Orange Blossom Special. Bluegrass harmonica, classic country, easy & fun to learn! | Ben Hewlett | Skillshare

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Orange Blossom Special. Bluegrass harmonica, classic country, easy & fun to learn!

teacher avatar Ben Hewlett, Helping you play harmonica better!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (43m)
    • 1. OBS1 promo

    • 2. OBS2 intro

    • 3. OBS3 chords

    • 4. OBS4 swapping harps

    • 5. OBS5 c csale

    • 6. OBS6 G scale

    • 7. OBS7 phrase 1

    • 8. OBS8 phrase 2

    • 9. OBS9 alt

    • 10. OBS10 phrase 5

    • 11. OBS11 slow play thru

    • 12. OBS12 med playthru

    • 13. OBS13 fast playthru

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About This Class




Bluegrass Harmonica for you!

Learn The Orange Blossom Specialthe easy way. All the parts demystified and tricks revealed - including the harp swapping technique.

I'll give you all the tab and many backing tracks.

Have you ever come across a tune you can’t play? It’s too hard, too fast, too energetic…me too.

For me, the Orange Blossom Specialis one of those.

However a student wanted to learn this so I set about preparing a course to make it possible for you to play this piece – and here it is.

In the course we go through the whole thing – except improvising, and I’ll do more on that soon.

You will be able to play the whole tune and also the chord section.

This is a Bluegrass or Country fiddle tune and one of my favourites played on guitar, banjo, fiddle, violin, and piano plus singing of course. I heard Charlie McCoy playing it in Germany a few years back and always wanted to make it available for my students!

Very often they will play in E using an E harp for most of the tune adding an A harp for the bridge.

Or F and Bb is another coupling.

The higher harps have shorter reeds and you can play faster with the enhanced response.

As most people have a C harp I’m using just that for this course. If you have an F (high or low) that would be the other harp in the couple.

Check out versions by :

Charlie McCoy

Jonny Cash

Buddy Greene

Mike Stevens & Raymond McLain - 2007 - Orange Blossom Special

Klezmer Company Orchestra presents Spirit of America: Gershwin & Copland. Randi Fishenfeld and Teresa Flores perform "Orange Blossom Special" during the Klezmer Company Orchestra's Spirit of America Concert, June 28, 2009.

Here are some of the images in the video lessons to help you study this tricky song.










Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ben Hewlett

Helping you play harmonica better!



Contact me anytime through the site or email [email protected] if you have any questions HARMONICA HOTLINE 07973284366 - If you have any harmonica related questions you can call me. Yes it's true. This UK number is available whenever I'm free so try UK office hours (texts and messages cannot be answered )

*Ben is the Chairman of the NHL - National Harmonica League in the UK

*Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996

*Ben qualified as CTABRSM in 2002 (Certificate of Teaching - Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)

