Getting single notes
Pursing the lips
Bending exercises vibrato
12-bar blues structure
|The art of soloing |
Overblows & much more.
America's favorite Blues-Harp course! Gary has recorded two solo albums for Amazing Records & has also appeared on recordings by Tish Hinojosa, Omar & the Howlers, Pat McLothlin, & Steve James.
Last summer in Milwaukee at Summerfest I had an opportunity to interview Texas Bluesman Gary Primich. He had just finished a very memorable smokin’ blues set on the Pabst Blues Stage. Among the many questions I asked him were a few about this how-to-play blues harp course he had published back in 1985. I wanted to know who this course was directed at. Gary explained that while the title of the course suggests it is aimed at beginning Harp Players, it is really more for intermediate to advanced players. A little more convincing was all I needed to decide to purchase a copy of this course. It is now March of ’93 and I have been working with this material for about six months. And now I wish I would have gotten my hands on this a few years ago when I first noticed his ads in Musician’s Workshop Catalog. I may not have been quite ready for this stuff back then, but due to the information Gary puts into explaining tongue blocking, I really could have benefitted from this course, since tongue blocking is something I have had and my share of problems with. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s do a run through of the course layout. Gary does not spend a lot of time on the real basic stuff. He begins Side One of Tape One, with some of the basic fundamentals, such as how to hold the harp, which harps he uses (Hohner Golden Melodys and Marine Bands), getting single notes by lipping and by tongue blocking. From there he goes directly into bending notes from end to end. And how to achieve vibrato from your throat and tongue. That takes up the first side or one-half hour of this two-tape, two-hour course. Gary opens Side Two with a very clear explanation of the twelve-bar blues structure, by first telling what he’s going to do and then playing it on guitar and talking you through what he’s doing. From here on he gets into positions and what harps to use to play the various keys in first, second, and third position. And how to use this material as a reference to play the positions by playing examples of its explanation all the while stressing the importance of using his example to improvise and create your own blues solos. He gets right into soloing and how to recognize the chord changes by playing 48 bars of some really cruel cool blues. Then he lays down a whole bunch of licks and riffs in positions, and then gives the clues on how to use them in blues structure and improvisation. Gary really gets into second, or cross position, and if your imagination doesn’t get kick started here you’re really brain dead. He plays many seemingly simple but terrific licks and tells you how to move them around the harp. Tape Two Side One continues in cross harp style, and Gary carefully explains when he is and is not using single note and tongue blocking. Man, this is some great stuff. More details on tonguing intervals, octaves and double-note chording, with vibrato. Hold on here, I’m giving away all his stuff. But let’s keep going: he gets into intro’s, turnarounds and endings. Using a variety of Little Walter, Big Walter, and Sonny Boy’s licks and then incorporating all of them into twelve bar form. This stuff gets positively KILLER when he does the same things in third position to end Side One Tape Two. Next, he talks microphones (Gary uses Astatics along with a Fender Blackface Super Reverb)-this was in 1985. But the point he makes is tubes and tens x four. Solid state is not as good for that dirty fat harp tone all the great blues harp players hit us in the gut with. He then gets into overblows and how he gets them, on the Hohner Golden Melody harmonica. He stresses that the notes are there: you just have to keep the faith and keep playing for them. He then does a detailed version of Little Walter’s "Just Your Fool" from Boss Blues Harmonica. Gary breaks this tune into two measure sections and plays it slow and then up to speed. And slams it all together, smooth as silk to bring Side Four to a Close. Like I said before, I wish I would have had this course years ago. But every time I listen to it I learn more! And do it every day and it’s like saying your prayers. It’s good for your soul.—The Boilerman(Reprinted by permission)from The American Harmonica Newsletter
"I just wanted to thank you for your Blues Harmonica course. I bought the tapes over the winter, & while I'm not ready to get into any cutting contest with Junior Wells or Kim Wilson just yet, I have improved considerably. I am grateful. Thanks!" S Sunness, Madison, WI
"Several months ago I received your Blues Harmonica tapes as a gift from my stepfather. They are just what the doctor ordered! I have been playing about 10 years. They are great. I can't believe how much technique you have provided thru these." Thanks D. Davenport, Kokomo, IN
"I bought your tapes about a year ago & found them to be informative, very interesting, & probably one of the best tapes sold. I recommend it very highly to other people trying to learn harp." G Doyle, Baltimore, MD
"I immensely enjoyed the harp tapes. I am especially pleased that you included some Walter Horton licks as he is my favorite player. Also, it was good of you to include a tuning note." D Fong, Sacramento, CA