How to play Chicago Breakdown riff by Dr Ross on harmonica in C

Hello, I was asked to do a lesson about the riff in Chicago Breakdown by Dr Ross so here it is. You will need a harmonica in the key of C and you will also need to know how to play tongue-blocked octaves. If you don’t, click here to get my lesson on octaves.

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Couple of interesting things to check out with this riff. The first is making sure that you’re comfortable jumping between tongue blocked octaves and single notes. Really slow that whole movement down until you feel comfortable doing it.

Secondly, the push…

What is a push?

You might have heard your musician friends talk about playing with a push. All this means is that you are playing a note or chord, that naturally would land on the first beat of a bar, just before. In this case it is the first tongue-blocked octave of the riff which gets played a wee bit before the beat. This creates a really nice feel of driving rhythm.

This is just a small part of the song

I did the main riff from the song in this lesson. I will happily do more from the song if I get enough requests… 😉

Finally, here is the original

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