Dennis Gruenling

Lesson >


Scaled Down


1st Chorus Breakdown

Hello Sonic Junctioneers!

This week we start working on my new “Scaled Down” piece, in 2nd position on a G harmonica. This piece uses ONLY notes in the blues scale, and I particularly crafted the “head” of the song (otherwise known as the "theme”) with a run straight up the blues scale. Scales are important to know, since they will help get a particular sound while playing music, and once you are comfortable with it, it takes the guess work out of going for a specific mood.

Grab your G harps, start working that blues scale, and ENJOY!

- Dennis Gruenling

 

 

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Technique
G Harp
Key of D
Dave Gross
Scaled Down
Dennis Gruenling

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

G Harp in the Key of D.

Loop 0:00 Dennis and Dave Playing Chorus 1 & 2

Loop 0:39 The Blues Scale in 2nd Position

Loop 4:00 First Chorus Acoustically

Loop 4:28 Main Riff Breakdown

Loop 5:48 Repeat of Main Riff

Loop 6:55 Last Repeat of Main Riff

Loop 7:40 Slow Practice Loop

Loop 8:37 At Tempo Practice Loop

Loop 9:00 Closing Thoughts

 

 

 

Comments

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joboogieman@yahoo.com
joboogieman@yahoo.com Dec 10, 2017

Hey is it impossible to do tongue blocking with slapping on the 2 draw to starting.  I find it hard to switch back and forth. I guess I need to work on that, oh well really cool tune using the blues scale. 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 10, 2017

Start getting used to slapping on the 3 draw and higher. When that is comfiortable, work on the 2 draw, it's rreally not much different when you are comfortable with the technique.

Grant Page
Grant Page Nov 09, 2017

Hey Dennis, listening back  closely to the first lick in the performance , are you picking up some of the 2 draw with that half step bend on the 3 draw or is it a function of the mic and amp? Also on the rhythmic tounging on the 2 draw my tone is very thin, any tips on making it bigger? I don’t seem to have that problem except on that one part.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 09, 2017

That first run up the scale, when I hit the 3 draw half-step, it is slightly distorted. Meaning, I bleed in just a hair of the next higher adjacent hole (hole 4 draw) to get that "dirty" sound. A distorted note is usually just that...a bleeding in of a touch of the next higher adjacent note. Thanks for bringing to my attention. Obviously you can add this or not, but for that "dirty" sound on that note, that is how it is done.

Grant Page
Grant Page Nov 09, 2017

Cool thanks 

Grant Page
Grant Page Sep 29, 2017

HI again Dennis, could you offer some tips for hitting that whole step bend on the 2 draw right on, everytime I get to it i seem to be sliding down from just above the pitch and doesn't sound right.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Oct 03, 2017

Best thing would be to spend some time just practicing to hold that whole step bent note...get your muscles built up a bit more so that you can hit it on command.

Grant Page
Grant Page Oct 03, 2017

Thanks Dennis

Grant Page
Grant Page Sep 26, 2017

Thanks again for answering my many questions. I’m really loving your lessons on here, I think I’ve finally found the the website And lessons that will begin to get me where I want to be as a harp player 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 26, 2017

Glad you are digging the lessons...many more things planned for Sonic Junction, and they already have tons of great stuff!!

Grant Page
Grant Page Sep 26, 2017

At  the end of both of the first 2 licks when you go back to the 2 draw is there any tounge slap there? I could swear I hear something besides the striaght single note.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 26, 2017

The second time around it seems that there is a very slight 'slap" effect, but it's not essential to the piece or necessary...it was more of an after-thought that snuck in subconsciously when I played it

Grant Page
Grant Page Sep 19, 2017

Hi Dennis, This my be out of the scope of the format of this site,but I would love to see a lesson series on improvising

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 26, 2017

It's a great idea and would love to talk about that...thanks!

Grant Page
Grant Page Sep 18, 2017

Hi again Dennis, i'm noticing when I am trying to play first chorus at tempo, I alwasy seem to hit the bend on the  4 draw a little flat, any tips to fix this?

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 26, 2017

Spend a little practice time going between bent and (completely) unbent 4 draw notes...first slowly, then quicker. Make sure you can control the muscle movement needed. It's not difficult, but the tricky part is that it's a very small controlled movement between the two and us players usually play and breathe too hard (even when we think we aren't) which adds to the drop in pitch also. Try that out! Thanks for asking, great question!!

Grant Page
Grant Page Sep 05, 2017

Thanks Dennis, yeah I had it backwards 

Grant Page
Grant Page Sep 05, 2017

Thanks Dennis, yeah I had it backwards 

Grant Page
Grant Page Sep 04, 2017

HI Dennis, On the first lick when you run up from the 4 blow to the 6 draw, are you tongue slapping any of those notes or am I hearing things?

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Sep 05, 2017

Do you mean from the 4 draw to the 6 blow? (this pattern starts the first chorus of the "solo" after the first 12-bar "head" of the song)

If that is what you mean, there isn't really any tongue-slaps going on

Justin Norton
Justin Norton Jan 07, 2017

Thanks Dennis. Killer song -- enjoying working on it. Happy New Year.

 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Jan 07, 2017

Thank You Justin! Happy New Year to you as well...!

