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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Route 19
Route 19
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443 posts
Sep 09, 2019
5:49 AM
Totally in the YMMV category, I’ve found Charlie Musselwhite’s ”Route 19”
pretty good practice for low end bends.
Phil Pennington
6156 posts
Sep 10, 2019
4:53 AM
I will have to check it out, Fil. I have some Musselwhite recordings now but I’m not sure if I have that one. Good excuse to go find out!
We don’t see lots of ‘international’ harp players out here, but Charlie is one who I was fortunate to hear play live a few years ago.

For low end bends, I think nothing brought my playing along more than playing lots of 1st position stuff. I had some exercises which certainly helped though.
Basically I believe that solid challenging passages help.
There are no end of examples. A few I’ve used include Satin Doll, Speak Softly, Love, and Blue Skies. Then lots of 1st position blues, including Hoochie Coochie Man, Ice Cream Man, Hard Hearted Woman and a few others. Basically whenever I find a 1st position blues which uses the low octave a lot. Take Mahal played some low end 1st I heard which really got me going on that but there’s also a Dave Barrett song lesson called The Tub which teaches a lot. Great licks in that song which show solid ways of getting around..
but 1st isn’t the point of course, it just makes heavy use of the chromatic possibilities on the low octave. 11 notes in the first 3 holes, 14 in the first 4. Only 1 note missing from a full chromatic ‘octave’, just for the sake of being able to control draw bends.

It’s not the only way to progress, but work on improving draw bends is always good use of harp time I think.

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