Re: [Harp-L] Minor blues

chicago bluesman wrote:
<The only song suggested so far which is truly a minor key tune is Thrill Is Gone and that generally sucks for a harp player. I've played it dozens of times while <fronting a band and I usually just vamp along in 3rd position, trying to do horn parts.  Frankly, I view it as an untouchable tune since nobody can do it like B.B.   <It's a guitar tune.

I disagree completely.  "The Thrill is Gone" lays out perfectly on a natural minor harp in 2nd position, with big fat chord voicings and plenty of solid riffs available. That approach is FAR superior to playing the piece in 3rd position. In a jam session last month I had to play the piece in 3rd position, and it certainly was a much greater challenge than a natural minor in 2nd position.

I suppose there are still traditionally-oriented players around who won't touch anything besides a standard Richter tuning, but at this point it's pretty clear that non-standard tunings solve a lot of problems for harp players, including blues players. So I'd just make life easier and better by picking a natural minor up and putting it to good use on that tune.  

For diehard traditionalists, the piece lays out well in 5th position on a standard harp (E minor on a C harp). Last night I saw an episode of "The Wire" and heard Charlie Musselwhite playing 5th position on the theme song for the show, the Blind Boys of Alabama's "Down in the Hole", a minor blues.  Sure sounded plenty blue to me. 

Thanks, Richard Hunter

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