 

Justin Norton
Justin Norton Jan 06, 2017

Hey Dennis -- towards the end of the first phrase before 1-2" there seems to be just a slight ghost chord and a little chord exhale before the IV. Am I hearing that right? 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Jan 06, 2017

Hi - In the performance I cannot hear anything like that, aside from what may be a the tiniest of "breath" noise, but if it was there, it was subtle and inconsequential to the song. 

Boyd R
Boyd R Dec 19, 2016

So the

 old marine band would have good sound

 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 20, 2016

The old harps you hear on the older recordings were mostly all tuned closer to "Just" intonation, which means the notes were tuned more to the chord, which has the 3 draw and 5 draw notes somehwat flat (especially 5)...but to me those notes are TOO flat to my ears. They are out of tune, but do make the chords sound smoother. I prefer compromised tuning like on the Crossover, where the notes are closer to true pitch, but not too much where the chords sound too harsh.

Boyd R
Boyd R Dec 19, 2016

The deluxe one with the screws do they have reed plates that you change

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 19, 2016

I don't think you can get reed plates for them, but it certainly makes it easier to clean and tune them if you want to take care of your harps.

Boyd R
Boyd R Dec 19, 2016

thanks for answering. one question is the marine band delux a better harp it has screws, so can you change the reed plates

and would have better sound to it

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 19, 2016

I prefer the Crossover myself, and the Deluxe is pretty much out of production now anyway, but you can find them still at some places. Keep in mind the main difference between the two harps (Marine Band Deluxe & the Crossover)...the Deluxe is tuned like a stock Marine Band with more "Just" intonation" (meaning the tuning is more to the chord than the individual notes, which causes some notes to be a litte flat just like the older harps you hear on the classic recordings) and the Crossover is a "compromised" tuning where the notes are in pitch to each individual note, but not quite so much where it sounds harsh like "Equal" tuning (were every note is specifically in tune individually, but the chords will sound harsh when played). Plus, the combs are differenet and I do prefer the bamboo comb on the Crossover.

Boyd R
Boyd R Dec 19, 2016

I've been playing with Lee Oskar. And what would be a better harmonica? thanks

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 19, 2016

Please keep in mind that to some extent "better" is relative, so I can just give you my opinion...but I can say personally I prefer Hohner Marine Band style harps like the Marine Band Deluxe or the Crossover (my favorite) to be the best blues style harps out of the box. 

Tominou
Tominou Nov 26, 2016

Hi Dennis,

I play on a golden melody and I have a question about the first all draw, With G harp, the reed hits the cover plate if I don't draw very softly. So when I play, I hear a "bell" ringing at the same time (sound of the reed chocking the plate). Can you tell me something about it?

Thanks,

Tom

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 19, 2016

That is likely due to the fact it is a lower key harp (G is pretty low, and this means the reed is longer/heavier) and the cover plates on Golden Melody harps are set up maybe just a tad too close to avoid this when played with any force. Obviously, playing softer is the best solution, since it is the best technique anyway, regardless of any cover plate issues with the reeds you may or may not have. The excess force is making the reed vibrate harder than it needs to and going up that extra fraction of an inch and hitting the cover plate. It is common with any of the lower-range harps on most harmonicas. However, this can be good practice for you for your breath control (although maybe a bit frustrating) 

Raleigh Lee
Raleigh Lee Nov 24, 2016

OK, one last thing about that backing track: Can it be downloaded?

Raleigh Lee
Raleigh Lee Nov 23, 2016

I thought there would be a backing track added for this tune. Am I wrong about that, or is it that I just can't find it?

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Nov 23, 2016

Hi Raleigh --- thanks for the reminder.  You can find the backing track "play button" on the right side of the screen just under the webcam recorder.  Enjoy.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 19, 2016

4:12, 4:18, 4:24 in this lesson. Again at 8:16, 8:25, 8:32.  Again at 8:45, 8:51, 8:57.  The last set is the most pronounced.

I went back and listened to the performance and realized, as you say, that those ghost notes aren't there, or at least not audible.  It occurred to me that you might not do that so much when you have the guitar rhythm to lean on, but it definitely helps me keep some focus on the groove when there's no accompaniment.  Sometimes you have just a little click or chuck, very short and sharp - seems like you're keeping the beat without even thinking about it.  Probably a good habit for me to develop.  I hear lots of that in both Walters playing. 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 19, 2016

Yes, as I stated in my original reply, I do this as a reference for the beat/groove since there is no guitar accompaniment in during the breakdown. Strictly for reference of the groove. 

It is a good habit to develop, but of course it's a good habit to BE ABLE to do, not to do all the time. In some situations (such as in this song) I felt it was not approriate to play like that, it was a more uptempo rock & roll feel, and I didn't want what I play to become too much, which can easily happen at this speed if I start playing rhythmic fills in addition to all the other stuff.

It is GREAT to be able to do this and have the skills (rhtyhmical skills, and technique skills) to do this. It's very important as any type of musician to be able to keep good time and rhythm, since most of what you play is based off of exactly that. It is more part of what I focus on in "Buffle Off To Shuffalo" and in my "Horton Shuffle" study piece as well, since Big Walter did a lot of this. Thanks for the question!!

 
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