Rick Estrin

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Nine Below Zero

Solo - Lesson 1

This week we're tackling the first half of the mid-song solo. Once again, groove is primary. In this first half, there's a simple lick, a simple chord pattern, and a variation on that simple lick. Sounds simple, right? It is - It's simple - but not necessarily easy. To play this little lick and chord pattern with expression, put it deep in the pocket and to keep it there, and to attempt to breathe life into that harp - Those are your goals for this weeks' lesson.

It's simple and not necessarily easy, but you want to make it SOUND easy!

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 0:00 How to Approach the Solo and Groove

Loop 1:20 Solo Run-Through

Loop 2:38 Breakdown of the Groove and Chords

Loop 5:35 Practice Loop of Rhythm

Loop 6:18 Shaping the Sound of the Rhythm

Loop 8:15 Putting the Rhythm and Riff Together

Loop 9:12 Slow Practice Loop Riff and Rhythm Together

Loop 10:04 Variation Before Going to the IV

Loop 15:00 Slow Practice Loop of Going to the IV Riff

Loop 15:33 Closing Thoughts




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Boyd R
Boyd R Jan 10, 2018

I have to go back and study this song. there is a set of good techniques. Great song study.

Boyd R
Boyd R Jan 03, 2018

question your not going to do any Chromatic. getting to damn old. I have enough going

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jan 03, 2018


Douglas Avery
Douglas Avery Jan 02, 2018

great lesson any trick you have to tb bends ?





Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jan 02, 2018

Well Douglas, try this: You know how when you’re lip pursing a bend, the front of your tongue drops down in your mouth? When you’re tongue blocking, you create the same sort of compression cavity in your mouth by, leaving your tongue in place on the harp, and dropping the back of your tongue. Let me know how it works out.

Guy P
Guy P Aug 15, 2015

Nice break down of a classic. I started out like most as a lip purser but after TBing just about everything for the last few years alot of these classics are much easier for me. Love these classics man. Hey Rick watched your blues harp DVD not too long ago and really injoyed it (loved all the groupies in it)  

Boyd R
Boyd R Jul 31, 2015

no it's in a good way, I'm learning alot. i'm taking more time in learning thanks for being here

Dave Jul 25, 2015

Rick, I seem to be able to play this in rhythm, but am having trouble intellectualizing the rhythm if that makes any sense. I suspect this could be a problem timing the longer runs later in the solo. 

When you play it slow, you seem to tap with your hand one beat on the three draw, one beat on the double chuck and one beat on the last chuck. Where is the fourth beat? Is it a double beat or silent beat somewhere?



Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jul 26, 2015

 Hi Dave - I'm not sure I understand your question, but hopefully this relates to your question and can help you to understand the timing of the figure . I'd suggest that instead of attempting to mathematically disect this little groove, if you can, just try duplicating what I'm doing and feeling the rhythm.

Dave Jul 26, 2015

Thanks Rick for the very clear explanation. You're right, when I stop overthinking it's pretty straightforward. 

Eric C Rodenberg
Eric C Rodenberg Jul 24, 2015

This is great stuff, Rick! I'm living in the "Garden of Groove." Seriously, I was making this too difficult. To me, this is the best series. Then I go back to the others and "tighten" them up. More than worth the price of admission. Thanks.

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jul 25, 2015

Thanks Eric - I'm so glad this is working for you! The more automatic that mental metronome becomes, the easier it'll be to make whatever you play sound and feel right.

Boyd R
Boyd R Jul 24, 2015

I said it before it's like learning how to play all over

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Jul 25, 2015

Hey Boyd - I hope you mean that in a good way!

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