How to play Bright Lights Big City on harmonica

Jun 14, 2017 | 12 Bar Blues, Backing Track, Intermediate Harmonica Lessons, Licks, Songs

This week we are continuing the theme of first position blues with the Jimmy Reed classic “Bright Lights Big City”

You will need a harmonica in the key of A.

It uses the 1st position blues scale. If you missed that lesson just click here to go to; introduction to 1st position blues harmonica

Blow bend inflections

You will notice that this tune uses a lot of inflections on the blow bends. Just like on a draw bend this means hitting the bend and quickly releasing it. In order to do this you can try saying “kwee-kwee”. Most importantly, you will need to make sure that you are keeping a nice even pressure on the hole.

Hitting those bends straight on

Lick 3 lands on an 8 hole blow bend which you then release and re-hit. Practice hitting it straight on slowly. Remember to keep the pressure even.

Hitting the 10 hole blow bend straight on

In lick 5 you are going to playing all the hardest blow bends straight on; the 9 blow and the 10 blow. Just slow this lick right down until you can play it perfectly before you attempt to speed it up.

Spot the lick from second position

A lot of you will recognise this lick as a lick I love playing in 2nd position. Starting on the 9 blow bend which you quickly release and glissando down to 7 hole.

Lick 1

Tab for lick 1


Lick 2

Tab for lick 2


Lick 3

Tab for lick 3


Lick 4

Tab for lick 4


Lick 5

Tab for lick 5


Lick 6

Tab for lick 6


Backing Track

Learn how to improvise

If you are keen to start improvising over a 12 bar blues I will help you in my Introduction to Improvisation eCourse.

Thank you

As always, if you have any questions just leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.

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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