Rick Estrin

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Cotton Blend

7th Chorus Breakdown

This week we'll be working on the entire last verse of the piece I named "Cotton Blend". This last verse references the theme from the head and contains many of the elements we've already addressed in previous weeks - use of the split tongue technique on the 2/5 holes for a partial 7th chord, half and full step bends on the 2nd and 3rd holes, some double stops or "intentional slop", some hand shaping and tonal contrast, finishing up with a big, broad vibrato at the end.





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
key of E
A Harp
Rick Estrin
James Cotton
Cotton Blend

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

A Harp in the Key of E. 

Loop 1:43 Run-Through of 7th Verse

Loop 2:21 Breakdown of Mic Technique

Loop 3:32 Breakdown of I Chord and Getting the Bends Right

Loop 6:42 Breakdown of IV Chord

Loop 7:28 V Chord Breakdown 

Loop 9:36 Review of Whole Verse

Loop 10:16 Slow Practice Loop of Whole Verse

Loop 12:14 Breakdown of Ending

Loop 14:27 Walkthrough of Whole Verse and How Licks Fit Together

Loop 21:15 Closing Thoughts






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andre Loiselle
andre Loiselle Apr 14, 2020

Great Rick !! your amp ... real deal !!

andre Loiselle
andre Loiselle Apr 14, 2020

What can I say ?? the way you shape the bends with  "intentional slop ",  vibrato and growls with "That " control !! to me it s Fierceness at the most and "Frightening" !!

I will have to get on "another gear " to get that control !! Looove It !! have a good day , and yes thank you , I m healty and safe !!

andre Loiselle
andre Loiselle Apr 14, 2020

Hi Rick !! hope you re doing well ?? what amp do you use on this song ??

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Apr 14, 2020

Hey Andre - I hope you're safe and healthy. I have 2 old amps from the 1950s set up in my living room, and I can't remember which one I used for this lesson. One is an old Fender Champ. It has one 8" speaker. The other is a Gibson Maestro. It has four 8" speakers. 

Dariusz Feb 25, 2016

Hi Rick !

I am impressed with the feeling you share on these videos. I am glad I have subscribed , plenty tof great stuff to learn :) 

May I ask you for an advice Rick ?

Would you advice any  amp and microphone I should get  please.  I am playing for myself and will hopefully play for best friends in the garden. 

Many thanks and Best Regards. 


Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Mar 10, 2016

Hi Dariusz

I'm real glad you're enjoying what I'm trying to do here on Sonic Junction. Since it sounds like you'll be playing in small settings, you won't need to be super loud. That's a good thing. First, get a mic. Dennis Gruenling, who teaches right here on Sonic Junction is one the most knowledgeable and very best harp mic technicians and suppliers in the world. Another guy who does outstanding mic work is Greg Heumann. You can find him on Facebook. Once you have a mic, you can begin looking for an amp. I recommend finding a small "tube" or "valve" amp. Look for one with low wattage and one 8 or 10 inch speaker. When you try some different small amps with your mic, you'll be able to see which amp sounds the most like what you're looking for. Definitely start with the mic. I hope this helps - Have fun with it!

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Feb 21, 2016

Rick, This whole series really gave my bends a workout.  But more than that.  At one point you said, "This going to be really cool when you get it."  Well, I don't have all of it yet but the parts where I've gotten the notes and the feel just feel really cool.  Many thanks and let us know if you ever make it to the northeast.


Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 23, 2016

Thanks Bill - I'm real glad you dug the series. As always, the main thing we all need to do to improve is practice. I've been playing forever and still, the more I "keep it in my mouth" (AKA play and practice), the better it feels and the more naturally it flows.

Robert Fox
Robert Fox Feb 19, 2016

Thanks for another great series of lessons, Rick - I learned a lot!

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 23, 2016

Thanks Robert! I'm real happy to hear that!

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