it all comes back to the same riffs

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

it all comes back to the same riffs

Postby Erikjr21 » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:25 am

Does anyone have anytips on avoiding over playing the same riffs and getting some variety in your playing?
Erikjr21
Regular
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:23 am

Postby bosco » Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:10 pm

One of the best analogies I have heard is from David Barrett in his Chicago Blues Harp I lesson.

He likes to think of riffs as individual pieces sitting on a shelf. You take one down, plug it in to your playing and then put it back on the shelf. Then you can take another piece down and use it.

It's a bit easier to keep inventory of your licks with a simple mindset like this than to just play at random because most players return to their best licks too often out of habit. Also, if you learn each of your riffs forewards and backwards, or ascending and decending, you automatically double the number of pieces you have sitting on your shelf.

Remember to let the music breathe as you play, (whether it's a band, jam tracks or just you tapping your foot) you don't have to play constantly which is a factor that contributes to retreating to those familiar licks too often. Have fun!

Bosco
User avatar
bosco
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 1505
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:36 am
Location: Michigan

Postby songdog » Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:55 pm

A good trick is start a new lick on a different hole. Too many times blues players get stuck starting on the 2 and 4 holes. So for the next lick, start on the 1 hole or 6 hole and just see where it takes you.
User avatar
songdog
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:01 pm

Postby scrapboss » Thu Sep 21, 2006 3:15 pm

If you are playing the same riff over/over on every song then you need to practice and learn a whole bag of riffs. Not to say that you can't use the same riffs in different songs just have to mix it up like Bosco said.


To play the same riff through a single song is not a bad thing. One example I can think of is James Cotton playing with Muddy on the Hard Again recording. He can play a riff/make it the hook through the entire song and make you want to hear it some more.

What a line up that recording is Muddy - Cotton -Pinetop - Winters
There is a song in those 4 names right there. :)
User avatar
scrapboss
Regular
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:23 am
Location: Illinois, USA

Postby dcblues » Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:08 pm

Learn melodies. Don't look at what you play as "licks" but as parts of a song. Learn the melodies of the songs you play and use those bent notes as notes that are parts of the melodies (not just a bluesy sound - a lot of beginners never learn that bends are for notes that are not natuarally on the harmonica).

Also, don't just listen to blues. You can get ideas and inspiration from all kinds of music.
User avatar
dcblues
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 1398
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Postby Henri VIII » Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:05 pm

Hey DCBlues,

I'm a new player and I'm interested in what you said about melodic playing.

Can you suggest some harp players who try to include the melody in their playing?

Thanks,
Henri
Henri VIII
Regular
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:59 pm
Location: Central Florida

Postby dcblues » Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:42 pm

Henry, Phil Wiggins does a lot (and he also plays excellent rhythm). I saw in another post that you're into Piedmont blues. Cephas & Wiggins are two of the best working Piedmont players.

Listen to how Big Walter accompanies Jimmy Rogers on "Walking By Myself." He plays the melody all through the verses and doesn't step on the vocals. And that song has one of the all time great Chicago blues harp solos.

Slip Harpo had a pretty melodic style that's easy to learn from.

I'll try to think of some more examples.
User avatar
dcblues
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 1398
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Postby steel1953 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 5:44 am

I have to agree with DC blues.........Phil Wiggins is a great player. Definitely one of my inspirations.......
Melodies.......I'll listen to a melody, and try to play it on the harp. Went to choir practice, learned a nice melody, and put it on the harp on the way home. This is a GREAT exercise for playing those bent notes.
The other day on television they had a cereal commercial with harp. He was playing "Only have Eyes for You". Beautiful, soulful melody and once again, great exercise for the lower part of your harp. It can be any melody. Listen to smooth jazz. The hooks are generally bluesy in nature, but phrased differently.
Like Bosco said also, breathe. There's times when someone else is playing, I don't even play, specially if they're soloing in a band context. Makes when you play count all the more. Or play in a short lick, Q?Answer method. When you leave space between licks, it leaves people waiting/wanting to hear whats next.
Listen and learn licks from anyone. Do something you can't do. Don't just do what you already can do.

Last, and the one thing I learned from B.B.King. Take just 3 notes ( or 3 holes in the harp ), and practice to a shuffle or something. Make at least 20 different licks with those 3 notes. That dude says more with 3 notes than most do with 30!
Good luck! Have fun.........
steel1953
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:18 pm
Location: W. Peoria, Illinois

Postby bluemoose » Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:36 pm

Hi All:

steel's last comment on practicing with just 3 holes jogged my memory a
bit to something either Dave Barrett or Charlie Musslewhite suggests,
can't remember which, but they will select out a section of the harp
and only practice using that section for several days or a week. As well
Dave talks about building a solo by starting using only say the bottom
three holes then next chorus or verse add up to the 6 hole. Run that for
a bit and then open right up to all 10.
Doing something along those lines would help break out of the lick rut
as well.

moose.
User avatar
bluemoose
Regular
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 5:49 pm
Location: Vancouver BC Canada

Postby jeffl » Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:57 pm

I think many of us have gotten the feeling at times that we're playin' the same riffs over and over again, including myself. One of the things that helped me was learning to play the riffs off of cover tunes; it will force you to learn riffs and techniques that you haven't incorporated into your playing style before. With luck, you will incorporate pieces of other peoples' riffs into your own, and come up with slightly different riffs. Playing music is a balancing act between putting slightly different spins on the same notes, and giving people enough recognizable stuff so that they feel comfortable. There isn't much new to play after all these years, and people want to hear some things they recognize- whether it's a combination of notes, or cover tunes with their identifying riffs or licks. One of the reasons that jazz has never had broad acceptance in clubs- especially in smaller markets- is because improvisational jazz stretches peoples' acceptance levels beyond their comfort levels. The real basic cure for repetitiveness is to broaden one's repertoire of cover music, and transfer it to your tunes,IMO.
jeffl
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 4051
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:04 pm

Postby songdog » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:09 pm

Yeh I went to one of Dave Barrett's workshops. One of the things he stresses, to build better solos, is to use the whole harp and not start every lick on the 4 hole.

In one of his workshops he will divide a group of 30 people into smaller groups of 5 or 6 and each group has to create a hook/solo/finish to a shuffle with each student playing 12 bars. One of the ground rules is that nobody can start their solo on the 4 hole and each member of the group has to start their solo on a different hole from the others in the group.

It's a very good technique for pulling yourself out of the soloing rut. It's also a very good technique for helping you to remember licks that you have already learned but are collecting dust in your noggin.
User avatar
songdog
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:01 pm


Return to Blues Harp

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron