Rick Estrin

Lesson >

Nine Below Zero

Outro - Lesson 2

This, the final lesson of my "Nine Below Zero" series, contains some slightly tricky timing and some breath control transitions that might present a bit of a challenge at first. They may seem a little awkward initially, but once you get the timing down, you'll be adding a whole new emotional feel to your harmonica playing pallet. You'll gain a kind of stutter-step timing device that can be used to convey a real feeling of desperation and near panic.

I'll also introduce the use of the major 7th (or the 2 draw bent a half-step) over the V chord. It's a signature Sonnyboy II treatment of that chord change and he often used it to cue the band when he was about to end a song. We'll finish up with a really cool and rarely heard, ending lick from Sonnyboy's early '50s period on the Trumpet label.

This lesson is packed with new stuff but please - don't let the licks distract you from the prime directive: maintain that groove at all times!

I hope you've enjoyed this series and with any luck, I'll see you somewhere down the road.

Rick Estrin



Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
key of E
A Harp
Sonny Boy II
Rick Estrin
Nine Below Zero

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

A Harp in the Key of E

Loop 1:12 Outro Run-Through

Loop 2:00 IV Chord Breakdown

Loop 4:11 Syncopated / Stutter Step Riff

Loop 7:18 Reiterating Riff

Loop 9:05 Using the Major 7th on the V Chord

Loop 11:01 Practice Loop

Loop 11:35 Artistic Approach and Ending

Loop 15:34 Closing Thoughts





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Eric C Rodenberg
Eric C Rodenberg Aug 24, 2015

Rick: This material has been invaluable to me. Your lessons on the rhythms, the three draw backed up by the two blow (something I'm really going to explore and cultivate) and the SBW nuances and tones are really impacting my playing. As I said earlier I frequently run through all your SBW interpretations. To my thinking, this is the heart of it all. Thanks for everything. Look forward to your coming back soon. 

Dave Aug 21, 2015

Rick, this was a really fine series, one of the best harp lessons I've ever come across. The notes aren't hard to get, but the subtleties of timing, intonation and feeling that create the sound you and SBW get will probably take a couple of years to master, if ever. At least now I know how to shoot for it and understand what SBW is doing across much of his repertoire.

Thanks for the detailed instruction and your willingness to answer stupid questions. Look forward to your next turn.

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Aug 24, 2015

Thank you Dave - I'm real glad you enjoyed this series and feel like it gave some new things to consider and work on.

I'm still learning too.

The more time you spend with it, the closer you'll get to what you're shooting for - So, keep it in your mouth and have fun with it!

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