Dennis Gruenling

Lesson >

Third Is The Word

First Chorus Breakdown

Hello Harpsters of Sonic Junction - This week we start taking apart my new 3rd position blues scale study song “Third Is The Word”. I will be focusing on the Blues Scale in 3rd position for this song, and using techniques such as octaves, distorted notes, trills and tremolo. To start making progress with a new position, I think it is best to familiarize yourself with a scale such as this. So let’s all grab our A harps and let’s start working the Blues Scale…haven’t you heard, Third Is The Word!

- Dennis Gruenling




Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
3rd Position

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

A Harp in the Key of B.

Loop 0:00 How Harmonica and Song Keys Relate in Third Position

Loop 1:57 Blues Scale in Third Position

Loop 5:50 First Verse Acoustically

Loop 6:18 Breakdown of First 4 Bars

Loop 9:57 Practice Loop of First 4 Bars

Loop 10:42 Breakdown of IV Chord and Back to I (Bars 5 - 8)

Loop 11:50 Practice Loop of First 8 Bars

Loop 12:08 Breakdown Last 4 Bars

Loop 13:10 Practice Loop of Last 4 Bars

Loop 13:24 Slow Practice Loop of 1st Chorus

Loop 14:03 Practice Loop of 1st Chorus

Loop 14:29 Closing Thoughts





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klaus meyer
klaus meyer Apr 23, 2018

Hi Dennis, i will do my very best :-)))

klaus meyer
klaus meyer Apr 21, 2018

Cool,also my new study piece..

Marc Graci
Marc Graci Apr 21, 2018

Sounds good, Klaus!

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 22, 2018

Nice!! I wanna see and hear more!

Marc Graci
Marc Graci Apr 19, 2018

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 19, 2018

Real nice! Good work on this so far. One thing you can do with this is just lay back a tad more with the phrasing, but sounds good so far Marc!

REPLY: Lay Back meaning time your phrases a little less on top of the beat, or a little bit more “relaxed”/behind the beat. 

Marc Graci
Marc Graci Apr 20, 2018

Thank you for your feedback, Dennis! I think you are probably 100% right that I need to lay back more with the phrasing. What do you mean by by "lay back more"?

Marc Graci
Marc Graci Apr 17, 2018

Hi, Dennis! I've got two questions for you:

1) You mention that, in the first two bars, you play a lick with two 1 draws in it. Sometimes when I listen to the video, I don't hear the second 1 draw. I hear you doing a "pull". Probably my ears are wrong. Are you substituting a pull for the 1 draw?

2) You hit a 1+ on the downbeat of the IV. The 1+ is the four of that chord and a pretty bluesy choice to put on a strong beat. It sounds cool, for sure, but can you explain why you put that there?


EDIT: Oh! I caught my timing mistake on the IV lick. The 1+ does not land on the downbeat. Still, isn't this an aggressive note choice to end the phrase, especially in first chorus of a song?

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 17, 2018

Hi Marc - good to see you here!!

1) can you give me a spot (time mark) of performance video where this occurs so I know we're talking about the same spot? If it's what I think it is (the middle of the very first lick of the tune) then I am hitting the 1 draw twice. Not a "pull" (assuming you mean a pull of the tongue off the harp).

2) Why did I put that note there? Well, being that just about every note and pattern I play is improvised (yes, even in these study songs), I played it because it felt and sounded right for the mood I wanted at the time. It does cause some melodic tension because of the note that it is, but I believe in a good way :-)


Thank you. Even while playing a blues scale, the 4th is in there. Ultimately it's the one note in that scale that really isn't great to start or end a phrase on (or to stress all that much) but it can be used to varying results depending on the approach and context. Specifially, I believe it also works in my case because that note is also the b7 of the root chord which is coming around the corner there and then leads your ear into wanting it to resolve up to that root note.

Marc Graci
Marc Graci Apr 18, 2018


1) You're right. It's about 7:55 in the video. I'm probably overanalyzing this. There's a lot of complexity and nuance to your playing style.

2) Right on. Thanks. 

Arnold Apr 16, 2018

hey this is arnold

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 17, 2018

Hi Arnold, this is Dennis!

Crash Feb 06, 2018

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Feb 06, 2018

Great start on this!!! Sounding good, keep going with it, this is just a teaser, haha! Apr 19, 2017

Ha ha put it on slow motion and you sound stoned out of your mind too funny Apr 16, 2017

Really dig this jam.  I didn't think 3rd was cool but I didn't think of all the possibilities until now.  Your a real good teacher.  

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 21, 2017

Thanks man! 3rd position is VERY useful, especially for bues songs!

Jan Schrama
Jan Schrama Mar 25, 2017

Third position is more clear now for me to understand Dennis, i practice your bluesriff  with more knowledge of what i'am doing...thnx🎶👍

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Apr 21, 2017

Thanks Jan - I'm glad you like it!!

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