[Harp-L] 5-draw bend

Steve Baker steve@xxxxx
Thu Feb 1 12:28:53 EST 2018

The 5-draw bend is an essential part of the blues harmonica repertoire, I use it all the time. There are examples of this in the recordings of the great blues harmonica players such as Little Walter.

I would also point out that no fully bent note has a note value which corresponds to a note on the piano, they are all lower than the note value usually quoted in harmonica instructional material by about a quarter tone. Even accomplished musicians often hear these notes as regular note values even though they’re not. Example: the solos in my Blues Harmonica Playalongs vols. 2 & 3 were transcribed by a good pro sax player. For tunes in 2nd position he consistently transcribed the 4-draw full bend as a 4th (C on a C harp), even though it was in fact significantly higher in pitch. I presume that’s because as a sax player, that’s the note he would have played. I spent hours going through the transcriptions correcting this.

Steve Baker

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