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David's Tip of the Day: Chords - Tips from the Harmonica Masters Workshops

David Barrett Admin's picture

I'm at my desk in the Movenpick Hotel Stuttgart, about to leave for my flight home. Today I'll start a series based on my observations from my classes, conversations with students and what I heard at the jam sessions... specifically what I saw in regards to deficiencies.

Memorize your three blues chords...

I7 (one-seven chord) = G B D F (G is the Root of the chord, B the third [third note from the root in the basic scale... G A B], D the fifth and F the flat-7th [the 7th in the Key of G is F#, so F being lowered a half step is the flat-7th)
IV7 = C E G Bb
V7 Chord = D F# A C

If you jammed "Rock Me Baby" by B.B. King (commonly recorded in the key of C) you could grab your F Harmonica (low or high) and probably pick up the main hook by ear, which is...

I7 = 2 2" 2 (or 6+ 5 6+)

As you played this simple two-note hook you could figure out before going to the IV7 came that you're playing the Root, then flat-7th and then back to the root. You then need the same for the IV7 Chord, the root being C and flat-7th being Bb...

IV7 = 4+ 3' 4+

and the same thought process for the V7 Chord...

V7 = D C D (4 4+ 4, or 1 1+ 1, or both at the same time with an octave embouchure).

Download B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby" and give it a try. The ability to hear, figure out, and then sequence (move the lick to the IV7 and V7 Chords) is an essential skill for an accompanist.