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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Juke!
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5463 posts
Jul 07, 2018
6:15 AM
i am getting down with Juke. ive been procrastinating for a decade, learning a little bit then abandoning the project. in truth it is likely that the time is just right now. when i first attempted it i probably wasn't really capable whereas now i feel i can do it.
i learned verse 1 from Adam gussow's (tradebit) lesson.

thats a good start, especially to get the turnaround in verse 1.
i have numerous transcriptions and a video lesson by liam ward which i think is also helpful, not least in the way it encourages a methodical approach and careful listening. i dont agree with every part of his analysis, but for $4 i have zero complaints and actually about 99% praise. definitely a good move for me to get moving. i like Liam as a player and a tutor.

chorus 2 took me a good long time. several years i'd say, quite a few false starts. i had to learn how to concentrate and how to listen.

there were times i thought id just have to settle for 'close enough' but that bugged me.

chorus 8 (the finale)just came to me complete one night as i was waiting for a bus. i was humming something which i then tried to play and i was very happy to get a nice chorus, thinking i'd just come up with something pretty cool and then i added a turnaround which wanted to be an ended and i suddenly realised id been humming the last chorus of Juke.

but at least i kind of had 3 choruses. that was maybe 2014.

i learned the 3rd chorus last year i think, although i wasn't certain about some of it. thats one of the things with this. you might think youve got it and then you listen and realise that what youre doing is not quite right. i guess thats what happens when you take a decade to learn the song

eventually i returned to chorus 3 and felt better about it and i suddenly realised i had half the song.

thats when i got Liam's lesson to fast-track the rest of it.

chorus 4 has been looping today. im actually up to chorus 6 and can play through it all quite well but im still prone to stumble over some lines because i havent memorise it all, so im gonna get chorus 4 really solid before pushing on with chorus7. chorus 5 is pretty memorable and i feel i have that down well. chorus 6 is good but measures 9 through 11 will need some more focus, once ive really nailed chorus 4
chorus 4 is a thing which lives on a particular rhythmic variation and mainly just a couple of notes. 4 draw and 4 draw bend are crucial and it wasnt until i put it in the amazing slow downer and began to break it down with loops that i really started to appreciate it. slowed down a bit the rhythm comes through so strongly for my brain that i can dig it.
chorus 5 is much easier for me but i was thrown by Liam's suggestion that is all about octaves. ive decided i disagree. the opening phrases i think rely on a blow 6 with a blow 7 bleeding in, and maybe a touch of the 3 blow too. i dont think its the 6-9 split, and i dont think there are any draw splits. maybe im copping out but i really think im right, and i see Dave Barrett has transcribed what i think i'm hearing too, so that will do me.
chorus 6 is really interesting. generally quite easy but with an interesting rhythmic part in bars 9, 10, 11. which took me a while to get the hang of and i need to practice it a fair bit yet to solidify in my memory

chorus 7 seems relatively straightforward, its another rhythmic thing which doesn't rely on many notes in the main part.

i'm hoping i might be placed to roll it out with the band by the end of next month., or maybe sooner. i had a run through with bass and drums last week and it sounded pretty good. i wont do it publicly until i'm happy with it, but i'm really so thrilled with how its coming along even if i never play it with the band. i think just the experience of learning it is so worthwhile for me. i know its not 'modern' anymore but the approach is so musical that i believe it transcends fashion and popular style. there is just so much in it about melody and rhythm and harmony and playing the harp with good tone and form, controlling breath etc.
2560 posts
Jul 08, 2018
11:28 PM
It is a remarkable record. I know it's been discussed to death by harp players, but listening as a non-harp player it's got something special.

I think the appeal has to do with the mix of apparent simplicity and interesting sounds. I know how hard it is to get those sounds now but if you didn't know, the actual note choices are easy to follow.

In that sense it reminds me of another much-loved record: Humphrey Littleton's Bad Penny Blues. That was produced by Joe Meek who did something odd to the sound and gave it a special twist.

Hopefully we'll get to hear a recording of your version???

