Good stuff Grey Owl, I always enjoy listening to your stuff. As far as harmonica instrumentals making number one, I can only think of Juke offhand as being a really big hit (or was that just on the R&B charts?)
I enjoyed your playing Greyowl. Also thanks for the tabs.
As far as harp No.1 hits, consider this...
Stevie Wonder had a No. 1 hit, "Fingertips" when he was only 12 years old. Containing only a few stanzas of lyrics, "Fingertips" is essentially an instrumental piece, meant to showcase Wonder's talents on the bongos and the harmonica.
Stevie Wonder is practically never mentioned here. Why?
I just came across this old post. I think I'm going to try this song out, but I can't overblow.
It seems like I could get around this problem by getting a country tuned harp. As far as I understand, a country tuned harp would give me the correct note on the 5 draw (as opposed to 5 overblow). It seems like I wouldn't really lose anything by doing this, as the 5 draw isn't used in the tune otherwise...
Have you forgotten "Groovin' With Mister Bloe"? Reached No 2 in 1970. Harry Pitch was credited with Harmonica but I seem to remember he was replaced with a hipper looking stand-in who mimed for T.V. performances
Thanks for the quick reply!! Actually, I mapped it out in first position, and it requires no overblows or special tunings.... just really precise bending!
There's a good reason for choosing 1st position over a country tuned 3rd position... I plan to play along to this video of my father playing it on saxophone.
To my ear, which could be wrong, I would need to play in F. In 3rd position, this would put me in an Eb. Standard Eb is too high for this, and a low Eb wouldn't see enough use to warrant a purchase (let alone a country tuned one!) In first position, I could play a low F and sound quite nice. It'll be good bending practice.
Hi Mirco, I've just taken another look at this. I was playing in a different key to the original on my video- song key Eb & harp Ab in 2nd. Whereas your Dad played it nicely on Sax in the original key of Bb I believe. So if you want to play in 1st on a Bb harp, it lays at well at the start +3+6+6-5+6+5-5+5+4-2** but when you get to the middle part you need to play two 5 overblow unfortunately. I Can't seem to find a position that works without ob's. Their maybe some high octave option but that wouldn't suit the Clarinet or sax tone you want. ----------
Now I'm more confused. I probably don't know enough about theory or position playing, but...
when I saw your tab, I thought it was 3rd position. Mainly because of the heavy use of the 4 draw and 1 draw as resolving tones.
So I took your tab (which I was viewing as 3rd position) and broke it down into scale degrees:
Root Octave Octave 7b, Oct 6 7b 6 4 7b
Then I thought of those scale degrees in 1st position and tabbed it out:
1+ 4+ 4+ 3', 4+ 3" 3' 3" 2" 1
Now, when I play the line I tabbed above, it sounds musical enough. It has the melody and shape of the original line. That makes sense because I just did a transposition. It certainly APPEARS to be a 1st position line, from the notes used.
However, if you tell me that your original tab was in 2nd, then that begs the question: what position is my transcription in?
I THINK my dad's track was in F, so I tried playing a low F along with it. I used the above 1st position tab and I thought it worked.
Any thoughts on this, Grey Owl?
Here's my complete tab, which I THOUGHT was 1st position:
Thanks for your thoughts Mirco. I have to say I'm the last person to try and solve a music theory question. I've gone round in circles on this. I used a Richard Clayderman backing track which I'm told is in Eb Major and if that's the case I'm in 2nd on the Ab Harp.
On the original Acker Bilk Vid below Some say it's in F as you have said and others say Bb. As there are 2 flats in the song (Bb & Eb)I thought it might be in Bb (but now I think that extra flat is maybe an accidental note.)So you are no doubt correct that you are in 1st position. Whether I'm in 2nd, I've no idea now!
Your tab works well as it's nice and low to simulate that sax pitch you're after. As you say it's a good workout on the 2 and 3 draw bends. The only slight problem I've found is the draw on 1 at the end of the 1st line is not low enough. Unfortunately the note (Eb) is not on the lower part of the harp.It's an octave down from -3* though, which you could play instead.
Have fun with it, it's a great melody.
Coincidentally, I've just been working recently on two short sax riffs using a Low F harp.
Thanks so much for all your help! Regardless of what "position" it is, I think I'll go with the low F harp approach. The really cool thing is that, with a low F, I can play it on the low octave, but--if I get creative with the melody a little--it's mostly possible on the upper octave. Requires some precision bending on the 10+ for that last line, though.
Figuring out sax keys is tricky. They play in a different key than other instruments. My sax player friend explained it this way:
"Here's a cheatsheet for sax math: Bb instruments (soprano/tenor sax) must transpose the song key up a major 2nd. Eb instruments (alto/baritone sax) must transpose the song key down a minor 3rd.
"For example, when a song is in the key of Bb: A tenor-sax player must transpose the song up a major 2nd and play it in the key of C. An alto-sax player must transpose the song down a minor 3rd and play it in the key of G."