Dennis Gruenling

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Boogie on the I

Breakdown of First Verse

Hello Harpsters!

This week we will start to break down my I-chord piece “Boogie On The I”. Utilizing a D Harp in the key of A we will be using mostly the Blues Scale, but really milking these bends. We want to get some dirt on these bends with some distortion, and create tension with how slowly we scoop up on some of these bends. This is an important part for the feel of this tune, especially when it is paired with this rockin’ rhythm guitar. So work on slowly scooping these distorted or dirty bends, and feeling this Boogie groove without it making you breathe too fast. If you are in control of your breath while playing Harp, you will be able to tackle anything!

Have fun with this first section and see you next week for more!

-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 Introduction to the Series

Loop 3:34 First Verse Run-Through

Loop 4:10 Breakdown of First Section

Loop 7:21 Breakdown of 2nd Section

Loop 9:34 Breakdown of 3rd Section

Loop 10:31 Practice Loop

Loop 11:06 Breakdown of Rhythmic Phrase

Loop 12:09 Practice Loop of First Verse

Loop 12:40 Closing Thoughts




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Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 05, 2018

That's what I want to hear. I'm a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kinda guy. So just to hone in on this technique, are you alternating between adjacent holes or what?

Thanks Dennis. This feedback is invaluable.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 05, 2018

There are many ways you can vary up any technique, and a tongue trill is no different, but in this case most often I am doing 2-5 draw tongue trill. Tongue trills are usually NOT adjacent holes, which are usually done the "normal" trill way (shaking your head and/or hands), though they can be done with the tongue as well. But also keep in mind, they are also not "clean" tongue trills, so the notes 2 & 5 are not super clean and precise, meaning that I am bleeding in some of the adjacent notes to get more texture and a more chord-like sound. 

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 04, 2018

Thanks. That tongue trill is gonna kill me :)

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 05, 2018'll be fine! Like any new technique, the trick is to start practicing it SLOWLY, and practice it often, in short practice sessions.

Boyd R
Boyd R Nov 03, 2018

Nice lesson

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 03, 2018

Hi Dennis,

On the tongue trills, is it a rapid on and off or are you doing something else?

On rhythmic vamp at the end, is there any particular way you're articulating the 1-2 draw chord?

Thanks. I really love the groove. I'm looking forward to working on improvising over the backing track as well as learning what you're doing.


Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Nov 04, 2018

Hi - for clarification, a "trill" is a quick alternating of two different notes (such as the common 4-5 draw trill) so a tongue trill is not on & off (vamping a chord against a single note), a tongue trill is alternating two notes separated by your other words, a tongue trill is a side-to-side movement, whereas a vamp would be on/off with the tongue.

Articulation of the chord is usually similar to a "tut" if you want it sharp and clear.

Thanks, I love working with this groove, and working with just a I-chord track is so important and can be LOTS of fun!!

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