explain this jammin thing

I understand tabs, songs and melodies but to just to pick up and jam with someone… I like it but don’t understand and puzzled about how and where to start. Do I need to learn 1st & 2nd positions first? Please shed some light!

Howdy Paul!

Guess that’s why jam tracks are so valuable.

Meaning, if you don’t have anybody to play with right off the bat, then listening to some jams and playing at your own pace helps you develop your timing, rhthyms and all that jazz!

Ragvoice began such a topic thread here:


JP has a whole dvd on jam tracks in his home harmonica course; and I also have jams by David Harp. I’m sure others can offer you plenty more of their selections too!

This free online place here: http://harmonicaboogie.com/

Hasn’t started their season yet, as far as I’m aware.

But there are various places to hear instrumentals, and pick up your harmonica and play along.

As far as 1st, 2nd, 3rd position etc.

You’ll have to do your own homework on learning what keys of music and what key harmonica you use to play and all that.

But as many of these jam tracks are generally in the Key of G, you’d be playing your C harmonica in 2nd position.

Hope this helps!

Keep us posted!

Keep On Harpin’!

If you want to master jamming, the first thing you have to do is to put away the tabs. Forget they ever existed. Now what you do is learn about chords and their progressions. You use this knowledge to fill in riffs where you may see them fit. Knowing about the chord progression means that you can make up riffs as you go, it frees you up. You can also play riffs you’ve pre-learned, but in my experience you’d want to change them just a little from song to song. That’s why tabs are bad, they don’t teach you to improvise.

I was also like you, very puzzled, by how this worked, and I was for a long time. But once I learned about chord progressions, then BOOM it all made sense!

Ya Paul I feel like I’m right there where your at ???

Whiskat you know my next question I don’t think I have to ask but here goes :-[

Can you shed some more light on that :stuck_out_tongue:

I also am totally lost with jamming along with a backing track maybe cause I haven’t practiced that way
much, But if I have the T A B I can do it. Sorry I know that’s a bad word.

It’s one thing memorizing a tab and playing tunes but to get to the next level you got to
be able to improvise ;D

Harp On!!

Chords normally consists of three or four notes played at the same time, a chord progression is the order a number of given chords is played in. When you play a melody, or riffs as I like to say, you play it in harmony with the chords (or of harmony if that’s the feeling you’re after). In blues the I chord is played for the first four bars, that means that if the song goes in G the I chord is a G chord (GBD or GBDF#). That means that if you base your riff around these notes, it’s bound to sound good as long as you follow the rhythm. The next part is to know what happens next. Which chord is coming up? The fifth chord in a 12 bar progression (blues), is a IV chord. Then we count up from G: G-1, A-2, B-3, C-4. C (CEG or (CEGB) is our next chord. An easy example here, which I often use, is to go up to the four blow which is the root note of the chord ©, and play it repeatedly to the rhythm and tap down to four draw with a bend in a suitable manner. This will emphasise the chord change, it will give you a feeling of flowing with the song.

Here comes the confusing part: you don’t actually have to be playing the notes that is in the chord. If the song goes in G, any note of the G scale will sound good, but knowing which notes are being used in the chords currently played is a great way of giving your playing momentum. The trick is to learn how to use the chords to give your melody the feeling you are after. Playing the same riff over a I chord and a IV produces two different feelings.

Put simply, the chords is the walls of a song, they form the home of the melody. Everything happens within these walls, and just like in any home each room has its own purpose. You pee in your bathroom, sleep in your bedroom, cook and eat in your kitchen, watch TV in the livingroom, etc. But we all know that changing these habits can be fun (drunk peeing in the kitchen sink, sleeping on bathroom floor and eating in front of the TV. The secret is to know when to do what, and that can only be taught by experience.

It’s still foggy but I think I know where to start.
the only thing I can play in 2nd position is AMAIZING GRACE. I guess I need to work on 2nd pos. more and try to find out about cord progressions. Havn’t found much on cord progression yet but much thanks to all of you!
Ya’ll have given me a place to start and kept my horse in front of the cart.

Don’t worry about positions. If the song goes in G there’s no difference if you play it in second position on a C harp or in first position on a G harp. You’re still playing in G, that’s all that matters.