I've had a chromatic for a while and can do a few things in 3rd position. Not great, but passable. Been getting more interested in the chromatic and decided to work out some other positions. Figured out 2nd and 4th position. The blues scale lays out pretty well on both.
This has me thinking ... are there any blues players that play all keys on a C chromatic. I know of course the jazz and classical players do this. But any examples of blues players that play in all (or many) keys on a C chromatic?
---------- Jim McBride Bottle 'O Blues microphones www.bottleoblues.com
I see some 1st position (Oscher, deLay, Hummel, Raines, George Smith) and 2nd (Buffalo, deLay,Duran, Hummel, Musselwhite), and 12th (deLay, Peloquin). DeLay played 6th and 7th also. I've got a track listed as 5th for Annie Raines A lot of 10th position of course, where folks hold the button in and play as if it's 3rd
It all depends on the Key. Blues player will usually be stuck with a lot of guitar keys. Each key has a sweet spots so only practice will reveal them in each key.Ain't No Sunshine is in 4th position. All Blues in 2nd position. Matt's Blues A Twisted Tail is in Third.I haven't recorded it but I like to do Watermelon Man in !st flat (12).
When did Paul deLay play in 6th (B on a C chrom), 7th (F# on a C), or 12 (F on a C)?
He did play in third, first, and second, and may also have played in 10th (Eb, which can be played like third if you hold the button in) and 9th (Ab, which be played like second with the button in). If he did other things, I'd be interested in hearing it. =========== Winslow
Cry to Me is in F but is definitely not a C chromatic. It's played on an A chromatic in 9th position (Ab position).
Don't Drink is also in F but not on a C. On several notes he does slide jabs - arriving at a slide-in note by jabbing the slide in to arrive at the note, hearing the slide-out note briefly as an approach (sort of the slide equivalent of a slap). He plays a jab into D (a slide-out note on a C) several times. There's not enough of it to make a definitive call, but I suspect this is an A chromatic.
This Ol' Life is played in second position on a diatonic E harp - no chromatic at all.
Sad as a Man Can Be is on third position on an A chromatic. Nice solo, but that ain't no 6th position! (and there's that little rasp in Paul's voice that I always found both exciting and touching.)
Alrighty is in first position on a C chromatic.
I know Paul played an A chromatic; I remember him mentioning it to me. Looks like he recorded with it a fair bit.
Makes me miss Paul. I always assumed he'd be around longer. Last time I saw him we were going to hang, but then a fan wanted to drive him to his hotel, and we kind of looked at each other, and of course that was what was going to happen. You just never know.
Ab gives you the familiar note layout of G, but with all the cool slide movements into scale notes from a semitone below. And all the smooth-same-breath moves afforded by the alternate versions of C and F. It's one of the cooler key positions on chromatic! Toots used to play Sophisticated Lady in that key and do a lot of beautiful things. =========== Winslow
That's it is in the key of C. I think you mean he's playing a Bb harp in third position for the first couple of minutes. At about 1:50 he switches to a C chromatic.
Calling it "B# or sixth position" confuses position with pathway, and, at least conceptually, reduces your options..
Position is one thing only: relationship between the key of the harmonica and the key of the song.
In this case, the harp and the song are both in C, so it's first position.
However, using the slide-in draw notes gives you a pathway through first position that plays and sounds different from, say, basing your path on the C major blow chord.
When Little Walter initially made this record, he didn't seem to make the connection that you need a G natural - the fifth of the scale, and a blow note - to make it sound right, and his chromatic outing as a result sounds kind of weird and semi-disconnected from the key, and also tentative. Some listeners have commented that he seemed uncomfortable and switched back to diatonic as soon as possible to get back on familiar ground. Others argue that if you listen, everything he plays on chromatic mirrors the licks he played on diatonic - yet, without close analysis, that impression remains
Stevie Wonder, on the other hand, used the slide-in draw notes C, Eb (the blue third) Gb (the flat 5, another blue note) and Bb (the third of the three so-called blue notes) but also used the blow G - check out his recording of Fingertips. He never sounds weird.
Dennis doesn't use the G either but somehow makes it sound more assured than Walter did. Partly because he's emulating and quoting in a deliberate fashion, while Walter was (as always) exploring and created a tentative feeling in the process.
But if you think of that set of slide-in draw notes as just another pathway through first position, you can mix it in with other pathways for a richer set of possibilities and a wider set of expressive note choices.
"That's it is in the key of C. I think you mean he's playing a Bb harp in third position for the first couple of minutes. At about 1:50 he switches to a C chromatic"
That info is from Dennis himself-you and I have been here before about this-but if you insist ,check his website.
Chromatic positions-especially with the button in -can be very challenging to the less experienced-its more about where the notes lie on the harp than anything else. You can also play in Eb with the button in -like I said.it's all about the scale of degrees and experimentation.
