Honest I Do!!!
Our new study song, Honest I Do by Jimmy Reed is a nice harp contrast to the last one, Hoochie Coochie Man, because it focuses on the other end of the harp in first position. As you see on the transcription, Reed is all over the high end blow bends rather than the low end stuff Little Walter gave us on Hoochie Coochie Man.
This leads to conversation about harp tuning. At the time of this recording, Jimmy Reed would have been playing a harp set for "just" tuning which means that holes 5 draw and 9 draw would have been tuned 27 cents flatter than harps we play now. This lower tuning on the draw reed means the blow bend can be bent lower, so you'll find you have trouble nailing the bends in tune here (assuming your blow bending chops are good) because the harp just won't go there. You could definitely consider altering the tuning on an A harp and marking it for blow bend tunes like this one, or maybe purchase a Hohner Blue Midnight harp, which is just tuned.
Now about working on your blow bends to improve them - Joe's first advice is to find some bunker to practice in so you don't irritate everyone around you!
That said, consider this: blow bends require the same tongue shape and movement as draw bends even though that sounds counter-intuitive. How to get there? Start with slow, steady draw bends on your D harp, holes 5 and 6. Once those are solid and smooth, do the same bends on holes 7 and 8 blow on your G harp. They are the same notes and the bend process should be the same in your mouth. This is how you get there!
Gary Primich's dad Jack passed away Monday. Jack was a sweet man and along with his daughter Darsha has been very supportive of B1 students and the Old Town School. We send our thoughts and support out to the Primich family - he will be missed.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew