Positions

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Positions

Postby eline » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:40 pm

I've been playin harp for some time now, yet I only recently discovered that I play harp in various positions. In other words, I read the books after I learned how to play. One position that perplexes me is 1st position. I know I can follow along with songs that are played in 1st, but when I try to improv on my own, it doesn't come as natural as 2nd or 3rd positions. Any suggestions?

Peace,
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RE: Positions

Postby jeffl » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:48 pm

I'm not sure what style you're interested in, but some guys who play harp in 1st position,racked,are Bob Dylan,Neil Young,Steve Earle,Tom Petty (see Bob Dylan),and a slough of Country harpers. You could listen to some of their music. There's more blow 'n' suck chording involved. The most famous tune ever done in 1st position is "The Blowensuck Polka",lol!
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RE: Positions

Postby dcblues » Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:56 am

First postion can be great for blues, especially on a G or A harp. I pretty much learned everything I needed to know about first position blues from two Big Walter recordings: "Trouble In Mind" and "Hard Hearted Woman."

Jimmy Reed played a lot of first position and so did most of the great prewar players. Check out the two Yazoo compilations, Harmonica Blues and Harp Blowers.

Here's a track where I play a G harp in G:

http://acousticblues.com/sounds.html (click on "Special Agent").
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RE: Positions

Postby jeffl » Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:47 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-31-06 AT 09:47 PM (EST)]DCB: before I even learned there was a 2nd position (8th and 9th grade, I s'pose) I played alotta jammin' blues in 1st position; thanks for remindin' me. I was very happy though,when I discovered cross-harp.
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RE: Positions

Postby harp54 » Sun Apr 02, 2006 11:49 am

If you are playing blues you might be interested in this.

Blowing on the 1 and 4 with a tongue slap on 2,3 for a fat kind of honk sound.

Working the 2 and 3 bends (3 is a real soulful sound) up the the 4 blow and getting into the turnaround with draw blow combination on 2 then down to a blow on 1.

Then of course getting up on the top end blows with some serious bends. The melody of 'Brightlights Big City' is a great song for practising this.

Remember ofcourse to not blow too hard on the top end, gets kind of uncomfortable for those in the front row and don't stay to long up there.

One cheap but effective note is the 9 blow and just sit on it as long as you can, unless you have mastered the mysterious art of circular breathing (new topic maybe?)

Hope it helps.
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RE: Positions

Postby eline » Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:00 pm

The melody "Bright Lights Big City" is by who?
Circular Breathing? Maybe your right, we probably should start a new topic.

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RE: Positions

Postby dcblues » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:58 am

>The melody "Bright Lights Big City" is by who?

Jimmy Reed.
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