101 Blues riffs - learn how the harmonica superstars do it
4.5 (71 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
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101 Blues riffs - learn how the harmonica superstars do it

Improve your musical skills and increase your blues repertoire now. Knock your audience out and amaze your friends now!
4.5 (71 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,398 students enrolled
Created by Ben Hewlett
Last updated 12/2016
Price: $200
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 6 hours on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 7 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Play blues harp like the harmonica superstars. Learn amazing riffs as played by the great blues harmonica players and make them your own!
View Curriculum
  • You should be familiar with the layout of the 'C' diatonic harmonica, be able to play single notes, bend a little, play chords and do a little 'chugging'.


Do you ever feel you play the same stuff on your harmonica over and over? I've felt that at times and to get my mojo back I study other players and see what they do to see if it will work for me.

You need 101 Blues Riffs - and here they come!

This course will increase your musical vocabulary; it will teach you how to play riffs in the styles of De Ford Bailey, Sonny Terry, Little Walter, Sonnyboy Williamson 2, William Clarke, JJ Milteau, Brendan Power, Big Walter, Charlie McCoy, Charlie Musselwhite and more...

By learning these riffs you will be a much broader musician and able to impress your audience and bandmates.

Every riff is written down as harmonica tab and normal music notation on a pdf and I'll play it for you at different speeds with a click track as well on an mp3.

All you need is a 'C' diatonic harmonica and you're away!

I'll walk you through every riff in order before moving on to the next one.

If you want to free up your playing and explore the styles of some of the most successful blues harp players you've come to the right place!

Who is the target audience?
  • This harmonica course is for intermediate players who can bend notes a little but want to increase their musical library. Do you feel you always play the same thing over and over? This course will teach you top riffs in th style of famous players. It's probably not for you if you can't get single notes or if you can't yet bend notes.
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Curriculum For This Course
55 Lectures
Introduction the the course - how it all works
3 Lectures 02:22

This course teaches you 101 Blues Riffs.I know the intro lecture says only the first half is done but now I've finished it and you have all 101 riffs as originally planned.

I've taken 101 blues riffs - five Blues Riffs from many of my favourite players, and in some cases (like 'chugging') from my favourite techniques - and I've organised them in a way that will enable you to learn them easily.

Each riff is written down in harmonica tab and standard notation as well as played several times at different speeds on the attached mp3s for you to play along with.

Not only that but I will also walk you through each riff slowly and help you learn it step by step.

After taking this course will have the skills necessary to jam with your friends or at a jam session and have something interesting and musical to say as you play.

So jump in and enrol now but don't forget - there's nothing to loose - if you don't like it just ask for a refund and you don't have to do it immediately as you get lifetime access!

Preview 02:20

Download the whole book here
Five Simple Chugging Riffs
2 Lectures 15:19

Nice easy start. Here are two chugging riffs you can use in many swing rhythms - i.e. most Blues

I'll give you the whole book here as a download:


Simple 'Chugging 'riffs part 1

Three more chugging riffs using triplets, rests and dramatic gaps.

Simple 'Chugging 'riffs part 2
Five De Ford Bailey Riffs
3 Lectures 25:30

Let's take a look at the wonderful De Ford Bailey. The first riff (in this lecture) shows you his straight 'Charleston' style and his melodic playing. Note the 4draw - 6blow motif which you will see more of in upcoming lectures.

De Ford Bailey introduction

Two syncopated riffs with the first spanning the octave.

The second introduces a trill that he uses to emphasise a note.

Preview 08:39

Last two De Ford Bailey riffs - now search for his recordings and see what you can learn!

De Ford Bailey 'Muscle Shoals Blues' riffs part 2
Five Sonny Terry Riffs
3 Lectures 25:57
Sonny Terry riffs part one

Sonny Terry riffs part two

Sonny Terry riffs part three
Five Little Walter Riffs
3 Lectures 25:48
Little Walter Riffs part one - Night Train Style

Little Walter Riffs part two

Little Walter Riffs part three
Five Sonnyboy Williamson Riffs
3 Lectures 23:31
Intro to Sonnyboy Williamson Riffs

Sonnyboy Williamson Riffs part two

Five Mannish Boy Riffs
1 Lecture 09:14
Mannish Boy Riffs - same as Hoochie Coochie Man and many others
Five 'Ending' Riffs
3 Lectures 19:51
Classic endings part one

Classic endings part two

Classic endings part three
Five William Clarke Riffs
2 Lectures 14:18
William Clarke Riffs part one

William Clarke Riffs part two
Five JJ Milteau Riffs
3 Lectures 22:09
JJ Milteau Riffs part one

JJ Milteau Riffs part two

11 More Sections
About the Instructor
Ben Hewlett
4.6 Average rating
1,308 Reviews
15,922 Students
68 Courses
Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996 CTABRSM, NHL

Wow, over 15 thousand students - you could be next!!


Please note I am your HARMONICA SPECIALIST - that is my main focus.

