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David's Tip of the Day: Laws of Blues Harmonica - 3 Draw Quarter Tone Bend

David Barrett Admin's picture

The 3 draw is commonly played at a quarter tone bend or dipped.

It's rare to hear an experienced blues harmonica player play the 3 draw without a slight bend. The bend is not as deep as a half step (3' Bb), it's between the 3 B and 3 Bb, and it's variable, so it's best not to say it's an exact degree in that range (the lighter the song, the less the bend... the darker the song, the deeper the bend).

If you're going for a lighter sound, then a dip is good. A dip is a slight bend (can go as deep as a half step, 3' Bb) that releases quickly to the natural 3 draw.

You can of course mix the two together, bending to a half step (3' Bb) and then releasing quickly to the quarter tone bend.

In my notation, this quarter tone bend is shown in the TAB as 3' Bb, but above the note head a + is notated, indicating to play it a quarter tone above it's notated pitch.