As a bit of a harp fiddler (pun intended) myself, I totally agree that if you want to sound anywhere
remotely like Little Walter or his class of harp players, you gotta overdrive a tube amp and even
overdrive your cheapo crystal microphone by cupping it close to the harp. Guys like James Cotton and
Junior Wells sometimes went for a less distorted pickup of the harp, at least back in their primes.
Walter is the be all and end all for me, one man's opinion etc. I think he was a total pioneer and
one of the first guys to understand the bridge between playing a harmonica around a campfire or in
an acoustic string band and using electronics to create a totally different, more menacing and
dominant sound appropriate for the then-new amplified blues. Cary Bell was a logical disciple and I
dig him too. I also like Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller). I'm not as enthralled by the
technical wizards that followed, although I love Mickey Rapheal's work with Willie Nelson. Most of
the younger guys today sound all alike to me so I don't pay attention. Another one man's opinion
here -- as a jazz fan and a harp fan, I don't believe the two should mix so Toots definitely doesn't
do it for me.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Steven C. Barr(x)" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 12:04 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Is The Record Shop Dead?
> 2) As a (VERY) part-time harmonicist, endeavouring to recreate as nearly as
> possible the sound of the first generation of electrically-amplified
> I will readily admit to intentionally driving my amps into the distortion
> in fact, I intentionally use low-power amps (single-ended if possible) which are
> miked into the PA...so that I can reach distortion levels without blowing the
> audience into the rear wall! This is, in fact, how I discovered the noticeable
> difference between overdriving tube amps and solid-state amps...