Bluegrass is a musical genre featured by its quick, cheerful and spontaneous phrases. I’ve come up with 7 bluegrass harmonica licks for you in this lesson. These licks are characterized by combinations of double notes they manoeuvre, execution of notes with the bending technique and other nuances such as the ‘dip’ on hole 3 draw etc.
The exercises, I’ve included for you in this lesson, are lively but require swift action, and they target both intermediate and advanced level students. You may notice rather quick combinations of 4 notes at some points where each set signifies a value of one sixteenth. Furthermore, you’ll find some licks exhibiting rhythmic formations when played with bending on double notes.
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Most of the notes employed in these licks are part of the pentatonic scale and that of the major scale. Quite often, we tend to choose the pentatonic scale while playing fast and owing to the attribute of high agility it offers that makes brisk switching of the harmonica holes, while playing, easy for us. You may have practised the last exercise wherein I added a chromatic passage to induce a more ‘Jazzy’ or ‘bluesy’ sound.
In this lesson, I’ve devised to play a G backing track and selected a C harp for it.
As per my suggestion: always start practising licks slowly in the beginning and then, as soon as you get ready to play along side me through interactive videos; join me by clicking on the link given below on this page.
And as for now, it’s time to begin our practice!
The analysis of each lick included in the current lesson is as follows:
We’ll start first lick with a ‘dip’ on the two-note combination, comprising of B and D, involving 3rd and 5th degree of the G chord. In measure 1, beat 3, a fast B and D sequence shall be played ahead of note E, whereas in measure 2, I plan to incorporate tongue blocking technique assimilating slaps and pulls in the current step.
In lick 2, we’ll perform a triplet starting with a bent note, the B flat on hole 3 draw. Note that it’s advised to bend the note of a half-tone here. The first measure ends with a fast combination of 4 notes, and the lick shall end soon after reproposing the notes B and D to be played together.
We’ll play eight notes in lick 3 besides performing a G octave, in the end, on holes 3 and 6 blow.
Lick 4 shall start with a fast passage on measure 1, beat 2 wherein measure 1shall end with a triplet. Regarding measure 2, we’ll play a fast lick consisting of 4 notes before ending it on the root note G.
Lick 5 consists of two triplets: the first we’ll start with a one-step bend on hole 3 draw and the second with a two-step bend on the same hole.
The lick 6 shall start on the root note G and we’ll transpose the lick on the higher octave to end it on the high G, hole 9 blow. In measure 1 beat 3, we’ll play 4 sixteenth notes which is going to be a fast combination.
In the last lick, we’ll be playing more rhythmically by repeating the combination in measure 1 twice. Later in measure 2, we’ll play 8 sixteenth notes swiftly. The lick is going to end on the root note G.
To all those who joined me today in this lesson: thank you for accompanying me, don’t forget to carry out your drill and keep visiting these pages. I’m going to add new lessons in the days to come. See you there and keep harpin’!