Rick Estrin

Lesson >

Sloppin' and Slidin'


Hey - Rick Estrin, back again with a brand new piece created specially for my Sonic Junction people. This tune is called “Sloppin’ and Slidin” and as the title indicates, it contains a lot of different slides or glissandos mixed in with some slop, AKA double-stops, or as Dennis calls ‘em distorted notes.  The term I like to use when describing this effect is - Intentional Slop. I heard Paul Oscher use that description way back in the 1960s and that’s been my name for it ever since.

A couple other things to note about this tune are:

1) Although I’m normally a big advocate of “breathing through the harp” and employing “2 draw vs 3 blow” to best advantage, a good portion of this song is done strictly using draw notes. I figure it can’t hurt to expand our comfort zone.


2) In honor of Halloween, I made this song just a little bit spooky! Have fun, and I’ll see you next week.




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

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

A Harp in the Key of E.

Loop 0:00 Whole Song

Loop 0:00 First Verse

Loop 0:36 Second Verse

Loop 0:59 Third Verse

Loop 1:24 Fourth Verse

Loop 1:47 Fifth Verse

Loop 2:11 Sixth Verse

Loop 2:35 Seventh Verse





Log in to leave a comment

alex Sep 15, 2018

Hey Rick, unrelated to this lesson but do you think you'll ever post any chromatic lessons?

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Sep 15, 2018

I hadn't thought about it, but maybe. For now, you should check out Dennis's Moan a Chrom serie.

Douglas Avery
Douglas Avery Feb 23, 2018

What holes are u hitting?

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Feb 23, 2018

Hi Douglas - This video is just the song performance. When you get into the actual lessons I explain which holes I’m hitting and what to do once you get there.

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Nov 29, 2017

I think it's interesting that the direction is to stick to instrumentals.  I really like the lessons you did on Getting Out of Town and Nine Below Zero. Other artists on the site are doing songs.  I would love it if you mixed in some lessons that included vocals, especially vocals and harmonica with no other accompaniment.  It really makes you think about your breathing and sustaining the groove.  Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Boyd R
Boyd R Nov 20, 2017

Sonnyboy does on the Chess, 45 version? I would like to have these songs also

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Nov 20, 2017

Well Boyd, Sonic Junction wants me to stick with instrumentals. Maybe I’ll try to put a SBW2 style thing together incorporating elements from Fattening Frogs.

Grant Page
Grant Page Nov 18, 2017

Also I know it’s off topic here, but would love to see a lesson series on Fattnin’ Frogs For Snakes

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Nov 18, 2017

Do you mean break down what Sonnyboy does on the Chess, 45 version? 

Grant Page
Grant Page Nov 18, 2017

Yes sir

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Nov 18, 2017

I think SJ wants me to stick to instrumental pieces, but maybe I could construct a Rice Miller style, shuffle instrumental, and draw from “snakes” and utilize other SB2 type, devices.

Grant Page
Grant Page Nov 18, 2017

Sounds good, yeah I completely forgot that there is a vocal on that 

Grant Page
Grant Page Nov 18, 2017

Thanks Rick

Grant Page
Grant Page Nov 17, 2017

Hi Rick, your acoustic tone is amazing, any tips for a achieving that big tone?

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Nov 18, 2017

Thanks, Grant - I’d say first, make sure you’re able to produce a clear, clean focused sound on a single hole - try to eliminate air leakage. Next, become a curious, constructive critic - listen to yourself and experiment by making tiny adjustments to your embouchure, to the position of your jaw, to the compression of your throat and facial muscles, experiment with diaphragm breathing vs shallow breathing, all those things and more will help you to find and develop different tones. So, be patient with yourself. Putting in the time to experiment with small adjustments and just spending time with that harp in your mouth, is the way you’ll discover how to make different sounds and tones and take ownership of them.   

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Oct 19, 2017

Huh!  Scale down the focus and magnitude of he compression.  I would have thought the opposite.  Thanks - that's definitely something to explore.  Yeh, Sonny Boy does some things, like Do It If You Want To, on a high F harp that would be good to revisit.

Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Oct 19, 2017

Like I said, it’s hard to describe (at least for me) - But the key is usually finesse rather than muscle. 

Bill Blatner
Bill Blatner Oct 18, 2017

Hi Rick,

Good to virtually see you again.  I like the guitar line - spooky without being cheesy.  Not an easy feat.

I love your ideas.  Seems like every verse I think I know where it's going and then you come up with a surprise that really grabs me.  I'm hoping to have the first verse or two more or less together and the rest of it in my head by next week. 

I find that it's easier to bend notes, especially the 3-hole draw bends, on an A harp than on a higher pitched harp like a D.  Any thoughts on that? Could it be the particular harp or is that normal?  Are there any ways to alter the technique or do I just have to wear out a few more D harps until I get the feel for it?





Rick Estrin
Rick Estrin Oct 18, 2017

Hi Bill - Glad you like the piece. Rusty tells me that by me being such a primitive guitar player, I sometimes come up with some cool “ignorant“ bass lines that a real guitar player or bass player probably wouldn’t think of.

The adjustment you‘re asking about is difficult to describe, but when you’re playing higher pitched harps, it’s like you need to scale down the focus and the magnitude of the compression you’re using to get your handle, or your grip on the reed. I don’t know if that makes any sense at all to you, but I’m just trying to describe what will have occurred anyway after you “wear out a few more D harps“ and “get the feel”.

It is a different feel - I’d suggest maybe listening to, and trying to replicate some Sonnyboy II stuff where he’s using higher pitched harps.

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