Rick Estrin

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Half Steppin'

Third Chorus Breakdown

Hey now! Rick Estrin back again with verse three of "Half Steppin". In verse three, now that the groove is well established, we'll make a departure from the theme of verses one and two and get slightly more melodic while still maintaining that groove with some rhythmic tongue slapping. Also in this verse, on the IV, there's some real useful ways of using the two hole draw along with the three blow to create a great, effective, and natural sounding, push/pull groove. To me, this part is gold! It might seem a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can really be a gateway to attaining lot more freedom in your playing. And as with each verse in this piece, we're tying it all together with the recurring V-I lick at the end of the verse.






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 0:20 Verse 3 Acoustically

Loop 0:58 Breakdown of First 4 Bars

Loop 2:53 Slow Practice Loop of First 4 Bars

Loop 3:20 Breakdown of Bar 4 With Octave Ending

Loop 5:40 Breakdown of IV Chord and Back to I (Bars 5 - 8)

Loop 10:25 V Chord and Turnaround Breakdown

Loop 14:50 Slow Practice Loop of All 12 Bars

Loop 15:25 Very Slow Practice Loop of All 12 Bars

Loop 16:20 Closing Thoughts





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Boyd R
Boyd R Jun 28, 2018

WhAT a great lesson, I'm stuck on the third chorus. But I'll get it. Going to take time. I never give up it's fun

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jun 28, 2018

Glad you like it, Boyd! You’ve got the right idea - take your time, be patient with yourself, and have fun with it!

andre Loiselle
andre Loiselle Feb 09, 2017

Salut Tom !! est ce bien tom ?? j crois que c est Thomas , j pense avoir vu cà a quelque part ... anyway , dans le dernier paragraphe quand tu dis que tu joues "très fort " a la place d être précis et que les lames frappent quoi ?? ton couvert ou la "plate" de ta lame ?? quand je parle de "plate " de ta lame ; j vais essayer de m expliquer clairement , chaque  lame est fixé a un  bout de la "plate" et vibre comme un tremplin de piscine dans un trou qui est la "plate" , j espère que tu me suis ?? et si ta lame , l autre extrimité est  plus à droite ou à gauche ,les lames bougent pour de raison que je ne connais encore ... hahaha ,  elle va "accrocher " la "plate" , résultat un drôle de son où pas de son du tout ... 

question ; est ce que ca te dérange quand je t écrit tout cà ... ou tu veux que je me mêle de mes affaires ??

il est 4 hrs du matin ici donc chez toi il doit etre 10 heure ?? ou habites tu ??


Tominou Feb 09, 2017

Coucou André, moi c'est Thomas effectivement, j'habite en Alsace au Nord Est de la France. Je parlais des "cover plates" c'est à dire du couvercle, du "capot" en français, contre lequel tape la lamelle (reed) quand mon souffle est "violent". Donc non ce n'est pas un probleme de décentrage du reed dans son trou de plaque. Jusque là ca le le faisait avec un harmo en G sur le trou 1, mais là je l'ai sur mon harmo en A. Dennis m'avait répondu qu'il n'est pas bon de souffler comme un âne dans l'harmo, faut jouer en finesse. Actuellement, j'essaie de reproduire les intonations de Rick mais comme je ne suis pas pro, je compense par du volume, qui est plus gênant qu'autre chose...

Oui je suis preneur de toute discussion/avis harmo (et divers!), donc no pb! Par contre, je pense que Mike va nous dire qu'il y a flooding, sans compter que le français a peu d'intérêt pour la plupart. Je te propose un échange futur par mail: tu peux m'écrire sur "toutespoir@orange.fr".

Et concernant le problème de 2b: can you say me if there's two 2b or no in the turnarround part?? It makes me crazy!! ;)

Tominou Feb 06, 2017

This is where I am for tonight...it becomes something I can show to others, so I'm happy. I will train again (and again). 

Soon, I'll receive the zoom h4n pro recorder, cause you, my audience, deserve that. Ok, I'm probably too much excited, sorry, I go down and I come back... I'm fond of you Mr ESTRIN. 

