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splitting hairs again

Bluevan's picture



David Barrett's picture

CH1 - Nice opening lick. I would have liked to hear some notes played on the V Chord (bar 9) that are specific to the V Chord... like the 5+ or 6+ (6 draw works great, but you've already used that many times via your main lick).
CH2 - Variation on Chorus 1
CH3 - Variation on Choruses 1 and 2... I recommend you delete this chorus
CH4 - Nice use of 8 and flutter... 6 draw for the V Chord works well here
CH5 - Nice 4/5 texture and octaves... it would have been cool to hear you use the lower range of the harp at this point... though I understand if you're still working on your bending skills... this is a tough range to play / Nice IV Chord lick
CH6 - Nice octave use
CH7 - Head

You chose to play in 3rd Position, and use an opening lick that has the 5 draw (the flat-3rd) prominent in the lick. In simple terms, you're using very dark licks throughout the song to a very light backing track... it's not a great match... changing your backing track to that of one with a darker feel will fix this.

You learned about Focus Notes in 2nd Position in the Improvising Study 2 lesson. 3rd Position also has its own focus notes (D F#/F A and C for the bluesy flat-7th), so you'll want to experiment with that concept as well... it will pay off in understanding how to move around, from chorus to chorus, in 3rd Position.

Lastly, get to know the notes of the V Chord in 3rd Position (A C# E), and use those when the V Chord comes... it will make a big difference in keeping the last four bars of the progression exciting.

Great to hear your composition... keep up the great work.

Lee's Comments

Lee Sankey's picture

HI there,

Well done for taking this on in 3rd. You sound confident in the way you hit the notes. There's some powerful bluesy moments along the way. For instance the lift at 1:13 by going up an octave with those tongue slaps.

The head is basically based on one phrase. You could take it up a level musically with the technique you already have by changing the riff for the IV chord for example.

Somethings to think about for the future. Don't be afraid to hold on to some notes for longer. For instance the strong draw 4 at 1:35 was such a great note choice, you smash it, but you jump off too soon.

My biggest observation is that you sound like your coming from a 'harp' place rather than a musical place. Does that make sense? The harmonica is just a vehicle, not music. I wonder if you're listening to too much harp? I.e. like eating nothing but Italian food. Maybe listen to some other genres for some melodic inspiration. You've got some great feel e.g the attack at 1.13, but think about injecting some more phrasing variation in your playing. This is a spirit and approach thing, not a technique thing. Perhaps try humming or vocalising musical ideas without the harmonica to get that 'machinery' going. You'll then be able to make more out of the technique you have.

Hope this helps,


right on

Bluevan's picture

Right on for all the suggestions, I will defenitly work on all of them. Funny how you stated "if youre listening to too much harp?", thats all ive been listening too for the past couple of years. Thanks again for the comments they were all on point. Brian

Cool track!

jodanchudan's picture

Cool third position playing - especially the 4/5 shakes, which always sound cool. The switch to high end flutters is also very cool. Good job!

Steve's comments

Steve Baker's picture

The head is simple and to the point, but the timing is wobbly at first, which stops it from really grooving. The tone is nice but rather distorted. I like the move to the upper register round 1:13 and the powerful next chorus from 1:37. When you come back to the head at the end the timing is much more solid, so it swings better. You may want to compare how you played at the beginning and at the end. While it's good to repeat, this is a bit too repetitive and could have used some more variation, but overall a good effort.

Repetition works well

robfraser's picture

You make the song memorable by reinforcing the head throughout but with some nice variations. I love the shift up the register @1.14, giving the harp quite a "chromatic" feel in 3rd position. Well played Brian!


marcos's picture

Catchy 3rd position head. (Wow, that sentence just wouldn't make sense anywhere but here, would it?)
Good job!
How did it get its title?

Song title

Bluevan's picture

So true about the sentence lol! No titles were coming to mind so i just named it after the splitting hairs process of making the song. :)

Solid Playing!

hank stefaniak's picture

Definite melody lines that keep getting reinforced with variations. I like how you kept a theme going and then came back to the head. Enjoyable!!


Bluevan's picture

Thanks Hank!