- 1Baby What You Want Me To Do (Jimmy Reed)1:34
- 2Country Lick (Ronnie Shellist)2:55
- 3Starlight Terrace Cinemas 60:26
- 4TB Swing Groove1:49
- 5TB Swing Groove II0:45
- 6TB Swing Groove III3:08
- 7“Ghetto” (Corina&Chibi Blanchet)1:41
- 8TB Swing Groove IV1:36
- 9TB/LP (Tongue Bluck/Lip Purse) Lick1:17
- 10TB Groovy-Groove3:36
- 11Death Letter-ish Groove0:37
- 12White Stripe-Ish Lick1:21
- 13TB (Sonny Terry-ish) Groove1:00
- 14Banks Of The Ohio0:50
- 15Harp Ideas II0:45
- 16Harp Ideas3:27
- 17TB/TS (Tongue Block/Tongue Split) Blues0:58
- 18(Double Stops) Amazing Grace1:14
- 19Amazing Grace Version II0:47
- 20Jump Groove Ideas (Walter Terry Ish)0:43
- 21Tongue Slap Rhythm Practice1:33
- 22Felton Ln 201:54
- 23In A Place Called Buffalo City (Chibi Blanchet)1:41
- 24Come On Home In My Kitchen (Robert Johnsonish)3:41
- 25Jump Blues (Jive)2:07
- 26Come On In My Kitchen II (B)1:54
- 271st Pos. TB. Ex.1:04
- 281st Pos. Groove1:47
- 29Come On In My Kitchen III0:57
- 303rd Pos. Ex.2:05
- 313rd Pos. Minor Blues1:07
- 32Death Letter Blues (Bonny B.)1:45
- 33John Hardy (Howard Levy)1:01
- 34Main Lick (Death Letter Blues)0:16
- 35Harp Backing (Death Letter Blues)1:27
- 36Death Letter (Sonny Terry-ish)0:55
- 37Harp Amazing Grace Harmonica Study5:01
- 38Walking Bass Harp0:37
- 39(Playing With Lou) Cabrillo Ave 3.4:21
- 40(Playing With Lou) Cabrillo Ave 4.4:22
- 41Harp (Playing With Lou) Cabrillo Ave 51:18
- 42RAW PRAXIS: Pentatonic Lick0:57
- 43RAW PRAXIS: Major Scale Practice Harp B11:50
- 44RAW PRAXIS:3rd Position (Jason Ricci)17:38
- 45RAW PRAXIS:3rd Position For Real D Min11:01
- 46RAW PRAXIS: Moon River Harmonica11:52
- 47RAW PRAXIS: Blues Harmonica Fast Lick6:05
- 48RAW PRAXIS:Jason Ricci Adam Gusso Inspired Licks8:05
- 49RAW PRAXIS: Little Walter Licks And Study18:03
- 50RAW PRAXIS:Amazing Grace Harp Practice6:01
- 51RAW PRAXIS: OB (Over-Blow) Progress Let's Get 4!4:30
- 52RAW PRAXIS: Sweet Home Chicago Bb10:04
- 53RAW PRAXIS:Talking Slowly (Adam Gussow)4:30
- 54RAW PRAXIS: Vamp Technique (Adam Gussow)0:11
- 55RAW PRAXIS: Own It (Adam Gussow)7:01
- 56RAW PRAXIS: Ta Ta Lost (Adam Gussow)0:26
- 57RAW PRAXIS: Fast Lick Slow1:29
- 58RAW PRAXIS Harp Practice (Ronnie Shellist)18:54
This is a collection of recordings I have that chronicle Gods leading me into “finding my footing” in the act of playing the harmonica-along with the many influences and concepts I was granted to put into practice (PRAXIS) along the way. These recordings were taken from April 24,2017-January 27,2022 God bless you. Hope this helps you on your musical journey.Enjoy.
CONTEXT: (Basically…a Blog.)
I’m not exactly sure, when I started playing harmonica, but I can speculate…
I remember when I was about eleven or twelve I saw a tv show named “Drake & Josh”.
In it the brothers referenced a film called, “The Blues Brothers”.
I thought the performance the Drake and Josh gave while dressed up in black hats, black sunglasses, black ties, black shoes, black hats, black pants and white shirts was so cool I thought It’d be fitting to check the real soul men out (even though they were in fact, a cover band…God bless ‘em). What I didn’t know then, was that as I listened to them from my CD player (audio components that housed these round discs that held musical information-I know it’s crazy magic!) and watched their film, I was being exposed to some real genuine rhythm & blues music (straight no chaser-cover band. Didn’t know what that was at the time). I got so into them I even traded my grandpas old school fedora for a cheap black one like theirs (an imitation I might add-a regrettable mistake in hind-sight).
