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asgussow, USA, Member since 04/09/2007


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(ID 3268319)
ADVANCED INTERMEDIATE / INTERMEDIATE. A long and detailed video tutorial focused on the head and two-chorus solo that Junior Wells plays in one of the most celebrated recordings in the blues harmonica repertoire: "Messin' With the Kid," from the HOODOO MAN BLUES album of the mid-1960s. Transcribed and hosted by Adam Gussow of Satan and Adam.

Although he's obviously revered as a Chicago blues master, Junior Wells often slips just below the radar when harp players invoke their list of influences. That's too bad, because a close study of his harp work on this particular track makes clear just what an original and challenging harp voice he actually had. This tutorial will help you get a handle on various touchstones of Wells's style: carefully sculpted and vibratoed blue notes, a range of coughs and cut-off notes that contribute materially to his instrumental power, and an uncanny ability to use the space BETWEEN note clusters as a way of sculpting a blues statement.

Technical challenges include everything just described, plus some fast sixteenth-note runs that will require most players to slow the track by 20 percent, as Gussow does in this lesson.

Harp key: F

Note: a 3-page PDF tab for this lesson is also available.

Running time: 44:21 (long!)

Another Modern Blues Harmonica production (

  • messin with the kid harmonica instruction

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