I was fortunate lately to score a new G harp, as a result of attending one of Dennis Gruenling's webinars; this one on 3rd position. So thats pretty cool. Its ages since i had a new 'stock' harp. The song Dennis taught that day which used a G harp was I Got To Go, so i undertook to use the harp to learn that song.
Harp arrived yesterday so this morning i got into it, Once i parked the car i fired up a looping app and did 15 - 20 minutes in the car. Memorised the intro and 1st verse today. the opening is on the 8 draw. I'm doing a tongue flutter on the 8 draw and bleeding in a bit of 4 and 5 with a small descending gliss at the end of the first and second measures, the 3rd statement of the 8 draw is longer and winds up with an almost staccato phrase 8 +7 6 5 +5 +4 The next phrase is quite a dynamic affair. The 3 draw is hit on a full step bend which is released as you slide to 4 draw and the slide continues up to 5 draw, followed by 5 blow and 4 draw (3"3 4 5 +5 4) hard on the heels comes and echo of the previous 3 notes 5 +5 4
this section is repeated 3" 3 4 5 +5 4, 5 +5 4
Then the tricky bit
2" 3" 3 4, 4 2" 3" 3 4, 4
in both these phrases the 3 draw is hit with a full bend which is released to a plain note but in a smooth action. there is probably a musical term for this. if you get a slow down looping app you can hear it. reproducing it might be more of a challenge but its worth doing.
the final 4 measures go something like +2 +3, 5 +6 6 4 +4 2' 1, 2" 3" 3 4 +4 3" 1, 4 +2
the move in the middle of this ie 2" 3" 3 4, is almost a gliss. its a little different in the way its phrased to the similar group of notes in bar 7 and 8, because in those there is a slight halt between the 3 and the 4, whereas here its a continuous slide and the plain 3 draw is present but not emphasised as we pass on the the 4 draw. of course, in the previous phrase we played the 4 draw a send time whereas here we go to the 4 blow.
I find the thought of this intimidating but in practice its kind of exhilarating to play. There's a chance i'm a nerd.
I pushed on through the 1st verse. There are a couple of fills. That will do for today.
That lick ive mentioned specifically a couple times above, with the 2" 3" 3 part, thats kind of the central idea in this song so i'm gonna get plenty of practice with it
I quite like this G harp. i gave it a light touch with some fine paper just to take the edge off. i think it will help my game.
I have a G crossover too. I have a bunch of G harps really but this might be the only standard 1896.
First impression was that it was an excellent player, apart from the 1 blow which was misaligned. I expect it's had some rough handling somewhere along its very long journey to me. G harps and lower are especially prone to misalignment of the long reeds due to the weight of the reed. So straight away I had to split the blow plate of the comb and fix that but everything else was great. Once I'd been playing it for a while I noticed I could feel i'd been playing, so I found a little piece of wet & dry and just blunted the sharpest edges and corners. It really doesn't take much effort to make this significantly friendlier. I didn't remove the covers, just rubbed the corners and edges to blunt them a little. I think it probably helps to tongue block these, or at least play with a good relaxed lip embouchure because they can be a bit hard on the lips.
I started in on the first solo today. I'm 8 bars in, played it a few times on the walk in today. Will need a memory refresh but it's coming on OK.
so the 1st solo starts with a dip bend on the 4 which quickly turns into a shake on the 4 and 5. this occupies about 3 beats then he hits 4 blow on beat 4, then a lick which is 3" 2" 1 4. That is a lick used often in this song. I'm sorry i havent totally worked out the beats in this but that 3" 2" 1 is very quick bar 3 starts in much the same way with the 4-5 shake but holds on an extra beat and then this phrase: +4 3" 2" 1 +1. as you can see, those are very similar notes except for the 1 blow at the end. The timing is different though.
then bars 5 an d 6: its a bit hard to spell but its 3" hit on the full step bend but like a "dwah" sort of thing whereby the 3" is released up to the straight 3 draw then +4 4. There might be a tongue slap to the 3 blow immediately prior to the 3". i think there is but its fairly soft. it actually makes sense to me to play this, it just seems easier than starting on the 3" somehow.
