Rick Estrin

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So Long


Hey Sonic Junction - I'm back again. This time out we're doing a medium slow, Chicago style blues. Generally, if you sit in somewhere or go to a jam session, the simplest things to get together with a band, are going to be a shuffle or a slow blues. We've already worked on a few different shuffles, so I figure I'm overdue for a Sonic Junction, slow blues. In this series, among other things, I'm trying to illustrate the importance of patience. Sometimes players get uncomfortable and anxious with the space between the licks on a slow blues. When the licks are in the right place, the space becomes an indispensable part of the music. Hopefully this lesson can help you to learn to wait and pick your spots for maximum effect. Another thing that's more obvious in a slow tune is the value of contrast - clean/dirty, soft/loud, bright tone/dark tone, staccato/legato, ahead-of-the-beat/behind-the-beat, the list could go on and on. As always, the primary aim is to make your harp playing deeper, more effective and more communicative.

Rick Estrin




Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Chicago Blues

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

A Harp in the Key of E.

Loop 0:00 Whole Song

Loop 0:00 First Chorus

Loop 0:52 Second Chorus

Loop 1:40 Third Chorus

Loop 2:29 Fourth Chorus

Loop 3:17 Fifth Chorus

Loop 4:04 Sixth Chorus




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Gagi Oct 13, 2017

Hi Mr.Rick.... I'm playng this instrument about 5 years...i'm not playing and coping only the sonic junctions music pieces,I'm listening and coping the monster players:little walter,both sonny boy williamsons,james cotton,junior wells,slim harpo,sonny terry and others... and I'm listening the hole blues music from robert johnson to quin sulivan....if somone listen to me they says that im a "well done"player or "excelent" player... but I'm playng the great palyers licks in to groove,,,,and the my question is: how can I have the good improvization,build the music?     I can't tell the story through the music language....please help me

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Oct 13, 2017

Hi Gagi - That’s a very good question with no one simple answer. You’re doing the right thing by copying and listening. I think of improvisation like speaking a language, and copying and listening are the first steps in learning the language. When you’re listening, try to think of and understand why certain things are effective - For example, when somebody leaves a well-placed space, it creates tension and naturally triggers a feeling of anticipation in the listener. So, think of all the different elements that are effective to you, when you listen. Contrast long tones with short notes. Contrast different textures. Contrast repetition with surprise - These are a few of the things that I was able to learn by listening and then thinking about why, what I was listening to, was effective. Also, try using the Sonic Junction backing tracks to play something different than the study piece. For example, if I begin with a long note, you try playing a series of short, rhythmic notes instead. If I’m beginning a phrase on the 5 hole, draw, you can try beginning on a different hole and see where it takes you. And, don’t be afraid to make mistakes! The more you try to play your own ideas, the more comfortable you’ll become doing it, and you’ll eventually get more ideas and begin to make fewer mistakes. Try these things, Gagi and let me know if this helps.

Alan Jul 19, 2017

Many thanks Rick and Mike for the quick response.


Alan Jul 19, 2017

Is there a backing track for this lesson ?


Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jul 19, 2017

There should be. We recorded one.

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Jul 19, 2017

Thanks Alan and Rick.  My mistake -- track is now up.  

FYI it should always come out with the first breakdown lesson -- so if you don't see it -- let me know -- thanks.

joe markey
joe markey Jun 06, 2017

Rick,  Very nice job with this newest lesson.  Your style is so rich!  Can you share with us your set up below the mic?  What cable, connections?   Thanks.  Joe.  White Plains, NY


Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jun 06, 2017

Hi Joe - Glad you like the song.

The mic I'm using is an Astatic JT-30 with a crystal element. The amp is a tweed Fender Champ. I have no idea what kind of cable I'm using. My only criteria for a cable is whe or not it works.

Tominou May 20, 2017

Nice piece...and love... your clothes! Dennis will be jalous for sure. Thanks, happy to see you again Rick. ;)

Boyd R
Boyd R May 19, 2017

Thanks it does sound like his style great tune 

Boyd R
Boyd R May 19, 2017

I really like it. Is this a little Walter tune?

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin May 19, 2017

It's not any particular Little Walter tune per se, but it's definitely a Little Walter style tune

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