Last Edited by tmf714 on Jul 14, 2017 9:59 AM
tmf- sorry but if he's playing a Bb in 3rd position,the key of the song is C-period! I don't care what "position" you're in on a chromatic. If the song is in C,you're playing in C. It's a chromatic-you can't compare it to a diatonic.
Jim - It's probably been done, but it isn't very common. Most players will find the lack of chords limiting and you will need to practice scales and make extensive use of the button. It's easier to change harps.
"If the song is in C,you're playing in C. It's a chromatic-you can't compare it to a diatonic."
Then you state- "I've been struggling to learn the C chromatic in other keys"
If you had enough experience with the chromatic,you would know with the slide in in 3rd postion you can play in E flat-you know that right?
Ok-Dennis is playing a C chrome-with the slide in ,in 6th positon ,he is able to play in B sharp-B-sharp major is more a theoretical key than one you will ever come across in practice. It is far more likely that music will be thought about or written in C major. C is the enharmonic equivalent of B# (the same note}
If you play this on a C chrom, you can play the C as B# and use the slide to play C B C without changing breath direction.:
Last Edited by tmf714 on Jul 14, 2017 5:22 PM
Except with the slide in or out, playing Eb on a C harp is 10th position. You can think of it as 3rd, I suppose that is handy if you know a way to play in 3rd, without using the slide, and then you push the slide and do the same thing and it works for Eb. So people say 3rd with the slide in. But it's 10th. Played like 3rd not using the slide, and with the slide held in. Same as playing a c diatonic in G is second position regardless of whether you play well or poorly
Tmf - yes I am somewhat familiar with playing in Ebm. For me it is very similar to playing in Dm As for Dennis playing in B# I have to laugh. It sounds like something a Jullliard student would say. Dennis is playing the C as a B# because it's convenient since you also need the slide in to get the b3,b5 and b7 in the key of C. You make it sound like he's always playing with the slide in,which is not the case
Last Edited by Tuckster on Jul 14, 2017 9:16 PM
Superbee-I am aware its 10th positon with the slide in.
Tuckster-obviously you are not very familiar with playing the chrome with slide in -its not E flat minor-its E flat major. If you want to laugh at Dennis' stating he's playing in B#,then you have a lot to learn .
Alright is not in 7th position. 7th would be F# on a C chromatic (or C on an F# chromatic).
The tune is in C on a C chromatic, therefore first position. I've already pointed this out earlier in the thread.
Maybe you meant 6th position, which would be B. Again, the harp and the song are both in C. And that B# silliness has no place in the argument. He's using the blow C quite a bit, sometimes in harmony with the Blow E. Sure, he's using the slide-in draw notes, including in his opening gliss, but what follows is fluidly mixed with slide-out notes. Again, there are many pathways through first position, and pathways does not determine position.
tmf writes: "Actually "Alrighty" is in 8th position-the song is in the key of B and Paul is using a C chrome."
Sigh. Tom, you silly boy, what are we going to do with you?
If I pick up a 12-hole C chromatic and play Blow 1 along with the track, I hear the tonic note of the song. Therefore the song is in C, and not in B.
At 1:19, Paul plays the 1st and major 3rd degree of the scale at the same time.
If the tune is in first position, no problem; those are both slide-out blow notes (C and E).
If it's in B on a C chromatic, then those note are B (a slide-out draw note) and D# (a slide-in draw note)
Paul was a great player but he couldn't do the impossible.
This isn't the only bit of evidence confirming that the song is played in first position, just the easiest to point out. I can bring up plenty more. He does several things casually and smoothly that are dead easy in C and impossibly fussy (and choppy sounding) in B.
So, did he use a B chromatic to play it in first position, then pitch-shift it up a semitone in post-production? Possible but unlikely, and it would still be first position.
Did he use a C# chromatic to play it in C (which would be like playing it in B on a C chromatic)? Aside from the need to have a C# chromatic custom-built for one song, again the internal evidence of the solo is conclusive that it was played in first position.
Also, the last time I counted on my fingers, B on a C harp was 6th position, not 8th. Maybe you're being silly on purpose.
Tmf- you should be listening to Winslow instead of spouting all this silly stuff about positions. I'll stick to my guns on what I've stated on That's It. That's all I'm posting on this subject-. I'm off to Elkins for a week of Filisko
@Tuckster - Position talk is useful when you're dealing with more than one key of chromatic. It's clear that Paul deLay did play A chromatics as well as C, and he's not the only blues harmonica player to play more than one key of chromatic. So position talk is helpful. Instead of saying something like "played in B on an A chromatic, which is like playing in D on a C chromatic" you can simply say "played on an A chromatic in third position." I makes the commonalities manifest, which is valuable. =========== Winslow
Well, when I play in E on a Bb chromatic (which I've done) it is helpful to think of it as being like playing in F# on a C chromatic. Though, come to think of it, that may be more evocative than talking about 7th position.
And 10th position isn't just holding in the slide. It's totality of the relationships between C and Eb, no matter where the slide is. And that complete relationship holds true for those between A and C or G and Bb, etc. =========== Winslow