Anyway, one of The Blues Brothers, “Elwood”, played harmonica and sang backup, sometimes taking lead (“Rubber Buiscuit!”). When I was in the fifth grade, there was a little talent show that my friend Kris and I decided to participate in, performing one of their tunes! He was “Jake” and I was “Elwood”. He sang, we danced and I sported a fake-black-plastic harmonica (that didn’t work and sounded like a donkey was giving birth if you tried to make it try) that a student listening to the performance was not shy at all to exclaim,” look he’s faking!” as the backing track played behind us…
Of course I was.
I didn’t know how to play harmonica…yet. They could of at least appreciated the rehearsed dance steps.
Fast forward a couple years or so, a buddy of mine was real into folk music and I think he was trying harp out one day on his balcony with I.
If I remember correctly, he didn’t take an interest to it too well, but he could play it fair enough (I mean it sounded musical. Still remember his tune to this day…maybe). I think this sparked an interest enough in me to purchase one-a Chinese made “Swan” Harp that was included with a Harmonica how to book placed at the entrance of a local Barnes & Nobles. I can’t recall much of what the book said except what it showed; being a diagram of how to hold the harmonica properly: “Left Handed”. I disregarded that (for a long time).
It wasn’t too long after this time, that my late grandmother, (God rest her soul-she would sit in her rocking chair and ask me to play for her before I’d go out busking-still got that rockin’ chair.) decided to purchase me some serious harps (tongue in cheek), a Hohner Big River Harp (key of A), and a briefcase of Hohner (plastic) Piedmont harps-all twelve keys! I didn’t care that they were plastic (at the time really…). I had every key and was stoked to have that “A” harp most of all (ok maybe I cared a little). Thanks grandma:)
One time I got lost (purposely) on a family trip to Goleta, CA, (a coastal college town some part of Santa Barbara) I picked a street, then flew straight down on my cruiser till I hit an Air Force base, and near there I found a wooden bridge that crossed over a small body of water. Birds sang, the sun glistened over the languidly dancing waters and I figured it’d be a great time to whip out my harp and make some bird sounds; trying to mimic the winged creatures and enjoy my moment there because I knew once I left it’d be gone forever-and it was.
Around that time I remember carrying harmonicas on my person regularly; collecting more keys as I grew out of the plastic ones (think I gave em away actually).
My harp playing really started blossoming once I began learning (and teaching) with a friend of mine, I called him “Wild”. We (my old band and I ) called him that because we all had nick names. It all started because we had two Aaron’s in the band, so we had to differentiate between the “Aaron’s“ in the group. We settled on ”Sticks” for our drummer & “Aros Con Pollo” for the bass player. Names like that.
The reason why the rest of us justified alias’s as well, was because I figured it’d be best to keep or stage personas separate from who we were outside the band (so as to keep us humble-from big heads and swollen ego’s…that didn’t work too much), so there we were, “Wild” on harmonica, “Valentine” on guitar, “Sticks” on drums, “Aros Con Pollo” on bass, and I, “Tramp” on guitar and vocals, but later sometimes harmonica.
Once people left the group n’ such I started to incorporate the harmonica (tin sandwich) into more tunes of mine that we’d perform as a band; most notably “Papa B.” (Song about my dad that I may get into detail on a later date-Lord willin’), our cover of “St. James Infirmary”, “Big Boys Back in Town” and the latest (, but one of the earliest written) “Wild Man” (in which all of these tunes can be heard and purchased here on Reward Music-shameless plug).
It wasn’t until my band finally split up that I really started to play more harmonica then (Mississippi Saxophone) -No more sessions in the highschool bathrooms (they did have great acoustics in there) or just playin’ whenever I had a choice scenic opportunity. Once I got picked up by a group to play harmonica as a “Harmonica Player”, I had a lot to learn, and I had to learn fast.
At this time (round 2017), YouTube was pretty new to me.
I had books on harmonica (better books than before),even had a few students here and there, but if it hadn’t been by The Grace of God through YouTube by way of Jason Ricci, I don’t know what I would have been doin’ (Lord bless him). I’d go to band practice, drive back home and study-learn as much as I could (some of those embarrassing recordings are here for you as subscribers so…have fun, but not too much).
