Dennis Gruenling

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Lookin' Sharp

First Chorus Breakdown

Hi Everyone -

This week we tackle the first chorus of my George “Harmonica" Smith tribute “Lookin’ Sharp”. I will go over various George Smith stylings, such as his use of tremolo, octaves with tremolo, his bent 3 draw usage and his approach using both root notes on the 2 draw and 3 blow. Remember, if any of these techniques are new to you (such as octaves with tremolo), practice them as a separate exercise. 

So work on your tremolo and vibrato and start “Lookin’ Sharp”!

- Dennis Gruenling



Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Key of A
D Harp
Dave Gross
George Harmonica Smith
Lookin Sharp
Dennis Gruenling

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

D Harp in the Key of A

Loop 0:00 First Two Choruses of "Lookin' Sharp"

Loop 1:40 Breakdown of Hook Riff

Loop 4:16 Hook Riff Variation

Loop 6:44 Practice Loop of Hook Riff

Loop 7:18 Octave Tremelo Riff

Loop 8:34 Fourth Verse

Loop 9:28 Practice Loop

Loop 9:48 4 / 5 Trill Riff

Loop 11:19 Practice Loop 

Loop 11:40 V Chord to Turnaround

Loop 13:57 Practice Loop of First Chorus





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Tominou Oct 16, 2015

Hello Mr Gruenling,

I've tried to write the timing of the song for this first part. Each line is a "riff" you played, seven for this part. Blue color is when you play, white is silences I've counted. (there are half silence sometimes, symbolised by half size of the box)

When you heat the tempo during your explainations, total is 48 if I don't misunderstand.

If i follow the heat of your fingers at the beginning when you are with the guitarist, total is half, so 24, for the same speed.

How do you do to be in time for each phrase, do you count silences and half silences in your head, or is there an order more logiccal to organise the timing and the phrases? Is it 2 lines of a 12 blues bar from for example?

I hope you understand my question, cause i never learned to write/read the music as you can guess!

Thank you for answering...


Tominou Oct 16, 2015


Tominou Oct 15, 2015

Thank you Mr Gruenling for this big tribute,

There's so many details you give, that I feel like if I was peeling an oignon!! You strip the song for us, litterally.

You go very deep in details for my skill, but you keep clear in your explainations, and that's fantastic and rare in my opinion.

I bought a D  and a G harp for this lesson, and I don't regret at all!

And now I learn to hit the tempo with my foot as you do. I've just discovered the importance of it, the song takes another sense when I try to play it now, like if I found the box in which the phrases of the song enter in with perfect size!

Thank you again

Thomas from France



Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Oct 19, 2015

Thank You Thomas! I just saw this as I am in my way home from tour, sorry for the delay!

Do you still need any help with the tempo, or do you have a better feel for it now. 

Depending on the groove of each song, some songs such as this one, may have a half-time (or in other instances a double-time) feel so counting the in between beats can help really get a feel for the groove at first. 

I don't quite understand your layout with the blue and white spaces, but in this music and definitely this song there are many times when the feel of the groove or sometimes just a particular lick or passage is half- or double-time...and as I mentioned sometimes that is the case with the whole groove for the song. 

It is different for every song, but this is a 12-bar blues and the groove has sort of a half-time feel to it in a way. 

...also be careful of using your foot stomping to keep tempo, because that can throw your timing off as well, unless you are already very good with your time keeping!

thansk for the message!


Tominou Oct 20, 2015

Thank you very much for your answer,

I'll work again to identify the 12 bars composing this part of the song, which is no clear in my head I think. I try to count like I saw Adam Gussow in a video "1  2  3  4, 2  2  3  4, 3  2  3  4 , 4  2  3  4  etc... til 12  2  3  4". I'm a beginner and I must persevere!

I'm happy to have guessed counting half time is important fo this song. 

Thank you for your advices and please go on giving us pleasure and knowledge at the same time!




Boyd R
Boyd R Sep 06, 2015

This is a fun tune

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 10, 2015

Thanks! I tried to piece together a lot of the stuff I learned from George's recordings and construct a tune in his style.

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