Dennis Gruenling

Lesson >


Scaled Down


Performance and Introduction

Greetings Sonic Junction Harpsters!

I’m glad to be back here to bring you my new study piece entitled “Scaled Down”. This is in the key of D, using a G harmonica in 2nd position, and with a straight Rock & Roll groove. Also, I have “scaled down” the note choices so we will only be using notes that are in the blues scale for this entire song. So not only will this be a new song in a new groove to practice, but it will help you get more familiar with the blues scale, and start you using it more in the context of a song.

Check it out and have some fun!

- Dennis Gruenling

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Technique
Dave Gross
Scaled Down
Dennis Gruenling

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

G Harp in the Key of D.

Loop 0:39 Introduction to Series

Loop 2:23 Whole Song

Loop 2:23 1st Verse

Loop 2:43 2nd Verse

Loop 3:01 3rd Verse

Loop 3:19 4th Verse

Loop 3:37 5th Verse

Loop 3:54 6th Verse

Loop 4:12 7th Verse

Loop 4:30 8th Verse

Loop 4:48 9th Verse

Loop 5:05 10th Verse

Loop 5:23 11th Verse

 

 

 

Comments

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klaus meyer
klaus meyer Apr 23, 2019

Thank you Dennis ! "Only" two weeks of practice, next one will be better.

 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 23, 2019

...even more impressed now!!

klaus meyer
klaus meyer Apr 23, 2019

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 23, 2019

Nice work as usual Klaus!

Most of those runs are pretty fluid, but there were some places where either you run out of breath or the phjrasing gets off track slightly (usually with the chord accents). Pay attention to the phrasing when I play the chord accents (the phrasing is particularly important for those parts as well). Nice work on the entire peiec though, and I know by your hisyory, this will only be getting better very soon!

itaymish
itaymish Apr 16, 2019

 Please bring back the android app, much better navigation. Dennis you are a genius ! 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 16, 2019

Thank you!! Hope you are enjoying the new lessons as well! : )

Marc Graci
Marc Graci Jul 22, 2018

Wow. This is so great. I feel like, if a guy learns this song, he'll really know how to improvise with the blues scale. You clearly have a solid background in theory and I love how you sneak it into the lessons in a painless way.

I appreciate the double V, too. This comes up fairly regularly with the guys I play with, because they like to do some Stones and other rock tunes.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Jul 22, 2018

Thanks Marc! Yes, the double V is common in rock & roll and some jump blues as well. 

Sneaking in a good lesson while making it fun is all part of being a good tecacher, thanks for noticing!! :)

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

Dennis you are an awesome teacher,  really enjoy all of your tunes on here. Sorry I couldn’t stay when you were here in Madison, I was so tired.  You guys were really rocking. 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 10, 2017

Thanks so much! We'll be back again...hope you're doing well with these songs!

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Dec 27, 2016

Hey, it worked!  The embossing brought my 2-hole draw reed back from the dead, good as new.   Thanks.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 31, 2016

Glad it worked!! 

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Dec 22, 2016

Thanks for the tip.  I'd never heard of embossing before.  There's lots about it on line.  I'm going to experiment with some old reeds and then give it try on this one.  There's definitely a difference between the way this reed responds and other low 2-hole draws I have.  The G harp is my lowest but I have an A-flat and an A and don't have this problem with those, so it's at least worth a try.

Thanks also for this lesson.  Such simple licks make getting the tone, rhythm and articulation key.  Just what I needed to work on.

Bill

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 31, 2016

Glad you are digging the lesson and the song. So many of the great players are using the same notes we all are...but it's all about the attack, the tone, the phrasing, the textures...the LIFE that you breathe into these notes which makes it music that speaks to others. Happy New Year!

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Dec 21, 2016

Hi Dennis,

This is a question about harp maintenance/adjustment.  Maybe it's just my technique - if that's the case it would be good to know- but on my G harp the 2-hole draw doesn't feel right.  The offset of the reed looks just like the others but it feels leaky, like I'm sucking a lot of air and there's none of the resistance you feel normally that gives you a kind of grip on the air stream.  I've experienced this with other harps on other holes.  It's making my work on the 2-hole TB bend pretty frustrating.  It's a little better when I pucker but not much.  It's hard to sustain a note.  Do you think it's my technique or could there be a something wrong with the harp? 

