Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) lick

This lick evaded me. Whenever I thought about it there was no Sonny Boy tape around and when there was, Sonny played it too fast. Since I only play in the car it's hard to stop and rewind or even concentrate. Finally I had a minute alone with Gary Primach and he wrote it down for me.

This is the lick in "Help Me" and other songs where Sonny boy plays a little up down and around repeated thing that sounds so neat. I've heard Cotton and others do it also.


Repeat until you turn blue


On the same page of my notebook was this good 4 note repeating lick from Sonny Boy.


The tab icons are set so that if you click (or touch) them it will play a harmonica note. All songs are set to play with a "C" harmonica in cross harp (2nd position) so the song or riff will be in the key of "G".
The exception will be the riffs where the little menu comes up and it allows you to play in first or third position or correct the key. You still will use a "C harp, but they song key will be "C" or "D" accordingly.


Buy the Book!

I cleaned up my tab for Sonny Boy's Help Me and made it into a short book. There's a Kindle version for 99 cents, and if you buy the paperback you get the Kindle free.

Playing "Help-Me" In the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II: A step by step, note for note analysis of some of Sonny Boy's Signature Riffs

I also write Science Fiction, so you can sample some of my best stories. Also available in Kindle format.

Error Message Eyes: A Programmer's Guide to the Digital Soul

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The JT30 Page Popular links

I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Learning Harp

Picking Up Blues Harp

A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

Usenet Articles

Harp Amps

I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.

Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


Harp Frequently Asked Questions