Dennis Gruenling

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Two Way Boogie

2nd Chorus Breakdown

Dennis Gruenling Lesson >

Two Way Boogie > 2nd Chorus Breakdown

Hi Harpsters -

For this week we tackle the second chorus of my Two-Way Boogie. I pay particular attention to several things, one of them being my sharp articulation and staccato attack with the shuffle rhythm technique. We will also run through the typical II-V Boogie line, which I’m sure you’ve all heard before but may not have played on harmonica. Also remember for accuracy with the bends, practice with your tuner.


- Dennis Gruenling




Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Chicago Blues

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

Bb Harp in the Key of F.

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Two Way Boogie

Loop 1:43 Run-Through of 2nd Chorus

Loop 2:13 II - V Changes and Sharp Attack

Loop 4:12 I Chord Breakdown

Loop 5:33 IV Chord Breakdown

Loop 6:47 Practice Loop of First 8 Bars

Loop 7:12 II V Turnaround Breakdown

Loop 9:05 Practice Loop of II V Section

Loop 9:20 II V Section with Turnaround

Loop 10:32 Slow Practice Loop of Second Chorus

Loop 11:12 Practice Loop of Second Chorus

Loop 11:43 Closing Thoughts





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Boyd R
Boyd R Feb 24, 2024

I'm working on this I like it

chrisgagnon Jun 06, 2020

Follow up question- I am really struggling getting thick sound tongue blocking the rhythm note on 1 B and 2B in the IV chord- any suggestions?

Do you play out of left side for those notes?

chrisgagnon Jun 06, 2020


In these boogies, I can play the root note 3 different ways:

- tongue block- but only hitting the 1 D and 2D for the chord

- lipped, narrowing down from the 1,2,3 D chord to "center" on the 2D

- Blow chord- tongue blocked to hit the 3 B

I actually kind of like the last best in the first chorus and the second in the second chorus

Do you use all 3? How do you decide?




Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Dec 15, 2019

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for your response.  I'm starting to get it I think.  It seems like theory is more of way to codify and communicate a relationship of notes being played that give a certain sound.  By describing things in terms of intervals, the pattern transfers to any key, since it's all set in relation to the root note. In the same way that giving a thing a name or word gives it a concept place in your brain, the theory can give you a pattern to identify or create distinct styles and feels.  So if I listen to a Louis Armstrong solo and identify the notes he's playing in an interval schema, I can begin to identify the pattern that is creating the feel of the solo.  Of course there's more than just the note choices that create the feel, but it's a part of it.  It starts with listening and knowing the sound by, well, what it sounds like.  Putting it in the context of theory gives you some constraints that help identify or recreate that sound in other keys or contexts.

I heard Charlie Batty once say you don't want to be governed by theory but it's good to be aware of it. That seems wise.  So much more to master to be a good harp player.  Thanks again - now I'll get back to practicing my 3-hole draw bends :)

Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 15, 2019

Bill - this is the best reply I cold have asked for - you are exactly right. It's very much like a language that way. When you learn how to put words and parts of speech together, you learn how to communicate certain things...HOWEVER, there are other things involved such as HOW you say the words, the timing and intonation of voice, and of course slang and innuendo. So once you learn some basics, you also learn how to add other meanings to words (notes) by decorations, timing, textures, effects, etc...and then use it all as a means to be expressive!

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Dec 13, 2019

Hi Dennis,

So here are some theory questions.

Does being in the key of F just mean that the root note is F?

I guess my main question is, what determines which notes "work" or are "legal" over a given chord and how does that relate to the key of the song?






Dennis Gruenling
Dennis Gruenling Dec 14, 2019

Yes, being in the Key of F means F is the root.

All different styles of music use different parts of the scale to get their type of sound, so notes that work in traditional blues are fairly similar to old style rock and rool and country, but certain styles of jazz and other types of world/ethnic music all vary, which is a big reason why they sound different. 

It also depends on how well you speak the language of music and how well you know how to piece together these different parts of the scale. In other words, just about any note CAN work if you know how to make it fit in, but that all depends on your knowledge and experience speaking the language of whatever music you are playing. There are some basic rules, but I go pretty in depth with this with a lot of my private students. However, I don't know of any GOOD resource for this type of knowledge aside from experience and taking some serious one-on-one lessons with someone who understands this concept. 

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