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jul 08, 2018 11:28 PM
5464 posts
Jul 09, 2018
1:00 AM
I recorded it for the first time yesterday.
Always an interesting experience to hear the play back.
Chorus 4 continues to be the main focus.
7 was actually about the most straightforward
And 8 as I suspected was not quite the way I had it. Not at all surprised to find that because I never studied it, just played something I’d been humming and identified it as the finale of Juke. So that’s a battle because I’ve already formed a habit. It’s close though.
Now I’m able to play through the entire thing so I’ll do that this week and record a few more times.
Acoustic into the iMac inbuilt mic is a bit interesting too. But I think this is the way to get it down. I note that I’m a bit harsh in some sounds so need to work on that. That’s emotional ideas overpowering ears. Subjective feeling getting the better of listening.
Little Walter could do so much with rhythm.
I’ve heard bad penny blues but not for a while. Will give a listen.
There is a lot of Reverb (or something) on the drums in Juke.
2561 posts
Jul 09, 2018
2:26 AM
Re reverb - yes and some echo I think, which is in time like guitarists do now with their delay pedals. The strange sound of the backing is part of it all. The hi-hat seems to get a lot of it.

I guess previously I'd have simply heard this as 'the sound of an old record, that's how they are' but now I'd think it was more intentional. I think the harp starts off with less reverb and ends with more too.

Same with Bad Penny Blues, I only knew it as an oldie, and so listened to it like that, but Joe Meek had consciously made that processed piano sound. Apparently Humph didn't like what he'd done - until it became a massive hit I guess.

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jul 09, 2018 2:31 AM
5468 posts
Jul 09, 2018
2:51 AM
here is a recording i just made. im still pretty raw but really happy to be able to play through it. ive adjust the 2nd and 3rd choruses to fit the regular count of the track. its mr shoji's backing track, custom made for juke. he called it 'joke'. no longer readily available for purchase online but can be obtained with a little persistence.

here is my recording
5469 posts
Jul 09, 2018
3:00 AM
and here is the value of recording; i need to work on a couple patches there in the 4th and 5th choruses particularly. and i know the final chorus is still rather approximate. for performance im not worried about that but for the sake of learning i think its important to go for accuracy rather than 'near enough'. i mean, i'm not too worried if what i achieve is 'near enough' but i'm aiming higher.
so that was valuable to listen to, as the recording went well and i didnt notice how skwirly i was getting on the 5 draw/bends in 4 and again in chorus 5. thats partly the tempo; im not really ready for full speed. probably another week at 80-90% to work on accuracy and tone
5470 posts
Jul 09, 2018
3:16 AM
Kinda heavy on the 3 draw bends in places too.
2562 posts
Jul 09, 2018
3:20 AM
Ace! That's excellent. The groove gets better as you go along, for me it's a little pushy at the start but lovely and laid back towards the end.

I'm not a juke aficionado, but are the phrases starting about 1m30s LW-style warbles, rather than breathy-tremolo-double-stops?

If we're talking about Juke the record vs Juke the piece of music, it's got be amped hasn't it? A lot of the fun is the amped timbre :)
5471 posts
Jul 09, 2018
4:55 AM
Yep absolutely, 1’30” is one of the areas I noticed. I think it’s largely a product of stepping up the tempo suddenly. I’ve been mainly playing along with LW at reduced tempo or just playing unaccompanied at my own pace, so stepping up was a bit of a shock. That’s a single take recording. Also the first time I’ve played it holding a mic.
I was actually plugged into a champ but I couldn’t turn it up much or would have A) overwhelmed my unsophisticated recording setup, and B) perhaps irritated my cohabitants who arrived home as I was setting up.
Recording used the inbuilt mic of my old iMac straight into garage band. And a fairly bright mic straight in. If I get the house to myself again I’ll set the amp up a bit further from the mic.
I did try a few choruses in the band room last week as the guitarist was delayed, and I had the bass player and drummer at my mercy. Played through the harp attack + Delay to PA and was fairly happy with it. But at that stage I only had 5 choruses memorised. I’ve learned the remaining 3 in 4 days, which sort of amazes me but also you know I’ve been listening to the song over 20 years so it’s kind of ‘in there’ on some level already.
I’m still a bit too focussed on playing all the phrases to be working with the amped sound really but will give it a shot with the band in a couple of days if they’ll indulge me for a few minutes.
2563 posts
Jul 09, 2018
5:25 AM
I mean it's great - I'm just responding to you wanting to do a note-for-note/sound-for-sound version rather than your own take on it. I think there's a lot to be said for that, although as I said on my other thread, a source of frustration possibly too :) You know, LW made a great sound but he wasn't burdened with trying to sound like someone else!