Please see my copyright policy at the bottom of this page.

**NEW** My interest in sound and travel has also led me to do some live workshops on English conversation and pronunciation (in Vietnam) and so I am now starting to create some Udemy courses on that subject.

I always give current students a 75% discount on everything so if you take one course you are 'in my exclusive discount club' which means I will tell you every month what's new and where the discounts are.

Here's how my courses are categorised in terms of subject, purpose and content. 'Instant' courses are simple tunes; 'Learn Harmonica' is the harmonica encyclopaedia for everyone; 'Bones of the Blues', 'Get Chugging', '101 Blues Riffs', and '60 Sonny Terry Riffs' are the video taught versions of books I've written (you can google them) and the others are all about different techniques. 

I also now have a few Celtic music courses for you, and English pronunciation as well.

If you see a course you want but don't have the cash you can talk to me. If you are a student or not earning much I will support you with a lower price, but if you are doing ok you can support me - how's that?

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

*Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996

*Lousy at speelling - getting worse actually so tell me if you see a typo pleese

*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

*Accredited Diatonic Harmonica Teacher 1993 - HTAB (Harmonica Teachers Accreditation Board, supported by Lee Oskar Harmonicas, the National Harmonica League of UK and the International Harmonica Organisation).

*Ben's teaching business 'HarpsCool' is proud to be 'IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HOHNER'

'Ben Hewlett is one of the UK's most respected harmonica teachers and the UK's most prolific author on harmonica tuition. He will lead you through the ins and outs of harmonica playing through a series of short video lessons. His teaching style is confident, practiced, humorous, skillful, knowledgeable and packed with information in bite sized chunks. Ben is used to teaching all over the world at prestigious harmonica festivals and is delighted to offer his services to you.'

'You'll know Ben better as a harmonica teacher but he also studied Irish Drum - Bodhran - and tin whistle in the 1990's with the now very famous Steafan Hannigan and Marc Moggy from Renegade Rhythms. He got so into Bodhran playing he bought an expensive tuneable drum from Marc and it works better than ever to this day. Ben has played Bodhran in bands and sessions for years and even has a Senheiser bass drum microphone embedded into his drum. Check out his Bodhran teaching on Udemy'


I would recommend using 'Transcribe!' for slowing down and changing the key on my backing tracks - it's free as a trial and well worth a look in my opinion.


Join/subscribe/follow/friend my FB page to get notifications of live Facebook workshops.

I have been teaching people to play harmonica since 1996 as a full time job. I have started tens of thousands on their way to play the harmonica and I can tell you - it sure beats working!

I believe I was the first person to be a full time harmonica teacher in the UK, there are still very few of us - so there's plenty of room if you want to come and join me.

Recently I have become the Chairman of the National Harmonica League (NHL) which supports the UK harmonica players community.

Much of my time is spent writing books with Paul Lennon on how to play the harmonica, there are 20 or so with loads more in the pipeline - we have so many ideas it never stops.

I teach children near home, and with my team at HarpsCool where the team and I give 300 children weekly harmonica lessons.

My YT videos, and their success and feedback, are the reason I am teaching on Udemy; there are millions of hits on the youtube sites and thousands of subscribers. People are kind enough to say how clear the teaching is, and how it's helped them to understand aspects of harmonica playing - at last!

I run workshops at major harmonica festivals including SPAH in the US, the Bristol International Harmonica Festival in the UK, the World Harmonica Festival in Trossingen, Germany - home of Hohner, and the Harmonica Masters Workshops also in Germany.

I even use the harmonica in team building events for many international companies.

Cruise Ships have been part of my teaching life since 2002 and the combination of teaching, performing and travelling is quite a blast. Who knew teaching the harmonica would take me to the Caribbean three times, Africa, Russia, Scandinavia, and Atlantic Europe.

You will often find me performing in various venues and going to jam sessions, and I love playing with interesting groups or sitting on a number when the opportunity arises - that's one of the wonderful things about the harmonica, you can have it in your back pocket and join in with people wherever you are.

So you are in extremely competent and safe hands, so do yourself a favour and try one of my courses - in fact have a free lecture or two to suck it and see - that's a harmonica joke by the way.


Respect and thanks to all the artists for writing and performing these amazing songs that you want to learn.

The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014 (extracts)

I quote:

 "Not more than 5% of a work may be copied under this section by or on behalf of an educational establishment in any period of 12 months, and for these purposes a work, which incorporates another work is to be treated as a single work. 

Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of private study does not infringe any copyright in the work.”


Any recordings used in my courses represent less than 5% of the entire work and are already in the public domain on YouTube.

Any written transcriptions are written by me or my team to promote the work and the artist and to facilitate students who want to learn more about their music.

Any audio backing tracks are written and recorded by me or my team to promote the work and the artist and to facilitate students who want to learn more about their music.

If you are a copyright holder and feel I have used too much of your work please contact me on benhewlett@me.com or 07973284366 and I will remove whatever you feel is inapropriate without question.