Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > My attempt at Adam's Front Porch Blues
My attempt at Adam's Front Porch Blues
Login  |  Register
Page: 1

84 posts
Dec 04, 2017
2:34 PM
Hi all,
this is my first thread in the "regular" forum. I'm a beginner, so I'm not sure if it's appropriate for me to post here - if not, please tell me and I will remove the thread. The reason why I share this on the main forum is the fact that the beginner forum has been rather deserted lately and someone from there suggested that I try the main forum. So here is my post:

I have been practising the harp for about a year now and I finally wanted to share some of my playing with you. As many other (online-)students of Adam, I have tried to learn his North Mississippi Front Porch Blues and here is my attempt at playing it. Since I have trouble with accurately assessing myself, I would love some feedback, especially on the following points (of course any criticism is welcome):

1) How do you rate my progress from scratch to my level of play within the given time (one year)?
2) Am I doing the „blue third“ correctly? I'm still unsure about that.
3) How is my timing?
4) How is the tone?

Some things that I already realised myself are:

-There are a couple of mistakes, but this is the first take and I didn't want to grind the song for months, just to get a more satisfying video.
-I don't use my hands very well. My cup is small and I think I keep it closed on parts where opening it would be much better for the sound.
-I think my vibrato is coming along nicely (at least on the 2 hole draw), but I still have trouble controlling it in the context of a lick or song (mostly due to tensing up).
- Two people from the beginner forum noticed that - unlike Adam - I kind of lack the "feeling" due to not playing "always in time but not right on top of the beat all the time" - and I agree.

So here's the video (I'm using a Special 20, key of Bb)

Cheers, Skullkid

Last Edited by SkullKid on Dec 04, 2017 3:00 PM
2 posts
Dec 05, 2017
4:12 AM
Just general feedback from a beginner also, of about five months,I thought overall it sounded good.I think with time and practice it will just keep getting better.
1 post
Dec 05, 2017
6:03 AM
I agree. I am new also but you sound like I want to sound right now :) Very good foundation. A year from now I would be very happy to play as you did in the video!

Last Edited by mrjoeyman on Dec 05, 2017 6:06 AM
109 posts
Dec 05, 2017
6:51 AM

That sounds pretty good to my ears. I'd say your progress in one year is excellent. You are successfully playing a piece solo. Many players never get to the level you're at, or much beyond it - if only some players who are out playing with bands would be this studied and careful with technique!

That said, don't let those compliments go to your head... ha ha! You're right to look critically and analyse your playing but overall you're doing great. before you know it, you'll be out playing with people.

Blue thirds sound good to me. Good use of tongue blocking and slaps. Tone is pretty good overall.


blintgy like soundcloud, ug
296 posts
Dec 06, 2017
9:56 AM
Hi skullkid,
Thanks for posting---what I liked was the fact that ur are trying to learn 'note for note'
A lot of people get close and stop===and then say somthing along this line " I only like to do my own thing" --- I've seen these players 10-20 years later playin exactly like they did 20 years ago-not much improvement-
other players have different styles—when u study them-it improves yr playing-eventually on the same song, u may add stuff, or take away notes, NATURALLY
-now u have learned their stuff w/ yr feel—BUT DON’T GIVE UP ON DIFFICULT PART, maybe take breaks but keep going back till u get it

U never really understand how good someone is, that u admire ,----until u try to learn there stuff---I do what ur doing here--- when I get close I take `a break and learn or study something else –then come back to the original a little fresh—sometimes after the break, by not trying so hard, I realize what he or she is doing – I continually come back from time to time-to the same thing

1] How do you rate my progress from scratch to my level of play within the given time (one year)?
We all learn from each other on this site—
I heard some tongue slaps at about 50 or so—this means u r aware that u have a tongue and that it really helps if u use it—I was a late comer on the tongue, until I got serious about improving-
I also learned to “trill” using my hands ---not my head ,like u were-this messed me up trying to cup a mic—so I had to learn the “ head shake” way late---suggest u learn both—

get jerry portnoire 3 cd instructional it covers EVERYTHING- after getting it, my level jumped- cuz now some one explained theses things