Inevitably I didn’t cut it with the group. I just wasn’t good enough yet (, but in all honesty, I really just didn’t know what they wanted and needed some more experience in third position and tongue blocking-coulda been a style thing too) but, I kept up my harp playing (tin sandwich) and noticed something changed.
I remember sitting in my room, looking at my closet door with old harmonica booklets nailed to it (my old producers dad gave me those, some harmonicas-even a chromatic. I still owe him an IOU) I prayed, “Lord, what significance does harmonica have in my life?”, somethin’ like that, probably less articulate.
I was teaching around this time and I had noticed I wasn’t getting as many guitar students, so I began to open horizons in teaching alternate subjects, one being harmonica (harp, like I said previously). Now, as more students came in, the more I had to study to show myself approved for the job. Year after year I noticed I was teaching more harmonica then any other subject. Pretty soon, I was playing more harmonica than guitar and almost more than I sang (not quite though, singing is built into the human body, harmonica is like holding our vocal chords in our hands; our hands being like our larynx’s-gross, but much more natural to us ya know?) and as every year passed by, I noticed I was getting better.
This time it wasn’t a me thing (with guitar or songwriting before-kinda) or some kinda weird voodoo spiritual self seeking trip, it was all God, His Grace, using His creatures; helping them in turn helping me…and what’s wild about it…I still don’t really see myself as a harmonica player-well, I don’t really see myself much as anything anymore except a follower of The King (second person of The Trinity; Father, Son & Holy Spirit-Jesus Christ), a sinner saved by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Him alone.
Yeah I do, see myself as an artist to some extent (we all are, wether we like it or not. We are made after “THE Artist-duh”), a musician, sensei, but most importantly as a servant, a tool-or like N.D. Wilson says, “a lunch lady, makin’ food”.
I didn’t plan on playing harmonica, maybe neither did you, but here you are reading this, potentially with one in your hand on your desk, or if you listened to Junior Wells, in your pocket. What are you gonna do with it? I’m fond of saying that David had a harp with ten strings, and we have a harp with ten holes-play it. Enjoy the gift that it is and praise God with it-Love Him with all your heart,soul, mind and strength; love your neighbor as yourself, by the will of God The Father, through the work of The Son, applied by The working of The Holy Spirit. May you know The Only and Living True Triune God through repentance of your sins and through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ and may you truly enjoy His Sound. (Psalm 149-150)
God Bless you!
Soli Deo Gloria
1. Baby What You Want Me to Do (Jimmy Reed) 2. Country Lick (Ronnie Shellist)
3. Starlight Terrace Cinemas 6 (At the Movies)
4. Tongue Block Swing Groove
5. TB Swing Groove II
6. TB Sing Groove III. 7.Ghetto (change number order after)
8. TB Swing Groove IV 9.TB/LP Lick
10. TB Groovy Groove
11. Death Letterish Groove (Son House)
12. White Stripes Lick (Son House)
13.TB Sonny Terry-ish Groove
14. Banks of The Ohio
15. Harp Ideas II
16. Harp Ideas
17. TB/TS Blues (Tongue Splits)
18. Double Stops (Amazing Grace)
19. Amazing Grace Version II
20. Jump Groove Ideas 21. Tongue Slap Rhythm Practice
22. Felton Ln.20
23. In a Place Called Buffalo City (Chibi)
24. Come on in My Kitchen
25. Jump Blues (Jive) 26. Come on in My Kitchen II
27. 1st Position TB Exercise
28. 1st. Position Groove 29. Come on in My Kitchen III
30. 3rd Pos. Exercise
31. 3rd Position Minor Blues
32. Death Blues (Bonny B.)
33. John Hardy (Howard Levy)
35. Backing (Death Letter Blues)
36.Death Letter (Sonny Terry Like)
37. Amazing Grace Harmonica Study
38. Walking Bass Harp 39. Cabrillo Ave. 3
40. Cabrillo Ave 4
41. Cabrillo Ave 5.
42. Pentatonic Harp Lick
43. Major Scale Harp Practice Harp B
44. 3rd Position
45. 3rd Position for Real
46. Moon River Harmonica
47. Blues Harmonica Fast Lick
48. Jason Ricci Adam Gussow Inspired Lick
49. Little Walter Study
50. Amazing Grace (Harp Practice)
51. Over-Blow Practice (Let’s Get 4!)
52. Sweet Home Chicago (Over-Blow Exercise)
53. Talking Slowly
54. Vamp Technique
55. Own It
57. Fast Lick Slow
58. )Ronnie Shellist Practice