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Harmonica Lessons: Bend Simply: Vibrations and Advice

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[MUSIC]
This is one reason why harmonica players
who play the blues,
they always have a harp with them
because it's also a great
feeling to bend a note.
There's something about it.
It's not just a technique,
cuz these reeds,
when they vibrate,
it's like there is something alive.
This instrument is made of wood or
plastic.
This one's wood and
different kinds of metal, including brass,
the reeds are little brass reeds and
the plates are little brass reed plates,
and the reed cover plates are made
of nickel or some sort of steel.
It's just something that sits around.
When you pick it up, and play it with
bends, this instrument comes alive.
It develops, it becomes
something that's almost organic.
[MUSIC]
And it's very compelling to other people,
but also to you as the player.
It becomes something that you,
some people practice meditation and
yoga and you do all of this exercise and
are runners, and
all sorts of stuff like that,
the harmonica is one of those things.
There's something about it,
when you get into bending notes,
there's something incredibly absorbing,
and it creates this universe that's,
vibrating right through your skull, and
into your ears, and into your brain.
[MUSIC]
And
you can bend
two notes
at once there.
[MUSIC]
Warble.
[MUSIC]
I didn't do anything
fast, or fancy, but
it just feels great to do it.
Sounds great, I mean, you don't have
to know that much to play some simple
blues licks, if you get out in front of
an audience and play that kind of stuff,
people really, really go crazy,
cuz it touches them in their heart, and
that's the beauty of this instrument,
and that's why a lot of you are here.
It's because you wanna have that
experience, and also some of you who wanna
become professional musicians,
want to impart that to other people,
and it makes you feel good
to get up on stage and
wail and have people jump up and down and
shout and respond to what you're doing.
So this is a powerful little
instrument right here.
So now I've shown you how to bend one,
four,
and six, and then two and three.
And I want you to spend a lot
of time doing that but also to,
you'll discover these little blues licks,
listen to all the great blues players,
listen to Little Walter, listen to Big
Walter, listen to Sonny Boy Williamson,
there's two of them, there might be
even three, I can't remember how many.
Listen to those guys who
are the more country players.
Listen to the urban blues
players like James Cotton and
the great Paul Butterfield who
was my initial inspiration.
Listen to Junior Wells who was
one of my big favorites, and
all sorts of modern guys,
William Clarke, God rest his soul,
was a fantastic blues player, and there's
tons of guys around today who play great.
If you get a chance to go out and hear
somebody in your town wherever you might
live, someone's playing the blues
harmonica, go out and check them out.
Cuz the more you see people do this live,
the more it will rub off on you,
the more you immerse yourself
in the world of live music,
the better a player you're gonna be.
So that's my advice you,
is to practice all this stuff, but
also to go listen to as many recordings
as you can of great blues players.
Go hear people live.
Once you get better at this stuff,
go sit in, if
there's a blues jam session in your town,
go and sit there and watch everybody,
and if you feel brave enough, and
if you understand the music well enough,
eventually you would be able to get
up on the stage and sit in yourself.
So good luck.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
This would be a good time for
you to send in a video to show me how
well you're doing with your bending.
You can do it probably not just one hole.
But if you practice,
if you get bends on holes one,
two, three, four, and six.
Once you get all those bends happening.
Send it to me and
I'll give you a critique back.
And cuz they're all part of the picture.
Okay?
Show me that you can bend from and
unbent note down to a bent note.
Hit it bent and let it up, go back and
forth, and if you've figured out some
of those simple blues licks that I showed
you, put a few of those on there, too.
And I welcome receivings.
[MUSIC]