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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Will Wilde playing "Freebird" solo, note for note
Will Wilde playing "Freebird" solo, note for note
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638 posts
Jul 31, 2020
10:20 AM
This is some amazing playing.

Marc Graci
YouTube Channel
16 posts
Jul 31, 2020
1:29 PM
2310 posts
Jul 31, 2020
4:32 PM
Too bad he had to open his video with the White Supremacist flag. Even Skynyrd quit using that.

...and now he replaced it with the Stars and Stripes; good for him for listening.

Last Edited by timeistight on Aug 01, 2020 7:22 AM
551 posts
Aug 01, 2020
3:35 AM
Coolest thing I've heard in a VERY long time!
Ron Marr Custom Wood Carving
1719 posts
Aug 01, 2020
6:15 AM
I've been playing that some lately, great to hear it! Very well done!
104 posts
Aug 01, 2020
6:23 AM
Amazing !
231 posts
Aug 01, 2020
7:01 AM
I don’t like Skynard but I enjoy Wilde’s playing. He’s all in on the harmonica as an electric guitar and it’s a refreshing take. Would love to hear him do an SRV song.
2157 posts
Aug 01, 2020
8:07 AM
He is a really good rock harp player and this is a great demonstration of the use of harp for guitar-like lead playing.

I would prefer hearing him use his skill to improvise original solos instead of note for note copying of cover guitar solos. However, this cover says a lot about his skill level.

Doug S.
ted burke
884 posts
Aug 01, 2020
11:13 AM
I admire Will Wilde's considerable skills on the harmonica; superb technique, equally superb sense of hard rock dynamics, and very tasty use of his quicksilver speed. And I admire the skill and determination it took to nail down the entire guitar solo from Free Bird. The problem isn't the execution, which is near flawless,but with the song. Free Bird remains Free Bird no matter how its wrapped up , a pretentious, tedious, repetitious , overplayed tune that only has accelerating momentum going for it. I was impressed for about two minutes and then grew restless, realizing that I knew exactly where this instrumental excercise was going, phrase by phrase, lick by lick, and was depressed that Wilde, a masterful and quick witted soloist, was constrained from playing more interesting lines by his avowed dedication to play this tune note for note. A waste of talent.I'd be more interested in what he would do with a greater tune, a master piece, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, which is melodically and rhythmically more sophisticated, and which would allow him some room to move about and create something fresh.
252 posts
Aug 01, 2020
11:43 AM
Very impressive. I enjoyed that a lot.

Jim McBride
Bottle 'O Blues microphones
602 posts
Aug 01, 2020
6:23 PM
Not a big Will Wilde fan. He is a very good player.I met him on a blues cruise, he's personality wasn't my cup of tea. I won't get into it.

His playing on freebird was undeniably hot. I have a will wilde tuned in A. gonna detune or find a backtrack in E, to see how well the harp works.

Last Edited by snowman on Aug 01, 2020 6:35 PM
944 posts
Aug 03, 2020
4:16 PM
A kind of related question: I know Will plays his "Wilde Tuned" harmonicas. I'm not a professional, and have never tried going between two tunings. How many people here can play a ten hole harp with different tunings? How many have tried and failed? thanks
2870 posts
Aug 03, 2020
5:46 PM
Well, there's me.
I just exchanged emails with Pat Missin, turns out he is using a variation of the tuning I am currently on about. He says it's a Brendan tuning . . . big surprise there.
So the newest iteration (and I haven't put one together yet) is Melody Maker but changes to Power Chromatic on top.
To quote him:
Probably my most used tuning after standard major
> and natural minor is this one:
> C E A C E G A C E G
> 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
> D G B D F# A B D F# A
2876 posts
Aug 05, 2020
9:21 AM
I am back to try to pull the thread back on topic.
Will is able to pull off his performance as a result of his familiarity with this tuning.
No custom tuning will magically solve all your problems, you have to study the instrument.
Will does an admirable job here, it is obviously the right tuning for the rock style he is channeling.
But I dare say that just handing a harmonica tuned like that to, oh, say, a Mooncat, would get you the same results.

Edit—I recently chatted online with Bill Barrett, and he made the same observation, that people seem to think that just changing to bebop tuning will enable you to sound like him.
I use that tuning, and can personally vouch for the fact that there is more to it than that.

Last Edited by Gnarly on Aug 05, 2020 9:24 AM
603 posts
Aug 05, 2020
9:44 AM
I think in general most players don't use them. Sometimes out of being traditional. Many times, its viewed as cheating.

As far as natural minor harps go, u should still learn 3rd pos on richter. However the "nat tuned' allows u to play a minor blues song in 2nd pos, using same licks u do on a major blues song, using a richter tuned.

I have been playing with a rack in bars for about 38 years- Im old.