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 09, 2017

Hi Tom - I can't figure out how to record on here. If I could, I would demonstrate the part I'm talking about. I was mistaken when I said you were playing a 2 draw bend instead of the 2 blow - You're actually playing a 1 draw note in one spot where it should be a 2 blow. The resolving lick at the end of each verse starts with 3 draw bent a half step, to 3 draw bent a whole step, to 2 draw, to 1 draw (very quickly), to 2 draw bent a whole step, to 2 BLOW, back to 2 draw bent (with the little wiggle you are doing!) to the 1 draw, and back to the 2 draw. I hope this helps!

Tominou Feb 09, 2017

Hey Prof. ESTRIN, a big thank you for your answer, sorry you had to detail again this part! I may have a cerebral disease cause I don't play what I know I have to play with special attention! I'll try again just after my brain scan (MRI is forbidden because of my harmo which I never quit) :)


YIPPEEEE! My brain is safe (is it Doctor?) I was doing another mistake than the 2b I was thinking of!! there are two 2b, and you gave me the key to solve it!! Listen the mp3 if you have time. I played the wrong version a hundred of times, now I have to integrate it in my playing. THANKS! (for the moment I can't play the short 1 draw, but I'm happy to progress!)

Tominou Feb 05, 2017

Very close collaboration of 2draw-3blow, for first time fully developped for me. I've often heard "play 3 blow instead of 2draw in that one precise place, cause it makes more sense", I did it by conviction or confidence but this time, as you associate the 2d and 3b, you bring us to another dimension of explaination. I'm not enough good to catch it firstly, so you got me OF the ring before the end of the middle when I listen to the video 1st! But fight is not finished, I'll come back, like the Rocky of the blues. (!)

For the moment I'm working at the transition rythm between the verses: when to play it and when to stop it and begin the next verse to stay in the groove. Less easy than It seems to be...



Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 08, 2017

Good job, Tom! Especially good on the 2 draw, 3blow part! Try to work on nailing the pitch a little better on those bends on the 2nd and 3rd holes. Also, that last lick - the one that comes at the end of every verse? There's one little spot where you're hitting a 2 draw bend when it should be the 2 blow - Overall though, really good job!

Tominou Feb 08, 2017

I guess it's the same mistake I did last time. But I promess I watched back the lesson, with slow motion and carefully, but I noticed only one time where 2blow is used in the last part, and I play it in my attempts. So I imagine 2 explainations: one is I play the 2 blow so badly/shortly that you don't hear it as a 2b, seconf is there's another one 2b hidden... I'll look again.. if anyone can just answer "yes there's another 2blow" It would help me!

And yes, the bends of the three occur me ear pain when I hear my performance as I said in French to André, I'll train again, that's the main goal of this lesson, you said. Thank you very much for the analyse Rick.

Another  one of my actual problems is that I play very loud instead of being precise in the sounds effects. Some reeds hit the plates on holes they never reached before. Strange...


RICK: tomorrow I'll register and publish a slowmotion of the verse end part in order that you can check and help me more, ok?

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Feb 04, 2017

The most challenging part of this for me is that 5-chord part.  I feel like if I can get that back and forth on the 3-hole draw I'll have something that will work in a lot of situations.

This verse reminds me of Little Walter's playing on "Oh Baby".  Not the same but it fits and has that feel.  His harp really propels the song, the way you carry the rhythm on this one.

When I first started playing, Jerry told me to listen to John Lee Williamson and I didn't listen to anything else for about 6 months. Figured I was getting to source the music. The thing I remember most is his rhythm and groove, a handful of licks that he mixed and matched and tweaked and varied, but always with that groove. I go back every now and then to get another shot.

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 08, 2017

Hi Bill - I can always hear something new almost any time I go back and listen to the classic stuff. And you're right about that V thing - This whole piece is designed to help nail those bent notes with greater accuracy.

Jim Wood
Jim Wood Feb 03, 2017

I never would have discovered the 2 draw to the 3 blow springboard thing. Fantastic! So simple and so elegant.

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 03, 2017

Thanks Jim - Cool, right? There's so many ways to use it - variations and things. The basic idea started for me with Sonnyboy #1, John Lee Williamson.

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