[Harp-L] 5-draw bend

Michael Snowden mike.snowden@xxxxx
Thu Feb 1 12:47:11 EST 2018


When I started, it was clear that my 5 draw was only a partial bend, so I must be doing it wrong, according to my instructional book!
The observation that meant most to me was that "regular" bends are always between the reeds, so perhaps they should be referred to as "inside" bends.  

As 5-draw is between 2 reeds that are only 1 semitone apart, it CANNOT be a regular note.  

After finding that, I stopped worrying, and practiced only the deeper bends with a tuner.  While I could go further, I tried to keep that headroom for vibrato.

      From: Steve Baker <steve at xxxxx>
 To: Robert Hale <robert at xxxxx>; Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx> 
 Sent: Thursday, 1 February 2018, 17:29
 Subject: Re: [Harp-L] 5-draw bend
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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