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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Replicating Little Walter's "Sad Hours"
Replicating Little Walter's "Sad Hours"
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689 posts
Mar 18, 2022
3:00 PM
When working to recreate Little Walter's Sad Hours, it wasn't just about the notes or the timing, but also the tone he achieved. It sounds like he's playing through an amp at the end of the hallway.

I've always loved this one. Although it's simple and spare, I regard it as one of his finer instrumentals. It has such great atmosphere and pure, powerful playing. This one was done in distanced recording, and it took a lot of experimentation to achieve a similar sound. It's not perfect, and there are parts that I'm not altogether satisfied, but I'm overall happy with the finished result.

I hope you like it! Does anyone know about how Walter recorded this one? What equipment did he use to achieve that sound?

Marc Graci
YouTube Channel
3676 posts
Mar 19, 2022
11:45 AM
First of all, all of his harps were stock and back then, they came OOTB tuned to 7 limit just intonation. As far as gear is concerned, there's no such thing as his "go to" Mike, amp, or anything else, which too many gear heads too easily buy into. The reverb sound is an be early studio only plate reverb set at 100% fully wet and less than 5% of all the inboard or outboard reverb units are capable of that heavily saturated wetness to the sound. That kind of deep, way under the ocean reverb also darkens the heck out of the sound of any amp you play through. The ONLY reverb unit capable of getting close to this is a Premier 90 and I was able to duplicate this sound using my 1995 totally stock Fender Pro Junior with a crystal JT-30 mic with tone control turned ALL the way down, with the reverb unit volume control barely on and the intensity set at 1/3rd of the way up. He plays 85% of this tune VERY, VERY SOFTLY. Most people play anything he does way too hard all the time and it prevents them from being able to master his tone control and most of all his dynamics.
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
85 posts
Mar 19, 2022
6:40 PM
Firstly, I thought your tone and playing was fantastic. It really seemed to capture that Little Walter spirit, a great rendition of this tune. As far as LW getting his sound, from what I’ve read, he used whatever equipment was in the studio. You’ve also got to remember that everything, including the sound desk was tube driven and lo-fi, and I’m sure that would impart its own effect on the recording.
1153 posts
Mar 20, 2022
7:24 AM
I tried to do the same exact thing!
Another song, but the goal was the same.
This is what I recorded with a friend:

We also recorded on line (during 2020 lockdown) I think that you need to play it more relaxed, but the notes are there.
Also, if I was in your shoes, I would add more reverb to the entire mix. So it sounds more like a band in a room.
Sorry for any misspell, english is not my first language.
691 posts
Mar 20, 2022
9:47 AM
Thanks for all the info! I was hoping you'd respond. I understand a little bit more about how to go about replicating that sound.

Thanks for listening. I appreciate the compliment. Sometimes it can be a tough and discerning crowd on here. If I got your approval, that means a lot!

Ah, Blue Midnight! That's another classic. It sounds great, so cool.
Marc Graci
YouTube Channel

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