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Harmonica Lessons: "Freight Train"

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Gonna do a little finger
picking for you on the guitar.
You should just picture
an old woman sitting on
a front porch with a guitar and
just playing this thing.
It's Elizabeth Cotton and she made
up this song and it's kind of sad.
It's about freight train,
freight train, going so fast.
Freight train, freight train goes so fast.
It was about hearing the train as it goes
by her house and talk about when she dies,
she wants to be buried in
a place where she can still hear
the freight train coming by.
I mean, that's heavy.
[LAUGH] And [LAUGH] this is
one of the first tunes that
anyone learns on guitar when
they're playing finger style.
It's pretty easy, but it's real beautiful.
It's got some chords.
It's in C.
[SOUND] So it goes C to G.
G then C and then it goes E7 to F and
then C, G, C.
Its 16 bars long,
its not a blues progression, but
its kind of like ragtime is got
a little bit of ragtime in it.
Its kind of county and its kind of
bluesy and its got the things from all
these different places, which is why
its such a universally love song.
Now on the harmonica,
if you're gonna play this melody,
it starts on the sixth hole blow
in first position on a C harp.
Pretty easy, then it's sixth hole draw.
This note sort of fits into the gaps that
were there before from the first melody.
[SOUND] It's G, E, D, C [SOUND] and
then A, F, D [SOUND] E, D.
[SOUND] And then.
So it's five,
blow, five, draw,
five blow, four draw.
Four blow, four draw, four blow.
[SOUND] Then down to three blow,
up to four draw.
[SOUND] Very simple.
Now the thing is that some people like
Chet Atkins, great deceased guitar player.
He did these real fancy variations on them
that were really great and I played a lot
with Pat Donahue, who is the guitarist
on the Prairie Home Companion Show and
he does ridiculous stuff with it, but it
still retains its basic soulful quality.
So I'm gonna play a little bit
along with my fake guitar track,
just for a first position easy stuff.
And then gonna show you a few things
that if you work at it, you can do,
that have to do with tongue blocking.
A few little bends here and
there and here it comes.
Finger picking
So you have and then the beat.
Like that.
Your tongue block it.
play some of
the chords
up here.
I even used
an over
blow on
[LAUGH] Sorry.
[LAUGH] For beginners, but
just to show you what you can do.
I tend to play the E arpeggio,
[SOUND] you need to have
some bending skills,
[SOUND] which is why, usually,
when harmonica players,
if you hear people playing
over tunes with changes
like this and
they keep trying to play chords.
[SOUND] You hear the wrong chord.
It's a C major chord over E major chord,
where the E major has a G-sharp
in it [SOUND] and C has a G.
[SOUND] Sounds like a car horn,
[LAUGH] a traffic jam.
So great tune, something for
beginners to learn how to play.
If you have a friend who's a finger style
guitar player learning some basic finger
It's a tune you can play together and
I'll do another lesson on it,
where I play it in cross harp later on.
Take care.