Level III Downloads
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E-Z Instrumental 3 DownloadE-Z Instrumental 3 DownloadThe goal with this LEVEL III instrumental is to continue to build upon the Level I & Level II versions of this song that you have memorized. It’s quite likely that you will need a minimum of a year of experience before attempting this. The new techniques you will use are dirty notes, ornamental bending, vamping, rapid vamping and the split-4 block . . .
East Aurora Shuffle DownloadEast Aurora Shuffle DownloadNew 12-18-2013 Level III - Medium Tempo 12 Bar Blues Shuffle - This song is intended to be one of the easier Level III songs. It is actually a revised version of "Buffalo Shuffle-O" which is named after Rick Nicotra and numerous other friends in the Buffalo, New York areas. After using it for a few years, I decided to make some upgrades to it. This song very much has a Big Walter type of sound to it. The head hints of T.D.'s Boogie Woogie and is very recognizable as classic Chicago Blues that I think every blues harp player should know.
Henry's Lament DownloadHenry's Lament DownloadThis is a study of the first known cross harp approach to playing the harmonica that was originally often referred to as “choking.” Henry Whitter recorded a few versions of this in 1923 called “Rain Crow Bill Blues” and “The Old Time Fox Chase” followed by “Weepin’ Blues” and “Rabbit Race” in 1924 and “Lost John” in 1925. . . .
I Need My Baby Blues DownloadI Need My Baby Blues DownloadThis song is a study of the style of Walter Horton and how we would likely play a melodic type of blues. Please pay careful attention to the anticipated / swung notes & chords, the quarter note triplets in the solo page and on page 7, and the consistent use of throat tremolo. As a long term goal, please work towards incorporating the use of bright head tones. ALWAYS be listening to Walter's recordings!!!
8 pages of instruction notations and 26 instruction tracks
I. O. U. Blues DownloadI. O. U. Blues DownloadThis is a study in slow blues and in developing the EP (exhale push). IOU Blues stands for Inhale Only Ultimate Blues. Most of the powerful blues sounds come from inhaling, so it made sense to me to write an inhaling only study song. This is much in the spirit of the slow blues by Little Walter, but does not have the advanced bending demands on hole 3. Be sure to read up on the Breathing Guides.
5 pages and 15 tracks.
Inhale Blues DownloadInhale Blues DownloadThis is a study of how inhaling is one of the secrets to where the deepest and darkest blues is to be found on the harp.  The inspiration came from the slow blues recordings of Little Walter and how, after carefully transcribing many of his recordings, I came to realize that frequently more than 90% of all the notes he played were only inhaling notes . . .
Jail W Blues DownloadJail W Blues DownloadLevel III -  This is a study of the style and techniques of John Lee Williamson (JLW) a.k.a. Sonny Boy Williamson #1. His largely acoustic playing style may be the most imitated acoustic blues style in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Play all clean single notes using tongue blocking and switch for hole #1. John Lee was the master at playing dirty with great precision. He even applied it to the splits not shown in this study. You should first learn this piece clean and then slowly try to incorporate in the "dirt."
Jerry's Cajun Blues DownloadJerry's Cajun Blues Downloadhis is a study of the Cajun approach to playing the harmonica which seems to have first been recorded by Arteleus Mistric on November 7, 1929 and later by players like Isom Fontenot and my dear brother Mr. Jerry Devillier, for whom this song is named.  Key to the Cajun approach is playing lots of splits that outline the chord changes and keep the rhythm pumping accurately with the breath pulse.  This is exactly what the single row Cajun accordion is doing.  It is basically tuned just like the harmonica.  Check out the Filisko Tongue Block Trainer if you need help developing accuracy with your splits.
Key to the High Weigh DownloadKey to the High Weigh DownloadThis song is a detailed study in playing over the popular 8 bar blues associated with the song "Key to the Highway." Goals are learning to improvise over the 8 bar form and to improvise around the melody. The biggest challenges will be to "own" the melody, develop the technique necessary to play the bends with precision, and become solid with the 8 bar form. Going to the "V" on bar 2 will be very challenging. You must learn to avoid resolving on the tonic note (2 inhale) in the second bar and fine tune your bend on hole 3. Ten Instruction pages and 24 tracks.