2) Am I doing the „blue third“ correctly? I'm still unsure about that.
I didn’t over analyze yr playing – I did hear a foul bend note may have been b3-

but more importantly- on cross harp how many b3s r there” where are they? Why is b3 m3 maj 3 important to know? How many bends possible on draw 3 etc –as I said I didn’t get serious till my mid fifties, don’t wait that long-

while yr learning riffs etc—learn basic 145---Quick change –6251—12 b ar ---16 bar----start now n take yr time- Do u play another instrument? Knowledge of that stuff helps a lot—DOESN’T HAVE TO be LEARNED OVERNIGHT-----BUT START ASAP

Iceman knows way more than me and I would pay attention to his comments---people who teach are also learning while they are teaching—[when I started student instructing in martial arts in my 20;s-I begun to really understand—while I was teaching,] ----which in turn made me a better teacher as well as improve my level

3) How is my timing?
Seemed ok
—why? Because I could follow u and almost here the chord changes ,by yr playing

4) How is the tone?
As I said Im not that critical-seemed fine, couple sour notes-in time u learn how to mask mistakes, even in front of people---IF U NEVER MAKE MISTAKES, U NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW—HOW BORING

My minds on vacation, but my typing is working overtime

PS Im actually not that serious a person –just wish I would have got serious sooner—such is life keep harp

Last Edited by snowman on Dec 06, 2017 9:58 AM
4566 posts
Dec 07, 2017
10:43 AM
you are not a beginner... that is expert category.
5117 posts
Dec 09, 2017
10:29 AM
I am bumping this because I think it’s unusually accomplished for a player of 1 years experience. It slipped down the page rather quickly. Hopefully some more will notice it
1640 posts
Dec 09, 2017
11:30 AM
I thought it was really good, far better than the efforts of any player of one year that I have ever encountered.

Doug S.
89 posts
Dec 10, 2017
11:35 AM
Hey guys,

thanks a lot for all of your kind words! This is a real motivation to keep playing for at least an hour a day. :)

@mrjoeyman: Hey man, that's pretty cool! It's funny to think that a year ago I was looking at the videos of all the other guys that had played for a year or so and I thought to myself: "Man, I wanna be able to do that!" It's nice that someone else is looking at me with the same thought now - and it also shows, that you can get to a somewhat decent level within that time if you work hard! I'm looking forward to hearing some of your stuff.

@snowman: Thanks for your extensive comment! I also think that learning a piece note by note is more beneficial than somewhat "improvising" it from the start. Also good advice on taking breaks and moving to something else from time to time. I will check out the CDs you mentioned and I will also look more into the theory of blues music soon.


Last Edited by SkullKid on Dec 10, 2017 11:36 AM
874 posts
Dec 10, 2017
2:46 PM
Fantastic stuff with a solid beat!
6382 posts
Dec 10, 2017
3:00 PM
Sounds damned good to me. I would say that you nailed the blue third pretty much every time you did it. You're at the 98th percentile for somebody who has only been playing for a year, and you're not much lower than that for people who've been playing two or three years. Just keep doing whatever you're doing.

If you keep playing, and especially if you spend time jamming with and then maybe pairing up and rehearsing with other people, you'll find that your sense of time continues to deepen, so that you hear ways of hitting slightly ahead of and slightly behind the beat. But it's impossible to will that element of performance into being.

Nice job.


Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition (UNC Press, 2017)
3046 posts
Dec 11, 2017
12:41 AM
agree.....very impressive
92 posts
Dec 12, 2017
12:50 PM
Thanks for taking the time, Adam!

Wow, I didn't think I would get to this point within a year - as to what I was doing: I pretty much did what you recommended in one of your videos. Took the information you shared via youtube and practised like a madman. :) The people in the forum were also very kind and helpful - I love this site!

I will take your advice and play more with other people to evolve my sense of time - fortunately, most of my friends are musicians.

@groyster1: Thanks man, I appreciate it. :)


Last Edited by SkullKid on Dec 12, 2017 12:51 PM
149 posts
Dec 14, 2017
5:02 PM
Sounding good! Your timing seems very steady. Very nice work, keep at it.
AJ Silverberg

Post a Message
Guest Name


(8192 Characters Left)

Please enter the code shown above and click the 'Post Message' button. This additional step is required to help protect against message spam.




blues harmonica riffs - harmonica tabs - learn harmonica - play harmonica

play harmonica easily - harp tabs for beginners - blues harmonica lessons


ADAM GUSSOW is an official endorser for HOHNER HARMONICAS