Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Blsuegrass
Blsuegrass
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Indi Bill
2 posts
Feb 25, 2019
5:39 AM
Got any ideas on the quick blows-draws and moves I found that I am husitating in between the notes.
barbequebob
3566 posts
Feb 25, 2019
9:33 AM
If there is a "hesitation" happening, it means you're playing with way too much breath force AKA you're playing way too hard all the time and because of that, you can't stop the momentum and you're slowing yourself down by better than 75%.
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WinslowYerxa
1629 posts
Feb 25, 2019
12:24 PM
To move really fast (as often needed in bluegrass) you need to acquire a few skills.

As Barbeque mentions, breathing gently is a big help. Your air column contains something like a gallon of air. Every time you change breath direction, you have to bring that flow to a dead stop and then get it going in the opposite direction. The less force you're using, the easier it is to stop the train. And the less air you use, again you can move much more rapidly.

But why are you hesitating? One possible reason is that you're not sure what to do next. Playing a fast series of notes requires you to have already traveled that path of actions - changing breath direction, changing holes, perhaps moving in and out of bends. Mapping out that action path and then traveling it SLOWLY will let you brain and nervous system get familiar with the path, clearning the rocks and brush out fo the way. ONce the path becomes familiar, you can start to speed it up. Practicing not only tune melodies but scales, arpeggios, and licks, at first slowly and then faster, can help you develop the speed you seek.
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jbone
2844 posts
Feb 25, 2019
1:05 PM
Guys, Bill is pretty new so that can be taken into account, right?
So far though your advices are spot on. All I can add is that part of the equation for any fast playing, but maybe more so in cross or second position, for me it was learning to use my throat and mouth and jaw and tongue to help switch direction from draw to blow and back. Hard to explain, which is why I don't teach! I once tried to teach 2 neighbor kids and they gave up before long.


I listened to a lot of different harp players over a long time and wanted so badly to do what they did, but my learning limitations kept me from actually succeeding in traditional ways. I finally cleaned up about 32 years ago and even then it was years before some things began to sink in. In those first several years I did fool with some bluegrass stuff, if it was pretty basic 3 chord music. It is very good at character building and skill building a harp player in some ways! I was more leaning toward blues at the time. But once I worked out how to play at the tempo of some of that bluegrass stuff, the work to play better with medium and slow blues was much easier seeming.

In my late 40's I quit playing for more than a year. I told myself I didn't have time and I was busy building a business, which was pretty much a 24/7 task. Once the business died for good I realized that a large part of my spirit was asleep. I vowed to wake it back up and never leave music behind again! Now in my 60's I have been mostly active with music for about 18 years every chance I've had. I am lucky to have a duo partner who is also my dear wife, and we've been playing together for about 15 years, and in recent years since we're both retired, we have been on the road at every chance and that's our life now.


Finding a dedicated music partner can do a lot for you. But also you have to be dedicated yourself and take every opportunity to learn new stuff.

We do a lot of blues, roots rock, and Americana type stuff, and we write in those veins as well. In a way I have it easy. Other ways I have been very challenged to stretch my little mind around some new ideas. It all pays off.

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Indi Bill
3 posts
Feb 25, 2019
1:21 PM
Thank you all for the advice. I will keep practicing until I can do it. You all take care and Peace be with you all.
Harp2swing
288 posts
Feb 25, 2019
2:22 PM


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