*Certificate of Music Workshop Skills (Goldsmiths University of London) in 1995

... See full profile

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1. OBS1 promo: Hi there. Thanks for stopping by and having a look at this course. Have you ever come across a tune or something that you wanted to play? Any thought? It's impossible. I can not do it. Never in 100 years. Well, orange Blossom Special was one of those for me, but I had a student who want to learn how to play it. So you look at, say, Charlie McCoy playing it and you look but he green playing it, I think totally impossible. It's not for May. I can't do it. And then you see Johnny Cash playing it track. It's at our special. Bring in my baby. Whoa! On you go. Well, actually, if I slow it down, I guess I could play it and sing it and I could play the cord part of it. I could do the swapping harmonica bit if I figured that out. So that's what this course is all about. I wanted to learn it. The student wants to learn it, so we lent it, and now it's your turn. So would you like to learn the orange blossom special? Nice and slow. I'll give you the tab and everything. Give it to you on paper as well as on the screen. There'll be a backing track. You can play along with a simplified version of it on. That should enable you to be able to play along with all those guys you've just seen. Maybe not at their full speed, but pretty good. You have a pretty good got it. All right. Come on inside. Have a look. Okay. I think it's time to crack on with the tune now. So grab. You see harmonica, find whole four. Let's play our first phrase. That's all it is repeated and let tag on the end. Full blow. Four drawl. My blow. Six. Blow. Why do you just play that with me now? That's it. That's the first phrase. Pretty much. And you'll find that gradually becomes possible to get some speed. Theo, would you like to learn the orange Blossom special? I'm going to give it a shot At 230. It's quite fast, but will we'll give it a go fly due to harmonicas? Why not? Okay, let's give it a go way way. Well, not too bad, actually. Thank you about struggling to watch that. Okay, let's have a seven other Got something else 2. OBS2 intro: When you think off the orange blossom special, you probably think that's a fiddle tune. It's a bluegrass fiddle tune. Crazy, fast, impossible to play on the harmonica and you're probably right. Then when you hear it done by Charlie McCoy or Body Green or Mike Stevens do you think are less a bluegrass fiddle June Impossible to play on the home like Crazy Fast And then when you hear it by Johnny Cash, you go Ah ha, right. I could maybe play that. So in this course, we're going to look at all the different versions where we're gonna take aspects of different versions on. We're gonna slow it down because you can't play things fast until you compare them slowly. So I'm gonna slow everything down. I'm gonna look at the bridge section in the middle, which is quite easy to play on. Then we're gonna look at the verse part which, when you slow it down, is pretty easy to play deed. It's kind of that repeated deader. Did the sound easy? Yes, certainly is. So we'll do that. We'll break down the elite different points, the parts off the tune on Ben, I say some improvising But the first research you need to do what I need you to do is to go on Google the different versions of Orange Blossom Special. The really super fast ones. Mike Stevens, Body green, Charlie McCoy. Have a listen to those, and you'll just go poor confident, and then have a listen. Johnny Cash and you ago yet can be done. Andi, there are lots of versions. So do the research on it now, Please, Andi. Then we'll come back and we'll learn how to do it on the hormone ago. Okay, See? You know a bit. 3. OBS3 chords: So now we take a look at the cord part, which I think is the easiest part of the whole lot. So you can see on the screen over here. I've blocked out the the bridge. Let's go up the bridge. This is the core part. They got four chords, See f g and then see again. Now you can play all of the sea harmonica so it would sound like this. And they need an f chord. Also seek word was blow blow anywhere F court. So you're looking for help? Five and six g chord hold to draw up Theo blow again thing. But what most people do is that we use on F harmonica for this first block of four bars and then a C harmonica for this second block of four bars. So here's how they're playing. They'll take their fr Monica. I'm gonna use a low f here. I'm breathing in on a farm on it could be breathin. You get the corner, see? Thank you. Breathe out and you get the Corvette themed. They grab the sea harmonica, swap over and play. See how Monica breathing in G thing. Good idea. Maybe I'll just show you if I run this transcribe track here, um, again give you some idea to have to do it. We practice that. Let's do it just on the C chord. Here we go. 1234 Theo. So I'm just using the C heart. We're starting on the C chord. Let's try it again. One bit slow at 1234 Theo. Does that make a sense? Were starting to make sense, breathing out on the Seahawk on the sea. Harmonica. Breathe in on hos five and six and perhaps a bit more than that. Theo now breathing in on two and three and four on, Breathe out. Now one of the ways it's done. Johnny Cash does it like this is he'll go. Everybody else does that sort of. But it doesn't matter. Whichever you want to do is fine by me. Let's try it. The Johnny Cash Way way So they go. There's the bridge section. That's the cord part off the tune Onda. I've made this little backing track for you to play along with its not the entire song. It's a version of it, so you have something to play along with and I'll give you this transcribed file as well. If you want it, um, you'll need to transcribe is