V chord licks?

Are there other V chord licks outside of what you can do with -1/-4 for second position blues?

I feel limited here besides pulling an octave or maybe doing a shake.


Hi @Dk360

Start exploring -6 and also see which ideas you can develope starting licks or simply adding -5 to licks. Same goes for -2" and -3". Record your (new) licks played both by themselves and with backing tracks.


– Slim :sunglasses:



Thanks! I didn’t know those notes were ‘in the rules’


Hey, don’t worry! Be bluesy! :laughing:

What are the “rules” anyway ?? Actually for blues harp players, the “rules” are nothing more than guidelines – mostly for beginners so that they can get “up to speed” and jam along well with others. When you play a blues harp to a blues song, basically all of the harp’s notes can be played almost anywhere !! The “trick” is making it sound good !! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

But back to my suggestions for playing the -6, -5, -3" & -2" in licks for the V chord. To keep things simple let us stick to a song in G and we are playing a C blues harp – but this applies to other keys (for songs and appropriate harps) just as well.

In a blues in G we find the V chord to be a D. If that is a D major chord its 3 main tones consist of D, F# and A (tones I, III & V of the D scale). What is the tone on our C harp when we play hole -6 or -3" (or -10 also) ?? You got it: it is an A – and that A is the note V of that D scale so it always sounds good over the D chord (V chord of our song). This all applies even when the V chord is D minor (whose main tones are D, F & A). This is totally analogous to playing -1, -4 or -8 in a G blues: 1-,-4 & -8 are all tone D and D is the 5th tone of the G scale and G chord.

And what about the -5 or -2" (or -9 also) ?? Those are all an F. And why can that work when the D major chord and scale have F# rather than F ?? Because playing that F is playing the “blue” note over the major chord (i.e. the F is the flat third – F# lowered by a semi-tone) – classic “blues” sound !! :dizzy_face: Obviously this also applies when the V chord is D minor (main tones: D, F & A) where the 3rd tone is already “blue” (i.e. lowered by a semi-tone compared to the 3rd tone of the D major scale and chord).

But don’t get yourself bogged down too much by this theory stuff – use the golden rule in blues, jazz and basically all improvised music of any genre: if it sounds good, it is good – so play it !!

Have fun,

– Slim :sunglasses:


Thanks again!

Very easy to get in the weeds with theory, especially when your background is ‘just read the sheet music’!

I’m going to post here when I think I get it down - I hope you’ll give me some feedback.


@Dk360 Yeah great notes for the V chord are 1 -1 -2’ -3" 4 -4 -6

Here’s some great V chord licks:

-1 -2" -2’ -3" -3 -4

-4 4 -3" -2" -2’ 1

-2’ 3 -3’‘’ -3" -2" -2 -1

-4 -5 6 -6’ -6 7 -6 -6’ -5 -4 6 -6

-9 9’ -10 -9 9’ -8 7 -8

The V7 chord arpeggio is really helpful practice, but does require one overblow

1 -1 -2’ -3" 4 -4 -5(o) -6 7 -8 9’ -10 10

Hope that helps!