<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" /> <meta name="Author" content="John Mayer" /> <meta name="GENERATOR" content="Mozilla/4.77 [en] (Win98; U) [Netscape]" /> <meta name="Description" content="Blues harmonica, it's pretty easy to figure out which notes to play on the blues harmonica, it's only got ten holes. It's damn hard to play blues harp with the sound, feel and phrasing of a true blues harmonica master. Here are tips on learning to play blues harmonican and suggested blues harp solos." /> <title>Blues Harmonica, Blues Harp</title> </head> <body text="#000099" link="#FF0000" vlink="0066CC"> <table width="790" BORDER=1 div align=center><tr> <td valign="top" width="125" bgcolor="#e5ecf9">     <a href=""><img src="/bfplink.gif" alt="Blues for Peace" border="0" height="75" width="61" /></a> <b><font size=-1><p><b>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bluesforpeace.com">Home Page</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/warning.htm">Go To Hell?</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/guitar-licks.htm">Guitar Licks</a> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/music.htm">Blues Music</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/blues-mp3.htm">Blues Mp3</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/eric-clapton.htm">Blues Video</a> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/songlist.htm">Blues Lyrics</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/jazz-song-lyrics.htm">Jazz Lyrics</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/pop-song-lyrics.htm">Rock Lyrics</a> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/clapton.htm">Eric Clapton</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/jimi-hendrix.htm">Jimi Hendrix</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/duane-allman.htm">Duane Allman</a> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/bluesjam.htm">Blues Jam</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/bfp-classes.htm">Blues Guitar</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/events.htm">Blues Concerts</a> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/zz-top.htm">ZZ TOP</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/joe-bonamassa.htm">Joe Bonamassa</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/unsung-heroes.htm">Blues Heroes</a> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/guitar-tab.htm">Guitar TAB</a></b> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/music-books/blues-guitar.htm">Music Books</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/guitars.htm">Buy Guitars</a> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/maxwell.htm">Blues Gifts</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="/search.htm">Search Site</a> <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="mailto:info@bluesforpeace.com">Contact Us</a> <center> <p><font size="-1"><b><a href="/guitars.htm"><img src="/images/clapton-blues.jpg" alt="Guitar Center" border="0" height="211" width="120"><br>Playing Guitar</a></b></font> </center> <p> <center> <P> <p> </center> </td> <td valign="top" width="510" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"> <center><a href="http://www.bluesforpeace.com"><img src="newbluelogo.JPG" alt="Blues For Peace" border="0" height="54" width="356" /> </a></b><br /> <font face="Matura MT Script Capitals"><font size="+1"><b>And they shall beat their swords into Guitars..</font></font><font size="-2"><sup>TM</sup></b></font> <h3>Learn a 5 minute <a href="/blues-guitar-solo.htm">Blues Guitar Solo!</a></H3><script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "pub-9837599300929880"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 15; google_ad_format = "468x15_0ads_al"; google_ad_channel =""; google_color_border = "FFFFFF"; google_color_bg = "FFFFFF"; google_color_link = "FF0000"; google_color_url = "003399"; google_color_text = "003399"; //--></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script> </center> <p><center><img src="images/littlewalter.jpg" alt="Little Walter, Blues Harmonica, Chicago Blues, Chess Records" height="260" width="189" /></center></p> <center> <h1>Blues Harmonica</h1> <h4>By <a href="http://www.johnnymayer.com">Johnny Mayer</a></h4> </center> <blockquote> It's pretty easy to figure out which notes to play on the blues harmonica, it's only got ten holes. It's damn hard to play blues harp with the sound, feel and phrasing of a true blues harmonica master. Here are tips on learning to play blues harmonican and suggested blues harp solos. </p> <p>Blues harmonica forces a person to confront the basics of Black Music in a way like no other instrument. The experience of learning the blues harmonica will make you a better musician on guitar, bass, sax, piano etc and improve your singing.</p> <p>If you don't know what I'm talkin' about... Listen! Here are three great blues harp players and suggested songs for guided listening.</p> <p><b>Little Walter - Blues Harmonica</b></p> <p>In the early 1950's, Little Walter defined the sound and style of Chicago blues harp. His licks, sound and songs are played note for note ever since. Walter is considered the first to amplify his harmonica with a hand held mike. Muddy Waters called Little Walter the best blues harp player that ever was!</p> <p>************************************<br /> <i>"As Long As I Have You"</i> by Little Walter</p> <p>Example of Chicago style "funky" blues song.. Notice bass line - same bass figure moves through the chord changes. This is called &lsquo;ostinato&rsquo;. Once you learn the pattern, you can play the song and there are hundreds of blues songs that follow the same 12 bar (measure) format</p> <p>The tempo's, rhythm pattern and "feel" changes, but the chord changes are more or less the same. They are ALL 12 bar blues like "Sweet Home Chicago", "Got My Mojo Working&rdquo;.</p> <p>***********************************<br /> <i>"Mellow Down Easy"</i> by Little Walter</p> <p>Song format - funky beat to walking bass line and back to funky beat.