brilliant program. Um, if you want the I can't upload the trans profile. So if you would like that, then just shoot me an email. Ben Hewlett at me dot com on dykan Shove it over to you. That's it. Practice the chord section. Okay, Good luck. See? And with it. 4. OBS4 swapping harps: I think I want to drill into this heart changing thing a bit more because it's it's a bit tricky if you haven't come across it before. So here's the track. If you look on screen, let's just run this again. Actually, we'll slow it down. Slow down to, let's say, 50% to make it really easy. Now have a look here. You'll see all the cords have marked the cords. Can you see that? There. C chord f chord g chord C chord Then it repeats C F G C. So how we're gonna play that? Let's assume for the minute you've got an f sharp. So you take your f up and you draw down the bottom end to get your C chord theme. New blowed theme. You grab you see harp and draw the bottom end. Theo. Theo. So in a sense, that's the simplest way of doing it because the cords are spot on. So let's just try that again. One to do with me if you like. 1234 Theo Difficult. I need an extra pair of hands and moving the mouse as well. I'm gonna try and put these I wanted just together in one hand. Okay, let's run the track and see how we get on with it. If you've not got your sea, you're not gonna geo on F harp. Try it the other way and I'll dig down into that in a second. I'll just get this one done first. Speed it down, Speed it up. Speed it down. Now when you see Charlie McCoy doing it, he has this great flourish and it's really quite impressive thing. It's how he does it. Theo really pushes the rhythm on that third chord, Theo without banging harmonicas I've never seen in Bangor harmonica. So what do you try that? And now we'll look at how you do it. If you only have a C, you got to try and locate this F chord. So the secret is easy enough, isn't it? When you start here, that's breathing out Thief. Now we need an F chord. 1234! 12345 She could go. That's draw. Five Drew. Five draw six. Blow seven. Or just keep breathing in around the area of drawer five. Theo trying to avoid draw seven. If you can. Sequiturs breathing out thean cord is the F chord is 50 and six drop and then your G chord here, your G code starting on two drawer on your C chord. Take it down to one blow. Let's try that will run the track with that Now here we go. Way. Well, I found with that that I wanted to get more definition between the two C chords. So for the this one, I started one draw. First theme. This'll one. I've kept it further up on the theme because here, I've got another secret. Don't start that down in the booth. Okay? I think you've got that. I think I've gone on off enough about this. Okay, Have a practice. Enjoy. And the more get on with, um, the looking at the pentatonic scale. OK, in a minute. 5. OBS5 c csale: one of the things you're gonna really need for this tune is a couple of pentatonic scales. So let's start with the C scale. So if you grab you see harmonica, let's play a C major scale. I think I guess you're probably alright with that. Can you play it in? The lower register thief does involve a little bit of bending If you've not got the bending down, I've got two courses on no bending, so you might want have a look at those. Let's try from hell seven going upwards. Uh, it so the top note while the Beano to the stuff that is tricky to pitch in, and I don't use it very much, but you can You can get it right now. That's the C major scale. Now we need to extract two notes on and get the pentatonic scale. So starting on hold for ah, can you hear where I'm getting the right notes there? Oh, that's the five notes of the pentatonic scale. That's what Penta means, hasn't it? Five. Pinter tonic. Five tones. Full blow. Four draw, five Blow. That's the 1st 3 door, Amy. Now we skip one note compared to the major scale. Get the F and go to the G. She's a six blow when the next note is in the major scale as well. That's the six. Draw the A skip the next note. That's the be seven drawer and go to seven blow, Theo. So that's the thing to practice major pentatonic. You can play it in the lower octave as well. Theo, in the higher active Ah, uh, So that's the thing for you to practice. Take that away. Practice it now. This will serve you well for learning this tune. Thank you. 6. OBS6 G scale: Now we do the same thing with the G scale. So the Jews scale that we have on here without adding extra notes is a G mix led in the mode of ghee mixed Lydian Andi It starts on to draw, so hopefully should be up to play. That does involve a little bit of ending. If you can't play that, then started on hole six blow. Uh, that should be perfectly possible to play. So now we need to convert that into the G major pentatonic for use with this tune and lots of other things. So let's start on the six booth on again. We miss out the same Same idea is with the C scale. 1st 3 notes door. Amy Mr. Next one out. Uh, next one, Mr. Next one out. Play the next one. Uh uh uh. On You can really hear when you get it wrong. Like I just did. Ah, Theo, that's the whole too active pentatonic. Ah, Theo. You can extend it further down the harmonic and further up. For the moment, nothing battle that'll do us. So learn the G major scale and the G major or the G mixed load. Ian mode. Andi, the G pentatonic on that will serve you well for this tune and lost both things. Okay? In a minute. 