Practicing licks is a good way to ingrain in our mind phrasing and note usage in the various contexts, it is also a great tool for those that aim to learn improvisation. We can’t really rely on recalling licks when improvising, however playing the phrases over and over again improves agility and speed.
That’s exactly what we need when we improvise, in addition to a good musical thinking, cause during the performance we don’t have time to think where the notes are located on the instrument.
With this collection, you’ll practice Blues licks, Country lick, Modern music licks, Folk and Rock riffs. I performed them on a C harmonica, and they propose several fundamental elements like bending and tongue blocking articulations like slaps, pulls and flutters.
Most of the licks are played in second position (cross harp), you’ll also find several first position phrases (straight harp), third position, fourth and fifth position riffs.
Some of these exercises are very easy so that upper beginner players can start having fun with them, you’ll find also intermediate level licks, and more advanced tongue blocking riffs; Everyone will find something to play.
How to read the tabs:
One plus symbol means to blow the harmonica hole, no + means to draw.
An apostrophe means to bend the note of a half step.
A double apostrophe means to bend the note of a whole step.
A triple apostrophe means to bend the note of three steps.
^ means playing the note with a ‘dip’ bending.
R before a note tells to reach that note with a glissando effect.
Sh is ‘Shake playing’ or ‘Warble.’
A dot (.) before a note tells you to play a tongue blocking articulation.
Octaves and double stops are notated with a double number (14+ means blow 1 and 4 together, 34 means to draw holes 3 and 4 together).
Wah before a note tells you to add the wah wah effect to the note.
Harmonica lick list:
Lick 01: Second position, major feeling, single notes.
Lick 02: Second position, major feeling, single notes.
Lick 03: Second position, major feeling, double stops, octaves.
Lick 04: First position, major feeling, single notes.
Lick 05: First position, major feeling, glissando.
Lick 06: Third position, minor feeling, blues scale playing (D blues scale).
Lick 07: First position, octave playing with tongue blocking.
Lick 08: Second position, major feeling, double stops, dip bending and octave playing.
Lick 09: Second position, boogie style with tongue flutter articulations.
Lick 10: Fifth position, minor feeling, single notes.
Lick 11: Second position, chromatic swing playing with bending on holes 2 and 3.
Lick 12: Second position, tongue blocking octaves playing.
Lick 13: Second position, single notes, octaves, dip bending on double stops.
Lick 14: Third position, minor feeling, D blues scale to the lower side.
Lick 15: Second position, pretty fast Country lick.
Lick 16: Second position, octave playing, tongue blocking slaps and pulls, bending.
Lick 17: Second position, boogie style with bending on the first holes.
Lick 18: Second position, dip bending on hole 2 and tongue switching.
Lick 19: Second position, shake (warble) and bending.
Lick 20: Second position, swing feeling, single notes with pentatonic scale.
Lick 21: Fifth position, dip bending on double stops, pentatonic scale.
Lick 22: Fourth position, minor feeling on the high notes.
Lick 23: Third position, minor feeling rock rhythm, octave playing.
Listen to Lick 01
Listen to Lick 02
Listen to Lick 03
Listen to Lick 04
Listen to Lick 05
Listen to Lick 06
Listen to Lick 07
Listen to Lick 08
Listen to Lick 09
Listen to Lick 10
Listen to Lick 11
Listen to Lick 12
Listen to Lick 13
Listen to Lick 14
Listen to Lick 15
Listen to Lick 16
Listen to Lick 17
Listen to Lick 18
Listen to Lick 19
Listen to Lick 20
Listen to Lick 21
Listen to Lick 22
Listen to Lick 23