</p> <p>Harmonica Solo Points<br /> &sect; Quarter tones<br /> &sect; Repeated notes<br /> &sect; Jazz phrasing<br /> &sect; Accented notes - punctuation marks<br /> &sect; Adrenalin - Little Walter, also B.B. King, Muddy Waters, etc.<br /> &sect; Exagerated dotted eighth notes<br />  </p> <p>***********************************<br /> <i>"Roller Coaster"</i> by Little Walter</p> <p>The song is a one chord vamp written by Bo Didley. The song is a fine example of black music - simple and funky! It feels like it has chord changes and textures thanks to the skill of the musicians.</p> <p>Blues Harmonica Solo Points<br /> &sect; Dynamics - changes in volume<br /> &sect; Dramatic solo &ndash; moves the listener.<br /> &sect; Sheets of Sound? - harmonica plays chord patterns over the bass line<br /> &sect; Street Harmonica Player &ndash; sounds like street blues harp</p> <p>Little Walter grew up playing blues harmonica on the street for change from age eight,  Do you feel the street in his playing?  Maxwell St. in Chicago was the most famous place and I visited it many times as a kid growing up in the area. Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Boy williamson, BB King - they ALL got their start playing the blues on street corners</p> <p>***********************************<br /> <i>"Hate To See You Go"</i> by Little Walter</p> <p>How is this song similar to Roller Coaster?<br /> How does it differ?</p> <p>***********************************<br /> <i>"Nobody But You"</i> by Little Walter</p> <p>Lyrics - In most blues songs sing the first line first and the third lines rhymes with the other two and completes the thought. In this song, notice the lyrics do not rhyme.</p> <p>Notice the songs has a jzzy feel, the bass player plays a walking bass line and the drummer uses brushes. The hamonica solo begins on the 2nd beat of the measure.</p> <p>This is an excellent example of how the pause is used in Black Music and blues to create interest by the soloist. In other words, it's funky cool to play layed back solos.</p> <p>************************************<br /> <i>"Key To The Highway"</i> recorded by Little Walter</p> <p>Expanded instrumentation - piano, guitar, bass, drums, sax and hamronica. Notice the piano plays fast licks (phrases) against a slow song. This technique accents the vocals and creates and exciting contrast for the listener. The piano has lots of adrenalin, another characheritsic of blues musicians from BB King to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Hendrix and Eric Clapton. It creates an interesting contrast.</p> <p>************************************<br /> <i>"Hoochie Coochie Man"</i> recorded by Muddy Waters</p> <p>Muddy Waters, father of Chicago blues, recorded the song with Little Walter on harmonica. In Black Music, players make a slight pause before and between their phrases that grabs the listener&rsquo;s attention. Do you hear the pause?</p> <p>On this song, Little Walter is playing straight blues harmonica. He is using and "A" harmonica to play a song in the key of "A". Notice you don't hear the quarter tone bends on that are chasrastic of the "cross harp" style &ndash; that is when you use a "D" harmonica to play a song in the key of "A". Notice the straght harp has more of a country sound and the the licks are simple by comparison to "cross harp".</p> <p><b>Howlin wolf - Blues Harmonica</b></p> <p>Howlin&rsquo; Wolf had a country feel to his Chicago blues harmonica and his solos were more accompaniment than a true blues harp solo.</p> <p>************************************<br /> <i>Smokestack Lightnin'</i> by Holwin' Wolf</p> <p>This song was also recorded by the Rolling Stones. Smokestack Lightnin' is a one chord vamp... the dynamics and "feel" of the musicians make the song intersting. Howlin' Wolf chose songs on which he could "howl" - using his trademark nasal, whine and growl. Howling Wolf's harmonica solos are more accompaniement than solos compared to Little Walter.</p> <p>************************************<br /> <i>&ldquo;EVIL&rdquo;</i> by Howlin' Wolf</p> <p>Howlin Wolf sings and plays blues harmonica licks between the lyrics. The way he sings the word "evil" give me the shivers.</p> <p><b>Sonny Boy Williamson - Blues Harmonica</b></p> <p>Sonny Boy Williamson wrote and played defined the played Howlin&rsquo; Wolf had a country feel to his Chicago blues harmonica and his solos were more accompaniment than a true blues harp solo.</p> <p>"************************************<br /> &ldquo;Bring It On Home" by Sonny Boy Williamson</p> <p>"Bring It On Home" inspired me to learn to play the harmonica. I couldn't play a damn thing until my best friend Steve Cohen told me one day he found the secret&hellip;.</p> <p>Sonny Boy was playing "cross harp". The song is in the key of "E" and Sonny Boy was using an "A" harmonica. Steve and I were using "E" harmonicas to play the song in "E". I was stunned and had to learn from the beginning. Soon I was able to play real blues licks just  like Sonny Boy, Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter.</p> <p>"************************************<br /> "One Way Out" - by Sonny Boy Williamson</p> <p>One Way Out was also performed by Duane Allman, the slide guitar player that recorded the album LAYLA with Eric Clapton.</p> <p>************************************<br /> "Checkin' Up On My Baby" by Sonny Boy Williamson</p> <p>Classic Chicago blues tune played by every blues band. </blockquote> <p> <center> <p> <b><font size=-2><a href="http://www.bluesforpeace.com/bfp-classes.htm">Blues Guitar</a> | <a href="http://www.bluesforpeace.com/songlist.htm">Blues Lyrics</a> | <a href="http://www.bluesforpeace.com/clapton.htm">Eric Clapton</a> | <a href="http://www.bluesforpeace.com/blues-mp3.htm">Blues Mp3's</a> | <a href="http://www.bluesforpeace.com/events.htm ">Blues Concerts</a> | <a href="http://www.bluesforpeace.com/eric-clapton.htm">Blues Video</a></font></b></center> <hr width="80%" /> <font size="-2">"&copy; 1998-2004 Blues for Peace Corporation. 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