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Learn how to play harmonica with Big Walter Horton: Christine solo

Welcome back! Today I’m going to teach you how to play a quite challenging but real cool harmonica solo. This time we’ll study the intro solo of ‘Christine’ as performed by the great Big Walter Horton ‘Shakey’, in this song issued in 1974, where he was playing with Carey Bell.

With this lesson you are going to improve your tongue blocking skills, like playing slaps, pulls, shakes and tongue flutter; all techniques that will improve your blues harp performances, sounding more powerful and professional.

You’ll practise with me the licks that form the intro and the blues chorus sections, then you’ll practise them on the provided play-along video.

In case you need, here you can find a good harmonica.

Intermediate level harmonica players are going to take advantage of this lesson, learning another harmonica solo, by one of the most rewarded players. Once again we’ll play in second position, also know as the ‘cross harp’.

In order to perform this tune we’ll use a C harmonica like in the original Big Walter Horton record, and we’ll play it in 2nd position. For today’s lesson I’m using my Hohner Special 20. This song is in the key of G, and in the provided video below on this page, you’ll find the tabs on which the harmonica holes are notated. Follow my indications and play after having listened to me! As usual in this series, no talking! Just playing, learning and having fun.

Song analysis:

Playing difficulty level: Intermediate level harmonica lesson.

Note bending skills: Draw bending on holes 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Lesson focus: This lesson will improve your fast playing. You’ll practise playing the blues scale, integrating blues riffs and melodic blues licks on the low end harmonica notes; Tongue blocking technique features like slaps and pulls, rhythmic harmonica playing and glissando effect.

Others skills trained with this tune: Shake or warlbe playing, flutter tongue execution and vibrato effect.

How to read the video lesson tab:

How to read the video lesson tabs:

One plus symbol means to blow the harmonica hole.

An apostrophe means to bend the note of a half-tone.

A double apostrophe means to bend the note of a whole-tone.

A triple apostrophe means to bend the note of three steps.

A dot before the notes means to use tongue blocking articulations.

^ means playing the note with a ‘dip’ bending.

R before a note means reaching that note with a glissando effect.

Sh means ‘shake playing’ or ‘warble’.

Ft means ’Flutter tongue’ techinque.

P means ‘Pull technique’.

V means ‘Vibrato effect’

Tr means ‘Tremolo effect’.

Here is the tablature of the song intro:

 t1 .t4 .t4+

1 2^ 2'' 1 1+

2 34^ 34^ 45 3^

2 1 1 1 fast 2'' 1

ft5 3' 2, 1 2+ 2

3' 4+ 6+ 6+ 5 4

4' 4+ 2 3' 2

This is the blues chorus tab:

 Ft5, .r2

6+ 5 4 3' 2 2'' 1 1' 1+

2+ 2 2+ 2

V3', 2 .2 1 2+

V3', 2 2'' 1 1' 1+

Ft5, 1 2+ 2 .t2, p

1, .4 .4+

Sh45^ 6+ 5 4 4' 3' 2

tr2 tr2^ .tr2 .tr2

.tr2 1 1 1

Today you learned how to perform a nice Big Walter Horton harmonica solo, the one played in his version of the song called ‘Christine’. If you enjoyed learning this tune with your harp, you might want to improve your harmonica playing: enroll for free in my online school and have a look to my harmonica courses here.

Keep practising and see you soon in a new FREE lesson!

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