What are your favourite blues harmonica solos? In this video I'll run through what I think are the greatest blues harp solos of all time.
(P.S. I have lessons for all of these songs. Click here for a free trial of my harmonica school)
Here's a rundown of my top 5 favourite blues harmonica solos:
NUMBER 5: Help Me (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
In at number 5 is the big fat tone of Rice Miller (aka Sonny Boy Williamson II). This solko from Help Me is rich and tasteful. Miller never overplays, using the minimum notes necessary to express the emotions he wants to. As such, it is a great example of serving the song. Dark and menacing, it contains the iconic "Sonny Boy lick" and is a wonderful study song for any aspiring blues harmonica player. Join my Online Harmonica School today to learn it!
NUMBER 4: Driftin' & Driftin' (Paul Butterfield)
My favourite solo from Butterfield, Driftin' & Driftin' is in equal parts aggressive and fragile. What I love about his playing is that it bares his soul. It's there in the way he plays with the timing, and it's there in his strong, fast and unique vibrato. He's almost begging you to listen, and you can hear all his life's pain in the notes. This track is certainly blues at its most soulful. Join my Online Harmonica School today to learn it!
NUMBER 3: Last Night (Little Walter)
I have never heard anything more mournful than Little Walter's solo in 'Last Night'. As always, he uses a huge dynamic range (and plenty of his trademark warbles) to tell this sad, sad story. What's special about this track is that the solo allows you to really feel the loss that he's singing about. For me, there's no better example of using the harmonica as a substitute for the human voice. Join my Online Harmonica School today to learn it!
NUMBER 2: Messin' with the Kid (Junior Wells)
In at number 2 is Messin' with the Kid by Junior Wells. It's a frantic and punchy solo which uses some awesome syncopation and, crucially, the gutteral noises that were a unique part of his playing. It also combines an amazing mix of high energy riffs and melodic lines. Messin' with the Kid shows Wells at his best, and reminds you why very few players can get close to sounding quite like the master himself. Join my Online Harmonica School today to learn it!
NUMBER 1: Walking By Myself (Big Walter Horton)
So here it is, my favourite blues harmonica solo of all time: Walking By Myself by Big Walter Horton. This track (recorded with Jimmy Rogers) has power, precision, balance and range. He starts with a big intro of triplets which punches you right in the face, before releasing the tension with high energy, expertly crafted phases. Halfway through, you might think he's done, but there's another 12 bars of rollercoaster-riding to go. Overall, it's an unforgettable solo that fits the song like a glove (it's the only solo I try to replicate exactly with my band). Twenty-four bars of pure blues harp perfection. Join my Online Harmonica School today to learn it!
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