this is played twice then bars 7 and 8 are the familiar (by now) lick 2" 3" 3 4, 4, 2" 3" 3 4, 4
bar 9 kicks off with a wail on 6 draw whicxh starts with a dip bend and the incorporates a shake with the 7 draw
this now gets super interesting. the moment of genius in the solo. after the shake, he dips the 6 draw again then doews this run. youll just have to listen and slow down to work the timing out but these are the notes i think
so the 6 draw dip then +7 8 9 +8 8 6 +6 5 4 +4 2" 1
that is almost a full traverse of the harp, from 9 draw C to 1 draw A. its one of the beauties of third position to be able to do this, and on the G harp of course you can resolve to that one draw A which is an octave lower than the 2 draw of a D harp (which you would use to play this song in same key in second position).
Note also that line only uses the dip bend on 6 draw and the bend on 2"
then the turnaround is 2" 3" 4 +4, 3" 2" 1 1, +2 +3
these are approximate. the first 3" is slid over so quickly that its being released even as your still sliding through to hit the 4 draw, and then on the way back down through the 2" its also very quick. You just have to be able to get the mouth shape for these and carry it through as you slide to the next note.
anyway, thats the first solo. i'll see if i can record my progress and upload it. i'm singing this too, so just learning in a fairly linear end to end approach. I can move on to the second verse now though so that will be 2 instrumentals and 2 vocals. i think the second solo is less complex but will deal with that whjen i get there
I discussed that long traverse of the harp which begins in bar 9 of the first solo.
I spoke with Dennis Gruenling about it on Saturday, and he believes it does not include the +7.
It's a little harder to describe.
I have arrived at a different understanding of this lick, or at least the start of it, since this discussion with DG.
Obviously the luck commences with a wailing 6 draw, involving a dip bend and a shake to include the 7 draw. This is released and quickly followed by a gliss up to 9 draw, which is quickly followed by the descending run as I have described in the previous post. It's the question of how to get to the 9 draw from the 6 which interested me. I now think there is possibly a tongue lift right at the beginning of the slide up to the 9 draw. This probably creates the feel of a gliss from 4 draw, when the tongue comes back down to effectively start that run up to the 9 with a slap on the 6. So it's like wail the 6 with a bit of a bend to start and a shake involving the 7 and a bit more of a dip as it ends, all the time with the tongue blocking a couple of holes to the left, then lift the tongue So the 4 and 5 briefly sound, and also it back down to hit the 6 as you slide up to the 9 draw via 7 and 8, then commence that run back down via 8 blow, 8 draw, 6 draw, 6 blow, 5 draw, 4 draw, 4 blow, 2 draw whole step bend, 1 draw.
And on to the second solo. Commences with a shake on 4 and 5 draw. This continues for 4 bars. There is an inflection at the start of bar 3, and again at the start of bar 4. This helps create the sense of rhythm and helps the player keep time. Bars 5 and 6 are this same shake moved down to the 2 and 3 draw I think, although maybe it's the 3 and 4. I haven't really inspected it too closely, I just play it so it sounds right. Bar 7 and 8 involve the 4 draw again but with rhythmic stabs. You just have to listen to get the time right, but it's not a deal breaker.
I'll have to listen again to recall how it all resolves. It's not the most interesting solo Walter ever devised, frankly, but in the context of the song it works. I think it's worth studying because it demonstrates clearly the harmonic backbone of the song, and it also demonstrates how you sometimes don't have to do a lot. It's a less is more thing.
In verse 3 I think Walter doesn't even play the fills. During the first 2 vocals he does some fairly minimalistic fills, mainly stabs but possibly he plays that stock lick 2" 3" 3 4 he uses in the intro and first solo. It's hard to transcribe because the 3" and 3 are kind of the same thing, it's a dynamic moving situation as he passes over on the way to the 4. I thought I could hear this the first time I listened but on subsequent listens I'm not sure. It fits, but I find it can make it a bit difficult to have the right breath available to deliver the vocal so I'm ambivalent about it.
But anyway, vocal verse 3, no fills that I hear. Then the outro. The first parts are really just variations and repeats of things which have been used elsewhere in the song.
Only the closing lick is new. I have played all but the closing lick, but I haven't memorised it all yet. Will take a couple more sessions.