I tried a "nat tuned" on "thrill is gone" -I do it in Cm. Chords Cm Fm turn Ab to G turn. 3rd pos was ok, but an "Fnat minor" allowed me to play like a normal blues song. The licks were in the same place, but Ididn't have to worry about hitting the major 3rd.

Pt being "nat minor tuned" [on a rack anyway]-allowed me to play fast, on the rack and not have to avoid 3 or 7 draw.
Because of "rack" I want the notes to be there and not worry about a perfect bend.

I use nat minor on probably 20-30 songs
I now use melody maker on 3-5 songs I think "georgia" is one, have to check.

It took about 2-3 monthes switching from richter to nat minor To get comfortable with change.

Now I can go from Richter, to nat minor, to mel maker, 3rd pos and to 64 hole chromatic and adjust in seconds. Not only adjust -but I can hear the differance in my head.

If u go from richter, to a chromatic and give up on chromatic cause the note layout is different, then you limiting yourself.

I believe in learning as much as possible. most players try a different tune, struggle a little and give up. Its humbling, humbling is good. It keeps u moving forward.

I bought a "will Wilde tuned" in in C. Im going to humble myself on this song. Ps I won't give up just because I have to adjust to the tuning.
As I said, not a big fan of Will.
However, He rips this song and he's very use to this tuning and normal richter. He's excellant on both.

Not for or aginst altered----But Iam for "learning everything possible"

Last Edited by snowman on Aug 05, 2020 9:49 AM
192 posts
Aug 06, 2020
5:45 AM
There is a lot to be said here for what we refer to as "muscle memory." The more you practice on any given instrument, in any key and in any tuning, the more quickly you'll be able to make the instant adjustment.Your brain is the most phenomenal instrument of all. It will allow you to play along to a song you've never heard before without missing a note or a beat. You'll even be able to anticipate the upcoming pattern based on what you've already become familiar with. If all you play is 12 bar blues, alternate tunings may not even be on your horizon, but when you explore other genres, the game changes. Like, if you get into jazz, you might want to start learning chrom...an E-natm tuning I've found useful for some Neil Young songs and even Metallica. Show tunes can challenge your skills as well...I use a low Db in first for "Music Of The Night" from Phantom. That one takes a lot of breath control especially at the end with an extended note that changes to an overblow and back. Try to play with Charlie McCoy and you'll be scratching your head until you learn his choice of tuning. Or try some Irish tunes with Brendan and you'll see the reason why he is so focused on alternates. It's no different with guitar...some guys use a capo, purists may choose not to. (Especially if they have the fingers for it.) Some tune down a half-step, etc. I played with a group of friends one night who changed the tuning of a couple of strings on their axes to play a Timberlake song in F# instead of the G he recorded it in. If you get into playing middle-eastern music, you might want to experiment with harmonic minor tuning. And if you want to rock out with Will, his tuning could be the way to go. But no matter what style of playing you choose, there is no substitute for practice. And eventually, no matter how much of a novice you were when you picked up your first harp, you'll put a smile on your face, say to yourself, "Dang, I sound awesome!" and be ready to go head to head with some of the best. (At least you'll think you can.)
2167 posts
Aug 06, 2020
7:12 AM


If you learn a song with a different harp tuning layout you will be able to play it after a little practice, even if you are not yet ready to improvise with that different tuning.

If you keep on playing songs with that tuning eventually you will find you know it and can switch back and forth to Richter, etc.

It is only difficult at the beginning. Continued use (practice!) will help you learn. Much better to pick it up and use it than to over study the layout intellectually. Knowing the note layout intellectually can help you get started, but PLAYING the layout and hearing where the notes live is the key.

Yes, muscle memory.

Doug S.
185 posts
Aug 07, 2020
6:49 AM
That's very cool by Will Wilde, and despite what could be the non-Richter tuning, what struck me from a casual listen— hearing the guitar solo transferred to harp—was that it's really a lot of finely executed flashy techniques—sure, it takes a ton of practice and a mastery of several techniques to get it all down, and is not for any sort of beginning or intermediate player...but there's a ton of draw notes next to each other and a lot of those triplet type things that sound so cool. And it just goes on and on from there! It's fast and powerful, and also shows the power of repetition in building a solo. Perhaps too much repetition for some on this one! I came away from this being less "intimidated" by that solo, somehow...it's very "Show Biz-y"...but maybe I'm deluding myself.

If you're in a working band it's important to have some of these type songs down in your toolbox. John Eddie explains here, lol:

561 posts
Aug 07, 2020
11:59 AM
Freebird came out when I was in high school, in western Pennsylvania. It was THE guitar anthem back then. I probably have not listened to the song in 30 years. This is an impressive performance by Will. He seems to have mastered playing the harp as a lead guitar. Maybe his special tuning enables that, but nevertheless, it is impressive. I really enjoyed listening to this.

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