[Harp-L] Looking for Guidance

Joseph Leone 3N037@xxxxx
Wed Jun 13 16:27:57 EDT 2018

I like to try to play along with Tuba Skinny, Asleep at the Wheel, the Quebe sisters. But I don’t have your chops. :)

> On Jun 13, 2018, at 12:45 PM, Mick Zaklan <mzaklan at xxxxx> wrote:
>   I've been playing since '69 and have ignored 1st position for most of
> those years.  A couple of years ago I decided to try to learn the position
> for blues.  I first sat down and moved my cross harp licks over to 1st.
> Very useful.  I think most guys would tell you to listen to Jimmy Reed
> records.   I think Kim Fields once told me a great starting point would be
> Big Walter Horton's "Hard Hearted Woman".  Not bad advice, especially for
> the high end bends.  Most 1st position players tend to spend a lot of time
> on the last 3 or 4 holes of the harmonica, then swing down to the first 4
> holes for dramatic effect.  I make a point of trying to incorporate the
> middle holes.  If I learn something, I always attempt to duplicate it up
> and down the harp.  Helps me play my way out of jams if I get stuck for
> ideas.  I try to listen to bands like Tuba Skinny on YouTube, who are
> coming at the blues from a New Orleans Dixieland jazz direction.  Which
> works well with jug band stuff.  I particularly like the turnaround phrases
> those folks use, so different from Chicago blues.  And the very melodic
> song "heads" they play.
>   I mean, if you're looking for hip phrases, try listening to trumpet
> players and replicating their stuff on the high end.  Or highly
> sophisticated first position players like Rhythm Willie, Joe Filisko and
> Don Les.
>   First is still a pretty wide-open position with plenty of work to be
> done.  And once you get comfortable in it; 12th position (another very
> melodic position) is a natural transition.  Because you've already been
> dabbling in it by playing the blues in 1st.
>   Good luck and kudos for pursuing a neglected area of American roots
> music.
> Mick

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