Dennis Gruenling

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Lookin' Sharp

Second and Third Chorus Breakdown

Hi Harp Fans!

This week we dive further into “Lookin’ Sharp”, my diatonic harmonica tribute to George “Harmonica” Smith. In Chorus Two, we will work on using more octaves, slight 5 draw bends, and powerful 4 draw scoops. As we go into Chorus Three we will work on subtleties with the 3 draw bend with throat and hand vibrato, and the building of tension with timing and phrasing, which is one of the things that George Smith was most known for.

Dig in, and keep yourself “Lookin’ Sharp”!

- Dennis Gruenling




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

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

D Harp in the Key of A

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

Loop 1:36 Introduction to the 2nd and 3rd Chorus Breakdown

Loop 2:24 2nd Chorus Run-Through

Loop 3:01 I Chord Breakdown

Loop 6:33 IV Chord Breakdown

Loop 7:50 Practice Loop of I and IV Chord

Loop 8:07 I Chord Breakdown (Bars 7 & 8)

Loop 9:27 V Chord Through the Turnaround

Loop 11:25 Practice Loop of 2nd Chorus

Loop 11:58 3rd Chorus Breakdown

Loop 15:57 Practice Loop of 2nd and 3rd Chorus





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jacob clay
jacob clay Sep 22, 2015


First of all loving these Looking Sharp lessons, my first time making the most of that 3 blow.

Although I've been playing blues harp for 5 years now, I often find I'm much more imaginative when practicing on my own compared to the weekly live music night I attend (where I tend to resort to more familiar licks and phrases). Just wondering if you had any kind words of wisdom.

These videos are much appreciated. All the best.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 22, 2015

Thanks a lot!!

In my experience (and with others I know), that is totally normal. It may be in every player's best interest to use what you are familiar with and what you KNOW will work (and sound good) when you are on the bandstand. But I also think you are asking how to be more imaginative or WHEN do you cross the line and become more imaginative on the bandstand....?

Different things will lead different players to that point. The biggest thing will be comfort and confidence in your abilities. If you want to be more imaginative on the bandstand, you want to be comfortable feeling (and knowing) that the ideas you come up with WILL be good and work out well. It takes a while to get to that point, and everybody has a different level of comfort vs. embarrassment that they are willing to deal with. Not all your ideas will work out, but when you practice jamming and improvising more and more, you will notice when your ideas are more often than not sounding good, and that will help you feel confident enough to do more of that while on stage. 

This is an issue I worked at a lot in my development, and learning solos from great players (note for note) helped in my development a lot. It helped me know my instrument better, helped my vocabulary grow, and eventually gave me confidence that I will come up with stuff that sounds good more often than not....assuming I really learned the material well and knew the instrument better once I learned it.

Hope that helps!!


jacob clay
jacob clay Sep 22, 2015

Great advice, thanks!

Learning solos from the greats note for note (including a couple of your own, naturally) happens to be the approach I started taking a couple of years ago, but I'm pleased to hear that advice coming directly from a pro. So I reckon it's a confidence thing. 

Happy Harpin'! 

Boyd R
Boyd R Sep 12, 2015

Looking Sharp  a lot lesson to take in I'm still working on Horton Shuffle and also three other songs. Really learning a lot thanks for being here.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 13, 2015

Thanks - I'm glad to be here working on styles and techniques of the masters. George did a great job of combining techniques too, as you can see (and hear) with his tremolo-octaves and such. Making sure you have a good grasp of the techniques individually first I found is usually the easiest way to learn any nuanced piece. Enjoy it!

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