Rick Estrin

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Crawlin' Kingsnake

2nd Half of Solo

Hey Sonic Junction - Rick Estrin back again. This week I'll be breaking down the second half of the middle solo verse in this "Crawlin' Kingsnake". In this section there's hand work - some of it is very pronounced, and some is a little more subtle. In addition we'll be doing bends with scoops and swoops, we'll be juxtaposing some clean notes with dirty notes, we'll be using a little vibrato, we'll utilize some ghost notes and semi-ghost notes, AND I'll reveal one big, (provided it's executed properly, with the right attitude) guaranteed getover!

There's a ton of good stuff in just this little half a verse, so get ready for some big fun!






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

Print Print Chords & Tab

G Harp in the Key of D.

Loop 0:50 Run-Through of Solo

Loop 1:32 Breakdown of 2nd Half of Solo Verse

Loop 7:52 Turnaround Breakdown

Loop 12:12 Review and Practice Loop

Loop 13:45 Closing Thoughts





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andre Loiselle
andre Loiselle May 30, 2020

Hi Rick !! how did you do to find all these little nuances ... Man , you should have listen hours and hours ... loll amazing !! the little ghost blow between the bends Wow !! SJ it s my new Netflix ... if I able to put the same hours ... I would be , I m already Better !! thanks again 


Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin May 30, 2020

That's it Andre - I heard it. I loved it. And, I listened for hours and hours, over many years - That's what I did, but it begins with the love for the music.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Sep 16, 2018

Yes, that definitely makes sense.  That fact that I can improvise at all used to seem like a miracle to me but your analogy of building up a vocabulary and using it to say something takes a lot of the mystery out of it.  This piece inspired me to go back and listen to John Lee again.  Sometimes it seems like he's using the same devices over and over, but on the 8-CD set I have he's playing on over 400 tunes!  Obviously he's going to reuse a lot of the same vocab.  On the other hand, I'm newly in awe of his expressiveness, inventiveness and groove.  And your breakdowns of the techniques in this Crawlin King Snake piece are helping me figure out other things he's doing that I couldn't hear before.

If you wanted to do another John Lee tune I'd vote for You Better Cut That Out.  It's always been one of my favorites.

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Sep 16, 2018

Thanks Bill - We'll see. Cut That Out's a great tune.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Sep 15, 2018

Hi Rick,

Thanks for focusing in on these details.  Lots of things I was wondering about are now clear - I just have to practice until I can execute!  There are so many very deliberate things that, as you say, make this effective.  When you're performing a piece like this do you pretty much have it worked out like this in advance, or is this so in you at this point that you can improvise and still get the effect (get house as you say:)?

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Sep 15, 2018

I think I can pretty much play off the top of my head in my own version of this style, but the way that came about, was by learning different pieces in this style. Then, over time, I was able to internalize much of the vocabulary - not all, and not perfectly, but enough to find little devices that I could latch onto and take ownership of. Hopefully that explanation makes sense.

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