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Harmonica Lessons: First Position Blues

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[MUSIC]
So first
position blues.
Thing about it that's frustrating
is you can't get the same blues
licks in the middle of a harmonica
that you can in cross-harp.
You can't get the flatted
seven in the middle octave.
It's just not there.
If you're in C [SOUND] you
can't get the flatted third.
There's no way to bend to an E flat.
It just isn't there.
Because the fifth hole is E and F [SOUND].
You can't bend the E down it's
already the lower note on the hole.
Okay, you can't get
the flatted fifth in C [SOUND].
You can't get the F sharp,
because the F sharp,
you'd have to bend down
from a higher note.
And the higher note G [SOUND] is the lower
note on the sixth hole, below A [SOUND].
So, we can't bend anything
in the middle octave.
That's the traditional blues [SOUND].
So what are we gonna do?
Well, what the guys did
back in the 1920s and 30s.
They totally avoided the middle
of the harmonica and
they found some bends and the bottom and
the top of the harmonica.
And it's not exact as playing
the blues in the second position but
[SOUND].
I mean it's pretty bluesy.
It's a pretty cool sound [SOUND].
That's one [SOUND] and the flat
seven [SOUND] and the five [SOUND].
And you can bend the five
down to the flat five.
[SOUND] It's two draw.
[SOUND] Or do the four.
But you can't bend the third [SOUND].
So it's this sound, again,
it reminds me more of bottle neck guitar
where a guy is playing
across an open tuning and
sliding that slide across it [SOUND].
So it's a major third [SOUND].
If you did that on a blues,
you know, like if you did a [SOUND].
It would sound really corny on a piano.
But some how,
in first position on the harmonica,
the bottom,
it's the only thing you can do,
somehow it sounds cool [SOUND].
And then you can hit
that octave with that.
[SOUND]
[MUSIC]
And there are some
nice licks.
Especially when you get to the five chord.
Because when you're in the key of C on the
harmonica, the five chord [SOUND] is G.
So when you hit the five.
[SOUND] You're in cross harp and
it's really strong.
So there's a side benefit
to playing in this key.
The four chord is the key of F and
there's no real F chord
on the C harmonica so
can't do anything quarter
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC]
All right,
well that's the bottom of the harmonica,
the traditional licks in first position.
[MUSIC]
Now I'll go up to the top.
But I've already played some of them for
you.
But
[MUSIC]
from the seventh hole you can get that
flat third on the [SOUND]
on eighth hole blow bend,
[SOUND] flat fifth on
the ninth hole low bend and
the flat seventh on the tenth hole.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
>> So
now, I'd like to play for you a slow
blues in first position on the G harp,
in the key of G,
because it's a more pleasing sound, and
it's more of what traditional
blues players would do.
So, I'm gonna use my friend, the pianist
Harvey Levy, who is my imaginary twin,
and we're gonna do slow blues in G.
[MUSIC]
Five
chord.
[MUSIC]
Top
of the harp.
[MUSIC]
See,
I went down,
using second
position, on
the five chord,
I can do that long
blues lick.
[MUSIC]
You can do a few little
things in the middle.
It's that pentatonic scale.
[MUSIC]
Pentatonic.
[MUSIC]