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Harmonica Lessons: "Mr. Bojangles" C Harp

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[MUSIC]
So this tune, Mr. Bojangles,
is one of the easier tunes
to play on the harmonica
if you're a beginner in the basic
section here just starting out.
It's also a tune that I
think a lot of people know.
And if you weren't around when it was
written or when it was on the radio,
you've probably heard it
in an elevator somewhere.
[LAUGH] So,
this is the harmonica that a lot of you
received when you joined the school.
I'm going to open up this case,
and take the harmonica out.
And I'm gonna see if all the holes work.
[MUSIC]
Just blowing straight across.
[MUSIC]
Drawing straight across,
it sounds totally fine.
Hohner Special 20 in the key of C.
And this tune is in the key of C.
And the first note that you
play is the fifth hole blow.
So if you're just starting on
the harmonica, what you can do,
you can look at my lessons
on how to get a single note.
Once you figure that out, you slide in.
You count five of them.
[MUSIC]
That's five I believe, one, two,
three, four, five.
Five blow.
And the tune starts.
[MUSIC]
Yeah, actually on three it's a jump.
[MUSIC]
It really helps if you know the words of
the song, so you might wanna even
listen to a recording of it,
with someone singing it.
You have to jump from three to five.
[SOUND] This will take
a little while to do smoothly.
[MUSIC]
Five blow, four draw, four blow.
[MUSIC]
Then up to six draw.
[MUSIC]
And six blow.
[MUSIC]
Twice and then six draw.
[MUSIC]
And seven draw, and six blow.
[MUSIC]
Five blow, four draw, four blow.
[MUSIC]
Five blow, four draw,
four blow, four draw.
You get a feeling for this in and
out breathing thing after a while.
And then the chorus comes in,
Mr. Bojangles.
[MUSIC]
It's a very easy tune.
You'll notice that you won't get
all the vocal inflections that
a singer can get in first position,
playing this in C on a C harp.
But at least it's a start, okay?
Here we go, I'm gonna play
along with the track for you.
And I'm gonna try to stay
in this basic technique.
Maybe I'll throw in a few little
things to give you a clue in
the second course of where you
might eventually end up, okay?
[SOUND] There's the count off.
Boom.
[MUSIC]
Just one
verse and
now the
chorus.
[MUSIC]
Bend a bit
of B chord
if you want.
The second verse.
[MUSIC]
Bent the fourth hole draw a little bit.
[MUSIC]
I bent six draw.
[MUSIC]
A little
warble
here.
No bends, though.
[MUSIC]
I went all the way
up to eight blow.
[MUSIC]
Playing
thirds, just
two holes next
to each other.
[MUSIC]
Some hand vibrato.
All different kinds of things you can do,
sometimes just by feel.
[MUSIC]
Sometimes, if you're starting on this
tune, you don't even have to
try to get one note at a time.
[MUSIC]
It almost plays
itself on the harmonica.
[MUSIC]
And sometimes some of you might find
yourselves almost bending by feel.
[MUSIC]
Even if you didn't study how to bend,
some people just naturally
start doing it on their own.
It's that bike riding thing,
sometimes you just,
some people learn how to ride
a biker quicker than others.
I have to tell you,
just one little note from myself to you,
is that it took me six months to
figure out how to bend a note.
Of course,
nobody could show me at the time.
There was hardly anyone teaching.
I just couldn't figure it out, and then
as soon as I figured it out, I started
playing all of these blues licks that I
had heard other people play for years.
And I started making
progress really quickly.
So there's a lot of different
ways to progress on a harmonica.
Hope you enjoy playing this tune.
[MUSIC]