Rick Estrin

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So Long

Fifth Verse, Breakdown of First 8 Bars

Hey Sonic Junction - This week we're taking the first half of verse five. I split this verse into two parts so that we can pay a little closer attention to some of the details. Verse five begins by shifting gears and starting out on the second beat. It's a cool strategic device that we've used before. Using that shift to the second beat to break up the rhythm, is a good attention grabber and helps support that conversational element we're looking for. In just the first half of this verse we're employing a handful of the tools we've already used here at Sonic Junction. We've got trills, also known as warbles - We're working with the two draw/three blow, push/pull device - We've got some tongue flutters - We're doing a little crying on a bend - All great stuff! And this is only the first half of the verse!

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 0:34 Verse 4 Acoustically

Loop 1:12 Breakdown of First 4 Bars

Loop 4:10 Breakdown of IV Chord and Back to I (Bars 5 - 8)

Loop 5:17 Practice Loop of First 8 Bars

Loop 5:58 Slow Practice Loop of First 8 Bars

Loop 7:08 Using The 3 Blow and 2 Draw

Loop 8:30 Closing Thoughts





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Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Jun 29, 2017

Just to check back on the side to side flutter...do you have your mouth on holes 2-5 and alternate between playing hole 2 (covering 3,4,5) and playing hole 5 (covering 2,3,4).  Just getting control playing clean from the right side to the left side is hard now, trying to use a light touch with the tongue so when I eventually can work on doing it faster I'm not fighting having it jammed up against the comb.  Does that sound about right?  Anything else you would recommend?

Thanks.  Really appreciate you taking the time to answer questions.


Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jun 30, 2017

Hi Bill - I'm pretty sure that's an accurate description of what I'm doing. There's also other combinations that sound good. I think the best thing to do is, first focus on getting your tongue up to a decent speed, and then you can mess around with where you're doing it and which holes you're blocking. At that point you can use your ear to decide what adjustments you think you need to make.


Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Jun 26, 2017

Thanks for the details and for the encouragement.  I heard an interview with Kim Wilson once where he said he had a lot more fun playing once he'd learned how to do that side to side flutter.  To hear from the two of you that it can be done with effort and persistence gives me hope.  It definitely wouldn't be the first thing I initially thought was impossible for me.

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jun 27, 2017

If it was all easy, everyone'd be great. You gotta learn to access any O.C.D. tendencies you might have and put 'em to good use!

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Jun 26, 2017

Hi Rick,

I'm not sure my tongue will ever do the side to side thing so could you say a little more about the "octave trill".  What's the difference?



Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jun 26, 2017

Hi Bill - The octave trill sounds slightly different and is produced differently than the side to side tongue flutter. In this instance I believe I'm alternately drawing on the second and third holes out of the left corner of my mouth and simultaneously, alternating between the fifth and sixth holes out of the right corner of my mouth. I move my hands or shake my head back and forth, while alternating between those two combinations of holes, doing it at a fast enough pace to produce a trilling effect. Also Bill, regarding that side to side flutter - You may not want to give up on yourself quite yet. That sideways tongue flutter is funny in that some people can just naturally do it right away and for others, it requires a lot of focused work. In my case, when I was trying to learn it, I felt just like you - I didn't feel like it would ever come. I think it was the most exasperating technique I ever attempted to master - It took me many days of multiple hours to get it sounding passable. Kim Wilson told me he also had to put in a whole lot of concentrated practice to master that particular technique. I'm telling you this so that you'll know, you're not the only one who's felt that frustration of trying to make your tongue go fast enough and evenly enough to produce the desired effect.

Robert Jun 23, 2017

Hey Rick

This might be your most important lesson series so far of all you've shown....like you said "this is gold".  I've been with you here on sonic the whole way starting with Getting Out Of Town which I love...but....this puts it all together for me.  I've been drinking beer and playing harp seven years all as a hobbiest, never calling myself a wanna be harp player. I can hold my own now and at least get some major respect if anyone calls me out. You the man Rick!.

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jun 23, 2017

Thanks Robert - I'm glad you're diggin it! This series is gonna be really good for developing phrasing, timing and patience. Like Jerry says, there's nowhere to hide in a slow blues. Thanks for the feedback!

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