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Do you know who the best harmonica players of all time are?
Are you a fan of the harmonica or trying to learn the instrument yourself?
The sounds of a harmonica can be awful or they can be beautiful. It all depends on the user. Many people have had their hands on a harmonica at one time or another, but not everyone has the technique to play it well. Once mastered, however, beautiful and emotive music can come from the instrument that can blow an audience away.
Whether you’re ready to buy a harmonica and get serious about learning the instrument yourself or if you’re just a fan of the instrument, you need to be listening to the greats.
Here’s our list of the 5 best harmonica players of all time, in no particular order.
1. Little Walter
“Little Walter”, (Marion Walter Jacobs) was born during the boom of blues and jazz and many consider him to be one of the greatest players of all time.
He quit school at the age of 12 and went on the road working, and playing alongside some famous older blues players. He was the original player to cup the harmonic and microphone, so you could hear the harmonica playing. Sadly, he died at an early age.
Little Walter is the only person to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as a harmonica player. If anyone should carry the label of being the best blues harmonica player of all time, it may just be Little Walter.
2. Magic Dick
“Magic Dick”, also known as Dick Salwicz. He started playing the harmonica at nine years of age, perfecting his art as he grew up.
While attending college, he met J. Geils. They started their own band, which became famous. The player is known for his hits like, “Whammer Jammer”, The “Hancock” theme song, and more. Magic Dick has had a pretty long career and is still going strong today.
It’s hard to beat the harmonica sounds that Magic Dick was able to create during his music career. If you need some inspiration for your own harmonica playing, Magic Dick’s music is a great place to start looking.
3. Kim Wilson
Kim Wilson, born in 1951, is another great all-time harmonica player. As a matter of fact, Muddy Waters accredited him with being one of the greatest harmonica players to pick up the instrument since Little Walter.
Mr. Wilson was the lead vocalist and harmonica player for The Fabulous Thunderbirds. They put out such greats, as “Tuff Enuff”, and “Wrap it up”.
Wilson still continues to tour and play today, and won a Blues Music Award, for Instrumentalist in the Harmonica category. The award was well deserved, as Kim Wilson is truly one of the best blues harmonica players of all time.
4. Jason Ricci
Jason Ricci is famous for having his own flamboyant style of playing. He is has become accredited with keeping the art of harmonica playing alive and kicking.
Ricci really puts his heart and soul into the instrument while playing. It is truly a sight to see. If you ever get the chance to see him play live, by all means, go see him.
Jason Ricci and his band, New Blood, have put out hit albums, such as, “Done with the devil”, and “Rocket Number 9”.
5. Howard Levy
Howard Levy is also a master harmonica player. He is able to play many genres of music, with a harmonica, which is a difficult task.
He combines Blues, classic rock, Latin funk, country, folk, and more, into his playing. Levy has played with many different bands, all over the world, showcasing his masterpiece style of playing.
Howard Levy is another great harmonica player that you need to be listening to if you’re seriously interested in playing the harmonica yourself.
As mentioned earlier, this is just a list of five different harmonica players, who have contributed great strides in the harmonica musical industry. There are many other great players who some may say are as good or even better. This article lists just a few of the greats.
Take some time to look them all up, and listen to their great tunes. It just might inspire you to go out and buy a harmonica for yourself. Remember, it takes some time for you to be able to learn this style of music. You may even have to take lessons, then you can belt out some tunes as well.
Want to learn more interesting things about the harmonica? Click here to see 5 interesting facts about the instrument.
Hi, I’m Harrison! I created this website to help musicians navigate the ins and outs of their craft and to help them choose new instruments and gear to add to their collection. I have 15 years of experience as a guitarist and singer and have also played many other instruments throughout the years including the bass guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica.