Blues Riffs for practice

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

Blues Riffs for practice

Postby jagarner70 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:26 pm

I am looking for some new riffs that I can practice and memorize. Any favorites?
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Postby ricochet » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:29 pm

How about Robert Johnson's little run at the end of a verse in "Come On In My Kitchen?"

Oops! This is the harp board. Well, I'll bet it'd sound good on harp, too, if you can pull it off.
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A little more info needed

Postby jagarner70 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:40 pm

I will try any riffs but I am not capable of figuring the tabs or notes needed but 'll see if the song is on the Robert Johnson cd that I have. If so, I'll give it a listen and see if it makes sense to me.
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Postby dblues » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:07 pm

Just make up your own.
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Postby songdog » Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:52 pm

Yeah, I've found it really helps me if I can just listen to a riff and play it back. Tabs are nice, but they are almost meaningless to me unless I can hear the riff too. It helps if you have a pretty good ear. I don't have perfect pitch but get by and play mostly by ear.

Here are couple of computer tools that can help ya dissect songs:

The Amazing Slowdowner at http://www.ronimusic.com is great for both harp and guitar. It will slow down a song without changing the pitch.

The Bendometer at http://www.harpsoft.com shows you what notes are being played on a harp.

I hope this helps.
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blues harp starters

Postby colmanL » Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:05 am

if your just starting on blues harp and you really want to blow some blues
learn from the masters.START with the 3 main styles of blues harp playing. start with sonny terry ,you`ll pick up all that great chuggin` and whoopin` then sonny boy williamson [rice miller] blues ala`mode,and
the last word in blowin` little walter, these 3 cover the basic and final
say on harp in blues. you learn these 3 styles an man you`ll know..
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start with sonny terry

Postby jagarner70 » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:44 pm

what exactly do you mean when you say start with sonny terry? should I buy a cd and listen/try to imitate what I am hearing? If so, what disc would you recommend? are there books regarding sonny terry? If so, what are they? Thanks.
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Postby bosco » Sat Jul 29, 2006 5:14 pm

start with sonny terry... then sonny boy williamson [rice miller]...and then the last word in blowin` little walter, these 3 cover the basics.

Jag-

With all due respect to ColmanL, all of that is A LOT easier said than done. Harpers have spent careers and lifetimes trying to emulate the styles of these masters and still can't get it all right. These three spent their entire lifetimes developing their individual styles, so how are you going to master all three styles in your one lifetime?

Terry is one of the hardest to copy. Period. That is why you hear very few harpers doing tributes to Terry. If you want to try, I'd suggest getting the video lesson," The Ins and Outs of Rhytym Harp" by Peter Madcat Ruth. There is a whole segment devoted to Terry, slowed down dramatically to learn the system of chugs, breathing and whoops. I can't stress enough that this is very advanced material. I've tackled and given up on the lesson several times myself. Terry was superhuman to possess breathing patterns like that and not hyperventilate, run out of air or lose the rhythym.

Sonny Boy II was 6'5", had hands a foot long and was a freak of nature. His hand wahs and bawling harp style may never be duplicated again.

Walter was... well Walter. The single most heralded harpslinger to ever inhabit the planet. His ability to create endless combinations out of the limited notes available on a diatonic harp has yet to be matched.

Would I listen to these three masters catalogs? Absolutely. Try to pick up licks and chops to incorporate into your playing. Would I diligently study and try to master the three? Probably not, you would just be setting the bar too high. The odds are astronomical that you'll never be able to play like those three, and why would you want to?

Look at it this way. How many guitar players have worshipped at the altar of SRV and gotten a fair handle on the style, only to be dismissed as the latest Stevie Ray copycat/clone by serious blues aficiondos. The answer is plenty, I assure you.

If you don't have the Portnoy harmonica masterclass yet, get it. Jerry covers every technique there is on a harp. Notice I did not say style. Get the blues version of "Band In The Pocket" CD to play along with and develop your own style incorporating snippets of the masters reportoire. There's a tremendous personal reward for creating your own harp parts and style...just as there can be a lot of frustration and disappointment in trying to duplicate the work of the masters.

Just my .02 cents worth, mileage may vary.

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learning harp

Postby colmanL » Sat Jul 29, 2006 6:38 pm

when i bring up the 3 main styles to cover,i mean that you should
assimilate all that you can from these greats.nobody will ever copy these guys totaly. blues is a language of sound to talk,sing & scream etc.
any book or vidio or any thing to learn from is great.. to "assimilate" from
these 3 masters style you`ll be carryin` on the blues tradition.....
even these cats had to ;learn from sombody so i chose to start with them
and i`m so glad.......
------------- :!:
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Postby scrapboss » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:01 pm

Get the blues version of "Band In The Pocket" CD to play along with and develop your own style incorporating snippets of the masters reportoire. There's a tremendous personal reward for creating your own harp parts and style...just as there can be a lot of frustration and disappointment in trying to duplicate the work of the masters.


I second this recomendation. I wish I would have had this while I was learning to play harp. I am glad I have it now that I am learning slide licks on guitar. I find I don't have to force myself to keep practicing. I actually enjoy it. My wife might tell you something different. :evil: Check http://www.guitarcenter.com/guitarmageddonthey had some backing tracks on there for the King of the Blues guitar contest. They have some great tracks for jamming and practice. Having the tracks to jam with will make it alot easier for you to create your own licks and play/practice the ones you "borrow" from others.

sorry had the wrong link.
Last edited by scrapboss on Thu Sep 21, 2006 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jeffl » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:36 pm

I have discovered that the licks I learned while jus' jammin' on my own kinda became my "signature" licks,and I may tend to over use them at times, while the licks I've forced myself to learn off of recordings become 2nd nature after a while, and I begin to use parts of them in tunes other than the ones they originated in (which is nice). So, there is definitely a place for both jammin' and "copping". Learning other guys' licks will definitely force you to learn techniques you weren't previously acquainted with. It can take years to figure out how guys do certain things. I struggled with a trick of Corky Siegel's for years, where he starts out on a note, and splits it in two,and takes the top note up to the octave,and the bottom note down to the octave, on a slow bend. I finally accidentally stumbled onto the fact that he was doin' it with feedback,lol. After discovering that, doin' it was easy every time.
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Postby dcblues » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:19 am

You're seriously missing out if you don't listen to Big Walter and George Smith. Also, Jr. Wells, John Lee Williamson (the first Sonny Boy), DeFord Bailey and all of the other grear prewar players.
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Postby Erikjr21 » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:22 am

I dont know how knew you are to playing but if your completly new, you should just run a search of "learn harmonica free" and check out pages there are a few with the up and down riff, and good morning riff, there are also a few blues scales to work on. I own a jon gindick book that has a few easy to learn rifs that can be practiced over and over to help with technics and just have in your arsanal. 8)
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