How to play Bye bye Bird on C harmonica

Aug 30, 2017 | 12 Bar Blues, Intermediate Harmonica Lessons, Songs

Hello and welcome to this week’s harmonica lesson, where I will be showing you how to play the Sonny Boy Williamson classic Bye Bye Bird on harmonica in C played in 2nd position in the key of G.




Break down the rhythm

The rhythm is quite complex so it is really important to spend some time breaking it down into more manageable blocks before you attempt to play the whole thing all the way through. Play really slowly and focus on which chords are being accented. You will notice a number of the blow chords are barely played. I call them ghost blow coughs. You are releasing your tight mouth shape on the harmonica and gently coughing through it so there is a little bit of a rhythmic element but it is not very loud. This is a better way to approach accenting the draw chords. They will sound accented by comparison to the blow chords as against drawing harder.

Lick 1

tab for Bye Bye Bird lick 1

Lick 2

tab for Bye Bye Bird lick 2

Lick 3

tab for Bye Bye Bird lick 3

Lick 4

tab for Bye Bye Bird lick 4

Play like the original

In the original version, Sonny Boy Williamson plays an extended range C harmonica which is an octave lower. So, he is playing in the same key as us but if you want to play like him you will need to get a Low-C harmonica.

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Thank you

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See you again for the next harmonica video!

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