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David's Tip of the Day: Songwriting Spark, Part 1 - Mood, Part 2

David Barrett Admin's picture

"Sad Hours" by Little Walter starts with the guitar playing a bass line hook to set the mood with the band. Walter then enters with a pickup and holds a ghostly 5 draw. Walter plays thematically and never overplays... a great example of building a mood and staying with it.

"Blues for Big Nate" by Jerry Portnoy focuses on everything BIG in tone. The 3/4 combo is the fullest sound the harmonica has to offer when played amplified (due to the difference tone that's produced, which is two octaves lower than the 2 draw pitch... a BIG bottom). He replaces the 2 draw resolution of the first lick with a chord, which has the 2 draw in it (1 2 3 draws). He continues to explore these big sounds throughout the song to the cool "Blues Midnight" hook bass line.

"Skeet-a-Little Taste" by James Harman jumps right in with a 5 draw flutter tongue on the Low F harmonica, backed by a rootsy guitar chunkin' rhythm. This all combined with the slap of the bass gives one the feel of a gelopy trying to putter down the road.

"Snake Oil" by Steve Guyger starts with the thump of the toms in a rumba rhythm to set the mood. Steve then enters in with almost an entirely minor-focused harmonica part that floats above the music to create an overall hypnotic feel.

Listen to these tunes again and see if you agree with my visual. Maybe you have a different visual? The point is that these tunes evoke some feeling or story line.