7. OBS7 phrase 1: Okay. I think it's time to crack on with the tune now. So grab. You see harmonica, find whole four. Let's play our first phrase That's all it is repeated and let tag on the end Full blow, Four drawl My blow. Six blow. Why do you just play that with me now, huh? Just that little phrase. Why don't we do it over and over, and then you can just do it with me. Here we go. Really go. Now, the next phrase is another four notes start. Uh, you kind of going up the hill and down the hill and they tie in together so you can loop the whole thing around. Here is the second phrase six draw. Six blow for five hours. Four drawer. Oh, are you ready to put it together? Yes, I hear you say That's it. That's the first phrase. Pretty much. Let's pay twice. How's that? Let's do it three times and then we'll add on the end of it. Five drawer, four drawer. Here we go. There was an extra five blow at the end of their Watson there instead of the four drawer bomb bomb bomb. And that's the tag which takes you into phrase too. So I think spend quite a bit of time practicing that and see if you can speed it up and you'll find that gradually becomes possible to get some speed. Theo? Uh, Theo, start slowly by riding bicycles knit. They start slowly. Okay. Good luck with that. And then we'll get on with an X rays in a wee bit. Okay. Thank you. 8. OBS8 phrase 2: So now we get onto phrase to we've had. Now we have back into Don't worry, we'll get there his phrase. ST Stop Some blow. 66 draw seven. Blow seven draw. 877 Draw six. Repeat. Uh, uh uh uh uh. Andi, keep practicing that until you can get some reasonable speed. Don't play it fast right now. Just get some reasonable speed. And then we have this link, which takes us back into the first drift. Ah, so this whole six blow blow drawer blow, uh, and then hold five. Draw blood. Rob Lowe, four drawer. Putting that together. Uh, okay. How's that hood? Yeah, There's a bit of a challenge, isn't it? But slow it down. Do it slower than I'm doing it, if you like, slow it right down, dude. At the speed, you can do it at on. That will be the right speed for you. Practice that the more you do it, the best you get at it. That's what I've found. Anyway, I found I'm able to play it reasonably fast now, when I first started, I was dreadfully slow. Uh, I've been playing along with the Charlie McCoy version on the body green version and trying to Can I get to their speed? Well, nearly nearly, Aiken. Certainly do the Johnny cash version. So play along with those. That's my advice. Play along with those things. Okay, Scene of it. 9. OBS9 alt: Now there are countless different ways of playing this. It's just immensely amounted from ways. If you listen to some of the fiddle bands playing this or James last even, um, all kind of ways, but there's one I've noticed. That's just a tiny alternative that Charlie McCoy uses. So with the second phrase right, the first place, normally he would play a zai have told me before. But here's an alternative. It's only a very subtle change. You just go down on the fourth note, you go down to hold four. Blow again instead of going to six blow eyes. Normally does it. And this is the alternative. Bob Bob Bomb. Drop it back down to four, draw for blow on. Then you've got this big jump from four blow to six drawer. She's in the previous phrase. You wanna try with me? - So sometimes I put that in on maybe the second chorus just to make some variety. I think we ought to play through the whole thing, don't you? Are you ready for that? Let's do that. In the next lecture 10. OBS10 phrase 5: But just before we do that, I realized that's one more phrase I've forgotten to show you, which is the at the end off phrase, too. We have this link which runs down into the bridge. So let's have a look at that. Now sits seven. Blow a draw back to some blow. Seven drawer six draw. Just run that round a couple of times. Uh, uh huh uh uh uh. On the next phrase deed, uh, six Blow, uh, six drawer blow for blow. That's altogether six. Blow. Well, time, Theo. Last phrase. Ford draws three times. Six blow, five drawer, blow for drawer blow eyes. What? It sounds like that last bit with four. Draw again, Theo. So the whole of that phrase. Starting seven. Blow on. Then that leads to a draw cord. And then there's a falling phrase on a blow cord and that leads us into the bridge. That makes sense. It will do later. More. You listen to this, the more it will make sense. Okay? Seen with it. Thank you. 11. OBS11 slow play thru: Well, I think it's time to play through the whole piece now. So I'm gonna do this with you. Look at the screen. You'll see where we're going to start by the beginning of the peace. And I'm gonna do the 70 beats per beats per minute. Normally, Charlie would do it. It's probably 300 so it's quite a lot slower. But this is the way to start, isn't it? You're going to get a point by point point and then you're in. So get help already. Let's go, Theo Way. I think it's now way. - Theo . Okay. That was a nice slow version. Do you want to try A bit faster? We have another go in the next lecture. Okay, See you then. 12. OBS12 med playthru: Hi there. Welcome back. So how did you get on with the slow play through? Good. I hope this one's to me that we've it faster. That's lost almost 50. This is 110. So let's have another go, shall we? Are you ready? Grab. You see, Huh? Theo again. Four beats in on. Let's go, Theo. Way. - You're legis. I improvise a little bit at the end. Okay. Good luck with that one. Andi, do you want any faster? So we do one more bit faster. All right. Next lecture. Stick with it. 13. OBS13 fast playthru: Okay, This is gonna be as fast as we get. This is 100 to 200 beats per minute, which is pretty darn fast. It's nothing like the speed that Charlie and buddy guy play it. But then we're not there more ways, so let's try it. Here we go. Are you ready? Things. Time you're gonna get Thank Tink! Tink! Tink! Tink! Tink! Tink! Tink! Furry little Good luck. Good luck to me as well. Way, way, Way we go. We made it to under it again. Come on. I know you want to way. - Way . Okay. Very nice. Now going. Have a lie down.