7 Nation Army on Harmonica

How to ROCK OUT… on Harmonica! :metal:t3:

Alex is at it again, tackling the badass 7 Nation Army from rock royalty, the White Stripes. Check it out :tv:.

In this video, Alex is playing my favorite wooden comb harmonica, the Marine Band Deluxe into an Electrovoice RE-10 microphone.

He’s playing on an A harmonica, in 2nd position, in the key of Em.

:warning: Warning. That’s :point_up_2:t3: incredibly difficult to do. Why? Because the A harmonica naturally plays 2nd position in the key of E major, and to make it minor requires a precise control over the -3’ half-step bend. No easy feat!

To make it even more challenging, the 6th note of the minor scale requires playing an overblow on hole 4, a very advanced technique that also requires a harmonica’s reeds to be professionally adjusted in order to achieve at all. But never fear, I’ve got you covered…

Here’s how you can play the main guitar riff from the song if you’re a beginner.

5 5 6 5 -4 4 -3

5 5 6 5 -4 4 -4 4 -3

That’s :point_up_2:t3: in what we call 5th position (a C harmonica sounds in the key of an Em). That’s a nice easy way to play this badass riff without any bends, and you can even play along with the original recording on your trusty C Harp.

And if you happen to have a Low C harmonica, you’ll be playing it in the same octave as the guitar.

You could also play it in what we call 4th position (a C harmonicasounds in the key of an Am).

So you’d need a G harmonica to play those tabs in the key of the original recording, Em (but you can play this on any harmonica by yourself and it will sound great). Here’s the tabs:

-6 -6 7 -6 6 -5 5

-6 -6 7 -6 6 -5 6 -5 5

And if you wanna play the vocal melody, it’ll require you to be able to play one bend, the half-step bend on -6’.

-6 -6 -6 7 -6 -6

-6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6

-6 -6 -6 7 -6 -6

-6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6

-6 -6 8 8 -8 -8 7 -7 -6

-6 -6 -6’ -6’ -6

But honestly just the guitar riff from this song is so well known, you’re likely to be able to impress somebody by pulling it off.

You can check me out demonstrating this song here.


I have had heaps of fun with this. What is that warbley kind of thing he does holding the long note? 2.32. Hes amazing. I love the eyes! thanks for all the things like this you send out.


Hey Toooooog - Here’s what Alex said he’s doing on the long note at 2:32

Hi, that’s ladalada articulation, punching the hard palate with the tongue.

Pretty cool! I’d never heard anyone do that before! Thanks for pointing it out!