Things just couldn't be the same
January 18, 2023 7:38 PM   Subscribe

"Check out this guy playing the solo from 'Free Bird.'"
"Lots of guitarists can play that."
"Yeah, but this guy, he...he plays the harmonica."
posted by Faint of Butt (20 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Gorgik at 7:46 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]

That. Is. In. Fucking. Credible.


Thanks for sharing. Absolutely AWESOME.
posted by Zumbador at 8:19 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]

🤘 FREEBIR--oh wait
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:24 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


That is all.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:26 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

Gorgik, that is precisely what I was going to comment.
posted by Comet Bug at 8:53 PM on January 18

I loved this, but then I followed a link in the suggested videos and found this highschool band playing a symphonic version of Freebird and a teenager absolutely demolishing the solo on electric violin. Just... demolishing it.

Rebecca's Freebird Solo
posted by Imperfect at 9:09 PM on January 18 [17 favorites]

Anyone who likes this needs to check out Howard Levy. He does things on harmonica that are seemingly impossible. For Example
posted by milnak at 9:46 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]

I love the big curtain reveal and smoke effects just before Rebecca starts her solo. They knew exactly what they had here and how to make the most of it.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:19 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]

Heh, Free Bird was my graduating class of 1987's theme song. Which probably tells you a lot about my high school.

Nice Post!
posted by zengargoyle at 12:56 AM on January 19

Rebecca! Holy shit!
posted by sixswitch at 3:14 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

Also, it turns out that the harmonica is much, much sexier instrument than the guitar.
posted by sixswitch at 3:19 AM on January 19

Jesus H. Christ.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:33 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

Wow. Just wow. Amazing he can breathe through that without giving himself an aneurysm.

But holy crap, Rebecca.
posted by Mchelly at 5:47 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

I'm a very amateur harmonica player and this is beyond incredible. He's using a special harmonica tuning that he developed to allow him access to a few notes that aren't available on a standard diatonic.

I watch a lot of harmonica videos on youtube and Will Wilde stands out as an incredibly precise player, even when walking through an all-time classic James Cotton performance, which seems much simpler but which requires stellar technique and musicianship. This Free Bird solo may sort of sound like Blues Travelers' John Popper's fast playing, but it's much more impressive than just quickly playing a bunch of notes together; Wilde is very precisely making large jumps around the comb at lightning speed rather than Popper's sliding around between close together holes.

One thing that makes the harmonica so difficult to appreciate (and learn how to play properly) is that almost none of the technique is visible to an outside observer. There's a ton of stuff one must do with mouth shape, tongue (here's a demonstration of tongue blocking with a training device), lips, and breathing, to achieve certain notes or rhythms or warbles. Here's an xray video of someone doing a bunch of different harmonica techniques, including a 3 draw bend. To most people it's a child's toy or just Dylan blowing in and out of a mess of holes (not to knock Dylan's music; it's perfect harmonica playing for his songs). But when you start going down the rabbit hole, it's amazing how difficult the instrument is to master; even just reliably playing an single unbent 2 draw can take people a few months to figure out.
posted by msbrauer at 6:11 AM on January 19 [19 favorites]

The sheer joy of that high school crowd's reaction to Rebecca's solo has made me well up
posted by MinPin at 6:32 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]

That guy's core muscles must be amazing to blow so hard and steady for so long.

posted by wenestvedt at 8:43 AM on January 19

What song is it you wanna hear?

posted by fogovonslack at 9:24 AM on January 19

That bird you cannot change.
posted by aiq at 9:51 AM on January 19

"Whew" indeed...
posted by jim in austin at 10:08 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

That bird you cannot change.

Is it "change"? I always thought it was "chain".
posted by Paul Slade at 2:35 PM on January 20

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