Thanks,

Bill

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 22, 2016

Hi Bill - it's tough to say obviously without seeing it, but it does sound like a leaky hole by your description. If you have a decent grasp of the 2-hole draw on most other harps (like A or Low F) and puckering doesn't make much difference (assuming you started as a pucker player) then it likely isn't your technique. You may want to check out about embossing the reed slots, that will make a difference and is not too difficult to do...assuming it's the harp and not you.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 30, 2016

Thanks Dennis.  I've been digging through recordings and had a list of possibles.  I found one recording by Arbee Stidham and he was on my list to explore further so you've prompted me to look deeper.  He's more the style I'm interested in that Jimmy Ricks but I'm going to look deeper there also. 

Thanks again.

Bill

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 30, 2016

Yea I figured that, but there is some later Ravens stuff with Ricks that may be more up your alley. Thanks for asking...

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 03, 2016

Peppermint Harris may also be of interest...

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 29, 2016

This is a little off topic but I know you have an encyplopedic knowledge of blues history so I wanted to ask if you could point me toward bass blues singers, especially from the 40's, 50's, 60's.  Most of the deep voices one might suspect, like Muddy and Wolf, actually have baritone to tenor ranges.   If you would prefer and there's a way to take this conversation off line let me know.

Many thanks,

Bill

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 29, 2016

Hi Bill - I do apologize, I think I recall getting a message about this, but it seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Not many people come to mind, aside from two people who may not be stylistically what you prefer, but you never know. Jimmy Ricks who was the lead/bass vocalsit for a vocal group called The Ravens was awesome...very low voice...and for that matter, there are several other vocal R&B groups from the 40's-50's that had great bass vocalists, many were not lead as Jimmy was however. The other one who comes ot mind, not as low as Jimmy was Arbee Stidham. Chicago blues artists who did some great tunes, and you can probaly find some of his stuff online. Let me kow if that helps! 

Raleigh Lee
Raleigh Lee Nov 17, 2016

Dennis, are you tongue-blocking or puckering the 1st verse?

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 17, 2016

I tongue-block about 99.9% of what I play, including the first chorus...aside from the opening few notes of the opening riff/Head, which I articulate with my tongue (the first few root notes at beginning of phrase, each time around, of that first chorus). However, at the end of the song when I come back to the theme, I do tongue-block it.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 14, 2016

Thanks for the insight.  I have moments when I'm playing with solid rhythm accompaniment when I seem to break free of the parts I've worked out and something almost magic happens.  I seem to have to play myself into that place and it doesn't happen often enough but chasing it is completely addictive  Your energy, attitude, facility and imagination are really inspiring.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 14, 2016

Thanks Bill! That is what you need to do...keep pushing yourself to get to those points, that is when it actually becomes LIVE music! Happening in the moment and it takes on a life of it's own. Better than almost anything I know. The more you practice and listen to good players, the closer you can get to that point, and the more often you get there if you keep your chops up.

Raleigh Lee
Raleigh Lee Nov 14, 2016

Is there a backing track available for this, or any, tune? If not, do you have any plans to produce one?

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Nov 14, 2016

Hi Raleigh --- yes, we will be releasing a backing track with the first chorus breakdown (next lesson coming out on Friday).

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 13, 2016

Hi Dennis,

Could you say a little something about what you mean when you say that you improvised this piece?  Aside from the basic groove and the constraint you've imposed of using only notes in the blues scale, how does this work for you?  Do you just set up the groove and let 8 choruses rip?  Do you do more than one take, keep things that you like and discard things you don't?  I know I'll be using this piece to work on groove and moving around that scale, but it's really facinating to know how someone with your mastery comes up with something like this.

Thanks,

Bill

 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 14, 2016

Thanks Bill - good question!

For this song, yes, I just set up the groove and let these choruses rip. Literally! This one was a one-take deal. I had some ideas of some riffs I may use (the opening theme), but aside from that, it was all made up on the spot, just making myself stick to notes in the blues scale. I usually do a few takes, but we both felt it came out great after this initial take, so I listened back and that was that. Of course it takes being very comfortable and familiar with any scale to ONLY stick to those notes while improvising (and not add anything else at all), but with practice you can get there.

Being a somewhat faster song than what I normally do here, I also wanted to make sure that the licks are not too fast (or this can get very difficult)...but that also touches on another topic that is important when building up your chops...when you have a song with this type of agressive rhythm and at this tempo, it feels sometimes like you should be playing faster than you need to. Let the rhythm instrument keep that pulse going, and as the solo instrument, just "ride the wave" of the rhythm and the tempo.

tim james
tim james Nov 11, 2016

YEAH BABY

Boyd R
Boyd R Nov 11, 2016

Really an interesting song, I can hear parts of other songs in this. thanks very nice

 

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 11, 2016

Thanks Boyd - it's all blues scale riffs I improvised, so it's likely you hear riffs that are similar to other songs that utilize the blues scale. Enjoy!!

 

 
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