Dennis Gruenling

Lesson >

First Class

Performance and Introduction

Hi Sonic Harpers!

Dennis Gruenling here with my new study piece, First Class. This is my first 1st Position study song! Keep in mind, when you change positions, you need to change your mindset because the whole layout of your note patterns and the scale completely changes. But don’t let that scare you, it’s not that difficult once you start practicing these patterns.

If you’re a fan of blues harmonica, you’ve already heard many licks like these most likely, and now you can start working on them in context yourself. We will be sticking to the bottom end of the harmonica for this piece and make sure that you are working on your bends on holes 2 and 3 draw as well…

I hope you enjoy my first 1st Position study piece here on SonicJunction - First Class!

Dennis Gruenling




Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
1st Position

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

G Harp in the Key of G.

Loop 0:00 Introduction to First Class and How To Learn 1st Position

Loop 2:18 Loop Whole Song

Loop 2:18 First Verse

Loop 2:40 2nd Verse

Loop 2:58 3rd Verse

Loop 3:17 4th Verse

Loop 3:36 5th Verse

Loop 3:55 6th Verse

Loop 4:13 7th Verse

Loop 4:32 8th Verse

Loop 4:51 9th Verse

Loop 5:10 10th Verse

Loop 5:30 11th Verse




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Pig licker
Pig licker Apr 25, 2022

Damn, Dennis, you sound so good. What are you playing through? It sounds like a fucking train! So cool.

And your glasses are very hip, also.

Is first your favorite "posish"?

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 26, 2022

Thanks so much!! Using one of my vintage Crystal microphones and a small 5 watt amp with 8" speaker for this one. Actually, I really like 1st Position, but it's not my favorite...however I do like coming up with new ideas in 1st because so many players just do the same kind of licks over and over and there is lots of cool stuff in there still to be found. 3rd Position may be my favorite though.

Alan Feb 03, 2018

is there a backing trace for this lesson ?

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Feb 10, 2018

Hi Alan - thanks for the reminder.  The backing track is up.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Dec 18, 2017

Now that I've listened to it about 20 times and toyed a little with it I'm seeing some other notes.  I'm not ready for overblows, though I now have some incentive to work on the high end blow bends in anticipation of working more with first position.  Thanks.

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 18, 2017

Glad you are working more with his and feel inspired! There's so much to do without overblows that people haven't even explored really yet anyway...!

Boyd R
Boyd R Dec 17, 2017

Very nice lesson. First position is a good one to work on thanks for the lesson

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 17, 2017

Thanks Boyd - glad you like it so far!

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Dec 16, 2017

Hi Dennis 

This is the first time I've tried anything in first position. In the first and second octaves the flat third isn't available- is that right? You still make it sound bluesy - wow! What a devilishly tricky instrument. The major pentatonic falls very naturally - are those the main notes you're  working with?

This is expanding my world - thanks!

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 17, 2017

Hi Bill -

Yes, the flat third (b3) is not available unless you overblow, which I don't go into and I don't recommend until you really master playing and using the "regular" bends. But as you can hear, you can still make 1st position bluesy.

The Major Pentatonic is easy in the middle octave, but in the bottom octave one of the notes is the 3 draw whole step bend, which is tricky to always hit in pitch. I don't use the complete Blues Scale (the b3 is not easily attainable) but I also don't use only the Major Pentatonic either (not bluesy enough for our purposes), so I use most of the blues scale with the natural 3 and a few other notes here and there.

Glad you are digging it!!

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