HARMONICA SCHOOL LESSON: LEARN TO PLAY SAINT LOUIS BLUES

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Harmonica School free lesson: Learn to play Saint Louis blues

In this intermediate level harmonica lesson, you will learn to play a real cool and well know blues, entitled ‘Saint Louis Blues’.

Today you’ll practice with me the licks that form te three song sections and play them on the provided video tutorial.

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When it comes to blues and jazz standards written before 1920, none has enjoyed more recordings by jazz artists than W.C. Handy’s classic, ‘St. Louis Blues.’ Considered the most famous blues composition, the song was the most-recorded of all time from the 1930.  Intermediate level harmonica players should enjoy learning this song, a great way to practice blues in 2nd position.

In order to perform this tune we use a C harmonica and we play in 2nd position, In today’s lesson I’m using a Hohner special 20. The song key is G, and in the included video 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! No talking in these harmonica lesson series, just playing, learning and having fun.

How to read the video lesson tab:

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.

Song analysis: 

Playing difficulty level: Intermediate harmonica level.

Note bending skills: Draw bending on holes 2 and 3.

Lesson focus: Playing the blues scale, integrating blues riffs and melodic blues licks on the low end harmonica notes.

The song is composed of three sections, here are the first section harmonica holes to play:

3 4 3 2, 2+ 2 3’’ 2 3’ 3’ 2

2+ 2 3’’ 2, 2+ 2 3’’ 2 3’ 3’ 2

2’ 3’’ 2’ 1 1+, 2+ 2 3’’ 2 3’ 3’ 2

Following the second section tabs:

4 4 3’ 4, 3’ 4+ 4 4+ 3’ 3’’

4+ 4+ 3’’ 3+, 4+ 4+ 4 3’ 3’’ 2

4 4 3’ 4, 3’ 4+ 4 4+ 3’ 3’’ 

4+ 4+ 3’’ 3+, 4+ 4+ 4 3’ 3’’ 2, 3’’ , 4

Below the last section tabs:

3’’ 3 2, 3’ ’ 3 2, 3’’ 3 2 3’’ 3 2, 2 2+ 2, 2 34

3’’ 3’ 2, 3’’ 3’ 2, 3’’ 3’ 2 3’’ 3’ 2, 2 2+ 2, 2 34

2’ 3’’ 2’ 1 1+, 4+ 4 4+ 3’ 3’’ 2 2+ 2

Here was how to play Saint Louis Blues. If you enjoyed learning this song with your harp, you might want to improve your harmonica skills Have a look at our online harmonica school courses here.

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