Can anyone play Smokestack Lightning?

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

Can anyone play Smokestack Lightning?

Postby Arcadiandj » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:53 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LNt5J0Cesc

To my newbie ears, this song sounds doable, but for the life of me I can't find it or anything very close. He sounds like he's playing chords, or is he toungue blocking or something different. To me it doesn't sound like he's playing single notes. If anyone has suggestions or guidance I would be very thankful. Best wishes.
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Re: Can anyone play Smokestack Lightning?

Postby mike932 » Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:54 am

Great song. I can't tell what type of harp he is using due to his huge hands. The man was BIG. I get that sound from tongue blocking a hohner 364, MB and from a valved harp. The cool thing about 364's is the low notes will resonate for a long time, if I play play softly on the upper notes afet giving the low notes a blast. Tongue blocking on the MB works , but it is tricky. I was at my Mothers house the other day and she gave me my deceased step Dad's harps, one of which is a valved Hohner. The thing is old , but sounds great, almost like an organ.
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Re: Can anyone play Smokestack Lightning?

Postby barbequebob » Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:05 pm

I've seen Howlin' Wolf live several times before he passed away and he's playing a stock MB (there weren't any custom diatonics available then) in the key of A played in E. It's not difficult in terms of the notes, but the big thing is getting his acoustic tone and learning to play a very slow vibrato, and that's the toughest aspect of it.

BTW, he never played thru an amp, and he always played thru the PA.
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Re: Can anyone play Smokestack Lightning?

Postby mike932 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:34 am

Hey Barbqbob,

Have you used a 364? maybe that is a silly question, I am sure you have. Anyways do you understand what I was trying to explain , I am not good at giving instructions. I like the way the 364s low notes hang in there after being played. When I give the lows a good honk , I quickly play soft at ocatve, sound pretty cool.
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Re: Can anyone play Smokestack Lightning?

Postby barbequebob » Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:32 pm

I've played 364's and 365's, and the Low C 365 I use is the same one I bought back in 1973, and when I bought a spare for it back in the late 80's, the newer one was really crappy. I think (??) I understand what you're trying to say. :? However, on those harps, if you hit those low notes too hard, they'll rattle like crazy.
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