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Today’s lesson is intended for intermediate and upper-intermediate level harmonica students, who want to practise playing in 3rd position. By intermediate level, we mean harmonica players who have mastered the technique of bending draw notes and able to play at quite fast speed.

The exercises that compose the lesson, contain notes that are part of B minor scale, and among these we can find note D natural, as we already know it. This note can be played on an A harp; on hole 2 draw, with a whole-tone bending. The note D natural is the one that characterizes the minor mode of the key, in the case of this lesson; it s B minor.

3rd position harmonica exercises

Blues licks scheduled for today will be practised on a B minor rock backing track. Most of them are really fast licks and will challenge also some advanced harmonica players.

If you don t have an A harp in your set, you can still practice exercises at your will, i.e. by playing on your own and without a backing track even.

Working on a minor track, we will use the tones of B minor scale; composed precisely by the notes B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, and A. These notes are the same that form A major scale, so with an A harp we can easily play this type of tune. The only note that requires the bending technique is, as mentioned above, the natural D note whereas if we talk about the rest; all the notes of the scale can be found on this instrument. I also inserted in the licks a couple of 6 hole draw half-tone bending to play part of the B blues scale.

As far as this lesson is concerned, you might have noticed that minor licks in 3rd position largely use important key notes such as the root, the minor third or the fifth, aka B, D and F sharp.

Let s begin practising the exercises!

In the first lick, we start with octaves, playing the root notes of the key: B. We also play D and A, respectively minor 3rd and minor 7th of the reference scale. If you can’t play octave yet, you can just play hole 4 here in place of 14.

3rd position harmonica exercise 1

In lick 2, play a ‘glissato’ up to hole 6 blow, then the ‘dip’ on hole 4 and again some octaves in measure 2. Pay attention to the rhythm here!

3rd position harmonica exercise 2

In lick 3, we play hole 6 half-tone bend to introduce one of the blues scale notes, F. In measure 2 there are a couple of fast notes on beat 2.

3rd position harmonica exercise 3

Lick 4: here we start with a ‘dip’ on hole 6, to play the 5th of the scale, we hold the note, then in measure 2 we go up and play a descending scale that ends with a couple of triplets.

3rd position harmonica exercise 4

In lick 5, I designed a ‘shake’ on holes 3 and 4. In this context, this warble sounds really good, cause we are playing both root and minor 3rd, two important notes of the key we are in. In measure 2 we go down and play a couple of bent notes on hole 2 to get the D.

3rd position harmonica exercise 5

Lick 6: here we play again some octaves, a triplet, and in measure 2 we go up and play octaves on holes from 4 to 9. These notes are the minor 7th, the root and the minor 3rd, named A, B and D.

3rd position harmonica exercise 6

In lick 7, measure 2, we play 3 triplets while bending hole 2 whole-tone to get the note D. The last two beats of the lick contain a fast note sequence. We play sixteenth notes here!

3rd position harmonica exercise 7

In the last lick we play octaves and triplets.

3rd position harmonica exercise 8

Following, the whole licks sequence practising routine:

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I m pretty much sure that you must have been benefited from this free harmonica lesson, so keep practising. I hope to see you soon with a new lesson on my website.

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