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jul 09, 2018 5:26 AM
5472 posts
Jul 09, 2018
6:02 AM
you are absolutely correct. i'm harking back to conversation with Mark Hummel in which his point was about extracting lessons from really trying to reproduce a piece. thats been so educational already since ive begun recording my attempts.

heres another one. i tried the mic again but i saw doors closing and im receiving the message thats quite unpopular. i reverted to acoustic and also tried to play very softly. thats another thing learning this song is impressing on me more than just about anything else ive played; that my default level is really quite hard. ive thought im fairly moderate in breath force but im finding i need to make quite a conscious effort to play more quietly with this one. i made some errors in this take in chorus 7 and 8, just forgetting what to play and probably chorus 1 took a few measures to settle in to the right beat but other aspects of this i like better.

2564 posts
Jul 09, 2018
6:59 AM
Yes ignoring the little rhythm glitches, I think this lighter touch will sound more like the original when you play it into a cupped mic and one of your nice amps. My strong impression is that to get the proper ghost-note feel going you have to play really very quietly and turn the mic/amp up.

Also it seems obvious that some of the choruses are being played very quietly indeed, very feathery.

The other end of the spectrum is Adam's amped sound - everything very strong. Both are attractive but not for this exercise.

It's amazing isn't it: some the choruses consist of just a few notes.

Great work.

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jul 09, 2018 7:17 AM
5473 posts
Jul 09, 2018
3:47 PM
Thanks for listening and comments. I always think this page is the place for this kind of discussion but perhaps I should be putting it on the front page.
I don’t break a lot of reeds now when I play, in fact I think I had a broken reed free year last year, and I played quite a lot, so on the one hand I think that means I’m playing at a reasonable force, or perhaps it means I’m controlling bends reasonably well. But there is something else going on with my playing which I have to get hold of.
I noticed a very harsh sound when I use the LW reverb pedal. I almost became convinced the pedal was faulty. I took it to the USA because Randy offered to replace it for me (I was going there anyway). But I tried one of his brand new units and found the same issue so it’s about the way I’m playing. Something I do is generating a big sudden signal at times.
I believe it’s my tongue movement. I’m slapping my tongue around a bit too enthusiastically at times, which goes with a certain ‘gusto’ of attacking a piece when the tempo is up...I’m thinking aloud...if movements are relatively large then the speed required is more challenging and speed of movements will increase, impacts will be greater, delicacy will be lost. I think that’s what I’m doing. Inside my mouth the tongue is really dancing around with too much vigour. It needs to chill out a bit. The movement required is only very small and the force of tongue required on harp is just the lightest.
So this shall be getting attention now, not just light breath force but light touch
2565 posts
Jul 10, 2018
2:23 AM
I'm surprised, it doesn't sound like that in the recording. In fact I think that percussive attack you have that gives the nice crackly sound that people crave from the amp.

I wonder if it's the order of pedals. With on-board reverb, wouldn't your signal be going through some preamp stage(s) first - whereas with the pedal it's your mic signal hitting the reverb first?

If it were me, I'd try putting your Harp Amp pedal in front of the reverb and see if you still get the harsh sound.

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jul 10, 2018 2:23 AM
outdoor joe
78 posts
Jul 10, 2018
11:00 AM
Nice Bee! Too advanced for me to tell what's all going on, but it sounds great!

5476 posts
Jul 10, 2018
10:13 PM
Thanks Outdoor Joe. I found some notes I made late last year during a lesson with Ronnie Shellist, which said “focus on making sounds, less memorisation”

But I’ve since memorised Mellow Down Easy, please throw this poor dog a bone (in 3rd position), you’re so fine, and Juke, so I’m not following the program very well

At least I am trying to ‘focus more on sound’ even though I’m not doing very well at ‘less memorisation’.

What I wanted to say about that though is that for me, learning a piece like this involves basic memorisation as the first step, and then a long process of polishing it up, sometimes in fits and starts. I’m finding with this one that recording is really helpful. It’s still amazing to me and at times alarming, how what I think I hear when I’m playing sometimes is very different to what I hear on the recording,
124 posts
Jul 15, 2018
3:29 PM
Awesome, really digging the sound of the take 2 version - very soulful! This tune sounds like it's lots of fun to play (probably also devilishly hard :) ). I would recommend posting it on the main forum also.
Nice job,
5512 posts
Jul 27, 2018
6:51 AM
thanks Skullkid. I have just posted up a new take, 18 days on.
ive been practicing quite a bit, i feel like i have made a fair bit of progress but still hitting a few notes too hard when i'm really getting into the swing and forgetting to take charge of the attack. hence i think a bit harsh at times. have been playing with the band a couple of times (in rehearsal) and probably not at quite this tempo.
i'm finding it is very enjoyable to play.

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