Rick Estrin

Lesson >

Half Steppin'


Hey Sonic Junction -

Rick Estrin back with you again and this time out I put together a shuffle piece I'm calling "Half Steppin" - In this set of lessons, the focus is split between zeroing in on some half-step and whole step bends, and (as always) developing a deeper pocket, groove-wise. The aim of the bending aspect of this series is to improve control and pitch accuracy on the bends and the focus on groove is about what it's always about - Making your playing sound alive! Have fun and remember, when you're really groovin, groove harder!





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
key of E
Chicago Blues
A Harp
Rick Estrin

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

A Harp in the Key of E.

Loop 0:15 Whole Performance

Loop 0:15 First Chorus

Loop 0:43 Second Chorus

Loop 1:08 Third Chorus

Loop 1:32 Fourth Chorus

Loop 1:56 Fifth Chorus

Loop 2:19 Sixth Chorus

Loop 2:43 Seventh Chorus

Loop 3:07 Eighth Chorus






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Larry "The Iceman"
Larry "The Iceman" Aug 03, 2018

Boyd.....everyone learns at different speeds and starts at different points. I suggest you set metronome to where you can easily play along, and then start to increase it slowly until you get to the point where you struggle a bit. Leave it there until it becomes easy and then repeat!

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Aug 03, 2018

Great advice, Larry!

Boyd R
Boyd R Aug 03, 2018

I'm still working Half stepping.Attempting to work more on my timing. it's like learning all over again. What should I set my metronome at

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Aug 03, 2018

Hey Boyd - It's just like what Larry said, find the speed that feels comfortable, then as you perfect the licks and the feel, you can speed it up.

Boyd R
Boyd R May 27, 2018

What a fun tune, got to work on this one again

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin May 27, 2018

Cool. There’s always new things to hear when you go back and listen with fresh ears!

Tominou Nov 18, 2017

HELP: I can't find the backing track anymore... a few month ago, I was listening to it, so it does exist, where has he gone?????? How will I play if my solo guitarist has disapeared? I can't get back the money for my concert audience coming soon!!

Thanks :)

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Nov 18, 2017

Sorry Tomi - I’ll look into this. Hopefully the tech guys at SJ will straighten it out.

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Nov 18, 2017

Hi Tominou -- the backing track is still up -- the play button in the upper right corner. 

Perhaps you are using a different / new device such as an iPad, smartphone or other tablet?

Tominou Nov 18, 2017

Ooooops! I come back on Sonic after a long break, I was looking for the backing track at the item "background listening"! Now you have a good idea of my english talent!  Sorry, and thank you.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Jan 15, 2017

Thanks Rick and Larry.  So much great music to listen to!

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jan 15, 2017

WAY too much for one lifetime!

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Jan 14, 2017

Hi Rick,

This tune just makes me grin ear to ear - I love it.

I'm curious what sax players you love. Who should I listen to to soak up more of this kind of groove?



Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jan 14, 2017

Glad you're diggin the song, Bill. When I think about it, the head was probably inspired (or lifted from) Jimmy Reed's Boogie In The Dark. What I'm playing is kind of an approximation, combining his harp part with Eddie Taylor's part. The rest of the song is mostly just big band-type riffs. If you want to hear that kind of stuff, Count Basie's a good place to start. Other than that, I like a whole bunch of sax players. A few of my favorites would be, Willis Jackson, Illinois Jacquet, Lockjaw Davis, Jimmy Forrest and bunch of other guys - mostly guys who spanned the big band and soul jazz eras.

Larry "The Iceman"
Larry "The Iceman" Jan 15, 2017

Stanley Turrenting with Shirley Scott Organ Trio is another example of fat greasy groove. Jimmy Forrest is also one of my fav's - check out The Honeydripper recording with Jack McDuff.

I like these sax players for ideas that translate real well to diatonic harmonica.


Tominou Jan 14, 2017

For sure, I hear 2 harps playing together in this song...Rick, not any man is able to do all that staff alone... a good news: he will give us his secret in a few time! 

Larry "The Iceman"
Larry "The Iceman" Jan 14, 2017

This is the "magic" of the groove. It sounds like two harps, but is really one harmonica playing both "rhythm guitar" as well as "lead guitar".

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jan 14, 2017

Tongue blocking has a lot to do with creating that impression of 2 harps. Just remember, if any of this was really difficult, I couldn't do it!

Larry "The Iceman"
Larry "The Iceman" Jan 13, 2017

Total honey drippin' groove. As a matter of fact, I developed my own basic "groove" sound, but apparently I have been insiduously influenced by Mr. Estrin (having listened to his music for over 20 years), as what I thought of as my own basic groove is sure evident in the opening measures of this great learning song. Since Rick is OLDER than me, I guess it was his personal groove sound first and I stole, uh, borrowed it (unbeknownst to me, that is).

Anyways, it sure is infectuous!


Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jan 13, 2017

Hey Larry - I stole it from somewhere myself. I'm just too old to remember where I got it.

Tominou Jan 13, 2017

Some Good weeks are coming... yehaa! ,-)

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