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Harmonica Lessons: Bend Simply: Notating Bends

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This is the trick about the second hole,
is that to try to separate when it's
bent from when it's not bent.
And I can move it slowly or
differentiatively between F and F sharp.
I'm not articulating anything
with the inside of my mouth.
Although if I wanted to
I could attack each note separately.
Going back and
forth between F and
G, F and F sharp.
And, with harmonica tablature, there are
ways that people write this down as well.
And I should just show you a little of
that, I'm just gonna draw it for you.
I personally don't like thinking of
things that I'm playing as
holes with arrows and symbols.
But it's very helpful when you're
learning how to bend notes.
So if I could move back to this
board here, I'll show you.
Two draw is G.
Two draw bend, which is a little
symbol that I made up years ago.
I just made a little bend.
If you just bend it down a half step,
I just put one little
slash on this bent line.
That's a G flat or
F sharp, and then 2 draw, bent
down 2 half steps all the way, is an F.
So it's two draw bend.
Two draw bend.
Bending a half step,
bending two half steps or a whole step.
Those are the little
symbols that I use and
sometimes it's helpful to look at that and
say, that's what I'm doing.
And then sometimes it's helpful
to check it on the keyboard.
So when you can
do the second hole bend,
you can do some of
the most basic blues
licks that you've
heard, like
What is that?
Hoochie Coochie Man, and all those
kind of songs that Muddy Waters did.
And Born in Chicago.
And Walking Blues.
It's all the same thing, you're just
bending the second hole down or
hitting it bent and letting it bend up.
Now that one
I bent the second hole.
I bent the first hole.
And then I went up to the fourth hole.
And I went.
And I slid over the third hole.
Back to the second hole.
So you can see that playing blues in
cross harp, you're largely playing
the draw notes because that's
where all the expression is.
When you're playing the blues, you want
to get that bendy expressive thing.
The chord's there
and all the bends are there
the flatted fifth
And then the flatted
seventh on the bottom.
Which is the second hole draw bend.
And then the flatted fifth down here.
I'm doing a little throat tremolo,
I'll show you that later.
That's that throat tremolo.
That's that real,
real gutsy blues sound I'll, like I said,
I'll teach you how to
do that a little later.
So you can see that by being able
to just bend these few notes here,
you turn from a beginner to a blues
harmonica player very, very quickly.
And that's what happened to me the first
day that I figured out how to bend a note.
Now you can see how that can
happen cuz you don't have
to be an expert to play
these simple blues licks,
cuz they're really pretty easy.
Once you learn how to bend these notes,
it's like learning how to ride a bicycle,
you never forget how to do it.
It's just instinct.
And people, when you do this even for your
friends, people are just really knocked
out by this cuz there's something about
the harmonica that just touches people.
It touches their hearts,
it touches their soul.
Cuz there's just nothing quite like
even if you don't do it that well.
>> Even if you're doing a little
Even if you think you know how
to bend the note and you don't.
People will go, whoa, that's great.
And that's one of the problems with the
harmonica is that some people say, yeah,
I know how to bend a note.
[SOUND] It's like, no,
you're not bending a note,
you're going wee wee wee and
you're flapping your hand around but
you're not going
so try to avoid that because I know
sometimes you can get really excited
if you think you're bending a note.
I bent a note!
I bent a note!
No, you didn't, not quite.
So once again, second hole.
You can practice this along with me.
I'm gonna bend down.
Now I'm gonna
hit it bent and bend up.
Don't forget to breath.
Then going back and forth.
Now from
the top down,
I'm not gonna worry about F-sharp,
its just G to F.
Okay, I think that's quite a bit to work
on with the second hole draw bend for now.
And later we'll do all sorts of other
things with it, including the F-sharp.