concentrate on raising your upper lip 3 times more than your bottom lip hangs down. 3) relax and repeat a few times. 4) think good thoughts that make you smile. 5) failing that, try a little more whiskey.