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Some Famous Blues Harmonica Artists




1. Little Walter (1930 – 1968):


Little Walter Harmonica

He created the Chicago style by amplifying the sound of a harmonica. He could make the sound seem coming from a high-pitched saxophone, the melody he created was an endless inspiration for many blues harmonica player later on. In a short biographical note, Little Walter was described as “the first musician of any kind to purposely use electronic distortion.”

2. Sonny Boy Williamson I (1914 – 1948):


Sonny Boy I Stage

Williamson’s harmonica style had a great influence on post-war performers. Later in his career, he was a mentor to many up-and-coming blues musicians who moved to Chicago, including Muddy Waters. He is often regarded as the pioneer of the blues harp as a solo instrument.

3. Sonny Boy Williamson II (1908 – 1965):


Sonny Boy 2

He was an early and influential blues harp stylist who recorded successfully in the 1950s and 1960s. Miller used various names, including Rice Miller and Little Boy Blue. Then, he called himself Sonny Boy Williamson; however, it was also the name of a popular Chicago blues singer and harmonica player. Hence, Miller has been referred to as Sonny Boy Williamson II to distinguish the two. He also played electric blues like Little Walter, while Sonny Williamson I plays acoustic blues.

4. Jimmy Reed (1925 – 1976):


Jimmy Reed Vee Jay Photo Retouch 1

He has been the master of the art “the simpler the more effective”. With a pleading voice and a unique style, Jimmy became one of the most famous blues artists.

5. Big Walter Horton (1917 – 1981):


Big Walter

He is remembered as one of the premier harmonica players in the history of blues, as well as the first artists to play Electric Blues.

He also played the amplified Chicago-style harmonica, which has become one of the unique characteristics of Chicago blues. Unlike Little Walter, he was recognizable with walking the bass line or deep tones that stood out above all other players. He used many techniques such as tongue blocking. Moreover, his style had the traditional factor in the Memphis area more than Little Walter’s and it was less adventurous with jazz, besides.

Source: Wikipedia, last.fm, harmonica.com


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