Harmonica bass lines: Boogie blues in 2nd position

Nov 25, 2015 | 12 Bar Blues, Intermediate Harmonica Lessons

Hello, this weeks harmonica lesson is how to play a Boogie Blues style bass line on harmonica.

You will need a harmonica in the key of C. We are playing in 2nd position which means you are playing in the key of G.


I have broken down the 12 bar blues into three main riffs. We have a riff that fits over each chord;

• I chord
• IV chord
• V chord

I chord

Click the audio file to hear it played nice and slowly.

The notes just last one beat, so really focus on playing strongly on each foot tap.

You play this riff twice to start with. It lasts for 2 bars.

IV chord

Click the audio file to hear it played nice and slowly.

The 3 draw whole step bend is quite tricky. You then need to release it a little bit to the half step bend and then pull it back down to the whole step. This is really tough to get accurate. I suggest you spend some quality time practising that bend release in isolation.

You just play this riff once over the IV chord

V chord

Click the audio file to hear it played nice and slowly.

The 2 draw half step bend is not a note that you hear very regularly but it fits very well over the V chord. So, spend a little bit of time practising that bend and make sure that you don’t take it all the way down to the whole step.

V, IV, I and turnaround

Click the audio file to hear it played nice and slowly.

It is really helpful to practice playing the last 4 bars of this sequence which feature the V, IV and I chords followed by a turnaround.

Put it all together

Now that you can play each of the riffs in isolation try playing the whole thing as a 12 bar blues.

What notes are you playing?

You can probably hear that you are playing a pattern over each chord. This pattern is;

root, 3rd, 5th, 6th and b7

If you’re not entirely sure what this means, do not worry. I will be doing a lesson on chord theory in the not too distant future.

Thank you for watching

Now that you can play this bass line try and play it over some other 12 bar blues and see how it fits.

Thank you so much for taking part in this lesson. I hope it was useful for you. If you enjoyed this lesson, please share it with your friends.

See you again for the next harmonica video!

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