Rick Estrin

Lesson >

Half Steppin'

Sixth Chorus Breakdown

Hey now - Rick Estrin back again - this time with verse 6 of "Half Steppin" and in this verse we're really back to the half-steppin' theme in a big way. Remember how in the first two verses, we concentrated on the different bends in the 3 hole, draw? Well in this verse, the focus is on the half-step and whole-step bends in the 2nd hole, draw, and in one spot, we're scooping smoothly, from the two draw full bend, through the half-step bend, all the way up to the natural E note. If you put in the time, when you get done working on this lesson, you are gonna OWN two draw!





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
key of E
Chicago Blues
A Harp
Rick Estrin

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

A Harp in the Key of E.

Loop 0:51 Verse 6 Acoustically

Loop 1:30 Breakdown of First 4 Bars

Loop 3:52 Breakdown of IV Chord and Back to I (Bars 5 and 8)

Loop 6:38 V Chord and Turnaround Breakdown (Bars 7 - 12)

Loop 7:31 Practice Loop of All 12 Bars

Loop 8:06 Review

Loop 10:53 Practice Loop of All 12 Bars

Loop 11:23 Slow Practice Loop of All 12 Bars

Loop 12:08 Closing Thoughts





Log in to leave a comment

Tominou Mar 02, 2017

hey, I'm lost in bars... Can someone answer these questions: in that "song"

how many pulses are there in one bar? (4?)

how many bars are there in one chorus? (12?)

Sorry, I have to ask it to be sure of what I have to do. Even if you think it is idiot, please answer, thanks

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Mar 03, 2017

Hi Tom - That's a legitimate question - And, your guesses are correct. There're 4 beats to the bar and 12 bars in a verse. 

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Feb 26, 2017

I agree 1000% that listening comes first.  I don't read music, or if I do I'm at a 2-year-old level.  I've always learned by getting things in my head, to the point where I can sing or hum them, and then finding the notes and phrasing on the instrument.  Now that I'm learning a little theory it just helps me make a little sense of what I'm hearing.  Just wanted you to know that I appreciate those little bits of info you're providing.  Now I'll get back to work on my snoring.  My wife tells mine it is not always so gentle.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Feb 26, 2017

Hi Rick,

Every one of these verses has something cool about it, but when I first heard this one I knew there was something different going on.  That major 7th note definitely gives the melody that big band feel. It conjures crowds of people out on the floor in a joyful, swinging dance.  On the 5 chord also, when you go up from the dominant to the major 7th instead of to the E, that little difference changes the feel in such a cool way.

I know you don't like to make a big deal of the theory but as I'm picking up more and more of it I find this kind of information helps me make sense of what I'm playing. Maybe it's just having a name for it, the major vs. the dominant 7th, which applies to any instrument or any position on the harmonica for that matter.  Not to diminish (no pun intended) the emphasis on the groove, but if you're going to make friends with all these notes it seems like you should know their names :)

Could you say a little about that dip to the dominant 7th on the 4-chord?  How are you getting that growl?  Do you have your tongue on the harp when you do that?




Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 26, 2017

Hi Bill - Knowing some theory is definitely helpful, especially when communicating with other musicians who often don't believe the harmonica is a real instrument. Just don't let theory distract you from the actual music. Theory can help you understand why certain things work in certain spots - but IMO, theory has to be secondary to listening. An absolute truth is that if you can't hear it, you'll never be able to play it. Regarding the 2 draw bend on the IV, I'm tongue blocking, but it'll work with lip pursing too. The little growl is produced in the back of my throat by simulating a gentle "snoring" effect. The bend itself is just a full bend with a gradual release. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback (no pun intended) and any questions are always welcome.

Tominou Feb 24, 2017

Did I have already mention I LOVE your lessons, Rick? I always feel like if you're with me in my room, speaking only for me, making me smile. I refuse to imagine I share you with anyone else. Ok, it may become insane, I shut up. But it is. 

Sonicjunction, you make my life wonderful!

13 minuts more of pleasure, encouragements and happiness. Thank you!

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 24, 2017

Thank YOU Tom - I'm glad my lessons are fun for you! I'm having a good time too. The only way way I know to teach is just to be myself and share my experience and my opinions. 

Login popup sm Login popup banner

Member Log In

Forgot your password? Click here

New To Sonic Junction?

See Sign Up Info >

Popup close
Login popup sm

New To Sonic Junction?

Try 2 Lessons Free

Popup close