Little Boogie DownloadLittle Boogie DownloadThis song is a study of one of the blues harmonica essentials, playing a boogie riff. In the late 1940’s and early 50’s, this style of piece was recorded by Walter Horton, who appears to have called himself “Little Walter,” Forrest City Joe and Jimmy Rogers with more to follow. If you are able to play the first few bars with confidence and good rhythm, you will be able to start the song without a count-off and signal the band in at the IV chord. This song is also a warm-up for the study song “Shakey’s Boogie,” which is a warm up for the classic instrumental“Walter’s Boogie.”
Lock Jaw Blues DownloadLock Jaw Blues DownloadThis song will help you to develop stronger tongue switching and percussive vamping skills at the low end of the harp. The song's name comes from the ability to focus the needed movement on the tongue NOT THE JAW! It will be necessary to spend time monitoring yourself playing this while looking into a mirror. The temptation will indeed be great to add in the "ghost chords" in between the vamping on the downbeats. You need to resist this in order to develop the vamping as explosively as possible. Make it sound comparable on both holes 1 & 2.
Mannish Blues DownloadMannish Blues DownloadThis is a study of the riff played in the Muddy Waters song, "Mannish Boy,' first recorded May 24, 1955 as a "I" chord tune. Certainly one of the most recognizable blues harmonica riffs of all time.
MB-16 Blues DownloadMB-16 Blues DownloadThis song is a study of the melody for Little Walter's song "My Baby" played over 16 bar form similar to "This Train," "When the Saint's go Marching In," "Momma Don't Allow," and "Crawdad Hole." Since the V chord comes in early in the form and is played for two bars, these chord changes can be quite difficult to solo over for harp players who are only used to playing over the 12 bar form.
N-P Blues DownloadN-P Blues DownloadLEVEL III - This song is a study of the technique that I call the Nose Push (NP). The simple explanation is
releasing air through your nose simultaneously to playing an exhale note, split or chord. Failing to use the (NP) will make this tune nearly impossible to play. Playing an exhale note in place of the notated inhale ones will make the song less bluesy sounding. . .
Nine Bar Blues DownloadNine Bar Blues DownloadThis is a study of the extremely common blues melody most often known as, "Sitting On Top of The World," "Come On In My Kitchen," "You Got go Move" and "Worst Enemy." The song is sometimes played as an 8-bar blues by leaving off bar 8 after the hook and going straight to the turnaround.
Out of the Box DownloadOut of the Box DownloadThis song is a study in the "Box Shuffle." It is an instantly recognizable classic blues riff that is the same groove as the "Jimmy Reed" shuffle but tends to sound a little more modern. It should be an essential part of all harp players repertoire. While this version of the song is "bending light," it does exploit the strengths of the harmonica and is full of thythmical challenges and mainly uses notes from the blues scale. When you can perform the entire piece with attitude, you can move on to the more difficult version called "In the Box", which has more advanced bending in it.
Pick-Up Boogie DownloadPick-Up Boogie DownloadThis song is a study in playing the very common "pick-up" lick starting on hole three. The piece certainly has strong similarities to both of the Walters. The phrase played over the last 4 bars are almost always the same allowing you to become more skilled at playing quarter note triplets. It is also a little unusual that while the band goes to the V at the turnaround, the harmonica does not. This is a trademark of Jerry McCain. 8 pages of instruction sheets and 28 tracks.
Q Boogie DownloadQ Boogie DownloadThis song is a study in playing FAST and using musical quotes. Playing the quotes will also sharpen your bending skills . . .
Rice Cool Blues DownladRice Cool Blues DownladThis song is a study of the style and techniques of Rice Miller, a.k.a. Sonny Boy Williamson #2 . . .
Rumba Blues DownloadRumba Blues DownloadThis is a study of the commonly heard blues rumba.  One big advantage of knowing a song like this is that it is highly recognizable to any band that is familiar with blues.  This allows you to start the song off and signal the band in at the IV chord if your rhythm and playing are strong . . .
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