Dennis Gruenling

Lesson >

Boogie on the I

Breakdown of 2nd Verse

Hello Harmonica Hounds!

I’m excited to be back this week and go further along with my “Boogie On The I” song. One big thing we want to try to work on and really internalize here is going to be really milking these bends on the harp, while playing as lightly and effortlessly as possible! This is going to be a study in relaxation and breath control…two of the most important things if you want to be a really good harmonica player. When you focus on these bends on the 5 draw (slight bend only), the 4 draw and the 3 draw, we want to rely on our technique of bending it correctly and distorting the notes (by bleeding in just a touch of the next higher note) to create that intense sound…we don’t want to rely on playing forcefully and breathing hard. The sound is intense, but the playing should not be.

So remember, work on getting the bends slowly and distorted correctly first, then put them in the patterns of this song and you will be sure to get it down…Enjoy!

- Dennis Gruenling






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

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

D Harp in the Key of A.

Loop 0:00 Playing With Just The I Chord

Loop 1:15 Second Section Run-Through

Loop 1:49 Breakdown of First Section

Loop 6:23 Practice Loop of First Section/p>

Loop 6:41 Breakdown of 2nd Section

Loop 8:36 Practice Loop of 2nd Section

Loop 8:50 Breakdown of Rhythmic Section

Loop 10:10 Closing Thoughts





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Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 14, 2018

Thanks Dennis and Larry,

I'm literally feeling my way forward with this idea. Sometimes you experiment with something that seems to work only to find out later that you're developing a bad habit. This guidance allows me to experiment knowing I'm on the right road.


Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 14, 2018

What you say is very many players develop bad habits on their own or from an "instructor" who deos now know any better and then you get years of bad habits and it becomes more difficult to undo them...Glad you're feeling this out and working on it!! Well done!

Larry "The Iceman"
Larry "The Iceman" Nov 14, 2018

Dennis is one of the few teachers that understands the concept of moving your internal tongue placement curved towards roof of mouth target spot just a little bit forward as you use a higher pitched harmonica. This is very important in bending to correct pitch on all keys. Lighter touch = breathe the harmonica. It's not force - it's finesse!.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 10, 2018

I think I see what you mean. Thanks.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 13, 2018

You're welcome. The higher the note you are bending the shorter the reed, and also the closer to the front of your mouth that you need to use to bend it.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 09, 2018

I'm glad you're doing this piece on the D harp in A.  I definitely need work on bending on the higher pitched harps, especially the 3-hole bends.  It seems like they need a lighter touch.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 10, 2018

They need a different type of touch, not neccessarily lighter, but different. Higher pitched bends are done closer to the front of your embouchure, not back towards your throat.

Larry "The Iceman"
Larry "The Iceman" Nov 09, 2018

Yesirree...One chord grooves.....easy because one doesn't have to be concerned with chord changes....hard because it's all on YOU to get creative...early on, most run out of ideas pretty quickly, having to depend on a new chord for "inspiration". A great way to gauge your growth is how well you can deal with the one chord groove!

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 10, 2018

Exactly! It's a great practice tool!

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