Spideryak, pretty cool BT but much too complex and fast for my skill level. What your post did for me, however, was to use a site I found awhile back to go looking for BT progressions other than the 1, 4, 5.
The site listed below has a number of different progressions and songs using them, (click on the progression for a list), but no backing tracks. I have, for quite awhile, tried to hear how different progressions sound but have had no success at doing this listening to songs.
What your post did for me was to think of a way to find backing tracks in different progressions. I am taking a progression from the site and searching YouTube for backing tracks matching a progression. SUCCESS!!.
Finding BT with a variety of different progressions is allowing me to play along with tracks other than using the blues standard of 1, 4, 5.
Keith, I, too, have a, "long way to go". I use a book, "Modern Reading Text in 4/4", by Louis Bellson, to practice timing. Currently running my metronome at 60BPM. I have attached 2 pages from the book that I found on the Internet.
Yes Andy, you are correct. Learning to play the harmonica comes first. Timing is something that comes after you can play good solid notes. I guess that is where I am at today cause I am committed to improving my timing skills. I have approached this in the past only to give up, but, no more, I am on the, "path to good timing!"
spideryak, I wonder if by a, "split chord", you mean what I call an octave? The covering of 2 or 3 holes in the middle and playing the two holes on each end. This is great in 3rd position because there is so much you can do with this technique. As for tongue blocking the lower holes I tend to pucker holes 1 and 2 and tongue block the other 8.
As for playing octaves, (split chords?), Jason Ricci has a tutorial on this located here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTsT6EaAPQ8&t=3s
So, I don't get it. Well, that's not exactly accurate but here are my thoughts. Yes, I can agree with those of you who believe that playing in, "your own groove", or "playing without any outside constraints", is good as long as you don't intend to play with other musicians.
If, however, you do desire to play along with others than I don't see how you can have your own groove or not be constrained by the baseline of the band. Having a group of musicians all playing to their own groove would result in a chaotic cacophony of noise, I think, but not having a lot of experience with bands perhaps I am wrong.
Also, being able to recognize when playing on an upbeat instead of a downbeat, or coming in in the middle of a triplet or starting a riff on the final beat of a sixteenth note or swinging eighth notes and sixteenth notes, all things that can add something cool to the sound, are not possible without having impeccable timing, are they?
This is the kind of playing I am striving for and, for now, the only way I see of getting there is to use a metronome to lock in my timing and it is very difficult for me at this stage of my playing.
A lot of discussion on playing solid notes which, of course, is important, but, what about timing?
For me, I find when I practice scales and play in various positions including draw/blow bends in all three octaves on the diatonic practice becomes really challenging when I do these activities with the metronome.
Accurate timing is very difficult for me. It is so difficult, in fact, that I avoid practicing it, (that doesn't make a lot of sense does it?). Well, I have now picked it up again while trying to learn Kim Wilson's rendition of, "The Telephone Blues".
Do you ever practice using a metronome?
"Just remember Johno; there's a lot more to playing a harmonica than being able to bend a note."
Sarge, you sure have that right!
Great ideas and suggestions.....Thanks to all!
Reading lots of posts I see that many of you own many harmonicas. I am beginning to amass a few and my case for 7 is too small. I have been looking on the internet for larger cases and read lots of negative comments which begs me to ask, how do you store them?
Here is a book that I find quite useful.
Blues Harmonica For Dummies By Winslow Yerxa
Winslow also has written the book, "Harmonica for Dummies".
Sarge, and others, sorry for the lack of explanation. Let me see if I can better explain what I am trying to share.
The graphics shown in the pdf file are representative of a diatonic harmonica the left end being 1 hole right end being the 10 hole. I have updated the diagram from my earlier post.
When I speak of scale degrees I am associating a note with a number so on a 'C' harmonica and an 'A' harmonica the scale would look like this:
C D E F G A B C
A B C# D E F# G# A
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 - scale degrees
The number one note is the root note. I have highlighted these in red on the diagram.
