Class date: April 16th 2022
Time 11am-12:30pm Central
Harmonica key: A
Join Ronnie Shellist for this class which will explore 3rd position blues harp from the perspective of George “Harmonica” Smith through his songs “Telephone Blues” and “Blues Stay Away“. Both of these songs are in B major and he is playing on an A harmonica (3rd position). Smith was the undisputed heavyweight of 3rd position blues, influencing players such as Rod Piazza, William Clarke and many other modern players. He also had a short stint in the Muddy Waters blues band. George Smith had a huge sound on the diatonic and chromatic harmonica. I will also be grabbing one or two ideas from Kim Wilson’s version of “Telephone Blues” which he plays in Bb on an Ab harmonica (3rd position). We will transfer those to an A harmonica so we can stick with one key harp for this class.
These songs are perfect for someone who is comfortable bending on holes 1-6. The 3rd position ideas are literally textbook licks from one of the greatest players. Learning these ideas will help you discover a roadmap to improvising in 3rd position. “Telephone Blues” was my first 3rd position blues study years ago when I started playing and every player should learn this song in my opinion. It’s not too tricky once you gain control over the -3”’ (bent all the way down) and the -2″ (full step bend),
We will examine both intros and solos from these songs, grabbing many of the ideas along the way. These two songs are a great workout for the bottom and middle register of 3rd position. There will likely be some light notes provided for this class but it will be recorded for playback so you can return and take detailed notes anytime.