Here is the Blues Scale on a C harmonica and on an A harmonica in second position, (the most popular blues position), the scale degrees is noted below the scales.
G Bb C Db D F G
E G A Bb B D E
1 f3 4 f5 5 f7 1
Once you get used to it you will find it is much easier to think in scale degrees because you don't have to remember the notes on all harmonicas.
This is why my 1st -- 4th position diagram is labeled in scale degrees.
To play the Blues Scale across all octaves you tab out the scale degree positions on the harp. You do not have to remember notes only numbers. Here is the tabbing for second position blues on the low octave applied to any key harmonica.
1 f3 4 f5 5 f7 1
2d 3' 4b 4' 4d 5d 6b -- the (") double bend and (') single bend.
As you move up to other octaves apply the same idea noted above.
Been learning and memorizing the blues scale in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th position. Here is a layout, in scale degrees, of the blues scale in those positions. Hope someone finds it useful.
Here are quite a few Little Walter songs with the key. There is some overlap with my previous post but most are new. As before the links are to my Spotify account. I have also attached a list of the songs you can search for on YouTube.
Little Walter 2nd pos in G, (C harp)
Little Walter 2nd pos in F, (Bb harp)
Little Walter 2nd pos in E, (A harp)
Wow! I see it has been 8 months since I posted this note about learning, "Love Me Do", and ya know what, my friend and I never did anything to actually learn the song. I messed around with it and learned to play several of the riffs but we never put it together. Well, I'm here to say we are going to try again.
Since that time I have found a couple of sites that are really helpful for learning this music so I thought I would post them in case anyone out there is curious about the song.
This link has the tab for both chromatic and diatonic, (key of G), and some audio demonstrating each riff in the song.
....and this link is an instrumental for learning just where the riffs fit into the song.
Spideryak has a link to some performance info about John Lennon's playing on the song here is that link.
Playing along with backing tracks.
In the past I relied entirely on YouTube to find backing tracks in a particular key. My issue with the tracks on YouTube, however, is that a great many of them all sound very similar.
Awhile back I found a website called the, "The Blues House", hosted by Mr. Lawrence Fritts, a professor of music at the University of Chicago. The site has a lot of unique backing tracks that are all free to use in any way you wish.
If you like to improvise to backing tracks this is a great source of music. I haven't listened to all of them, (there are a lot), but the ones I have listened to are all 12 bar blues.
I got a harmonica as Christmas gift I, "tinkered", with it for a year not really not learning much at all. I decided that either I would learn it or forget it, that was 4 years ago. Today I am taking lessons and have an image in my head of what I want to achieve. Not anywhere near that goal but am working at it.
Andy, you are fortunate to have music in your family, I don't, no musical interest from anyone. Earlier this year I met a guitar player and we try to get together once a week to play some blues, (my main interest). This has helped a lot but, like you, I still have a lot to learn.
I am serious about this and am having fun to, (often mixed with frustration), and I intend to stick with it to meet my goal.
I use all the methods you list. My biggest challenge right now is getting my timing down and mastering some music theory, oh, and I still am learning the layout when playing in different in positions, (straight harp, 2nd position, 3rd position, and 4th). I have been practicing and learning the harp for a little more than 3 years and still am amazed with how much I still need to learn, (this little 10 hole instrument is very complex as you all must know).
It is all very challenging and, at times, extremely frustrating but I keep at and am, ever so slowly, it seems, improving.
Maybe he is not playing octaves but is playing chords, these would be cool too. I am playing this on a G harp in the middle octave to avoid the bending.
The embellishments I am trying to work into this tune is playing octaves. The 2 I am working on are the D octave, (blowing 3 and 6 blocking 4 and 5), and the G octave, (blowing 4 and 7 blocking 5 and 6). There is another one, the B octave but I figure trying to get 2 going are enough for me to work on.
The challenge? First trying to perfect the technique is not easy for me and Second, where in the tune would these octaves sound good.
Listening to Dennis Cooper it sounds like he is doing octaves. I am trying to figure out which ones he is using.