beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Chromatic blues harp?
Chromatic blues harp?
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6 posts
Feb 11, 2020
4:54 AM
Just started learning to play and am trying to learn chromatic blues harp. Any suggestions fo chromatic blues players I should listen to?

320 posts
Feb 11, 2020
5:27 AM
William Clarke comes to mind

Last Edited by Spderyak on Feb 11, 2020 5:30 AM
6484 posts
Feb 11, 2020
7:59 AM
I have been listening to Little Walter for that ‘no slide’ approach to playing in D or Eb. Mainly because my band were doing certain songs.
Also other players in that genre, like George Smith (who influenced Clarke, Piazza and others), Jr Wells, Carey Bell
Smith, and I suppose his protégés, played chromatic in keys beyond D/Eb (assuming harp in C, which is frequently not the case especially with Clarke, Pizza, Gruenling) or positions other than 3rd if you like.
112 posts
Feb 12, 2020
7:29 AM

This is from the main forum I don't know if it's any use to you.

Last Edited by knight66 on Feb 12, 2020 7:30 AM
7 posts
Feb 13, 2020
4:41 PM
Thanks to all for your replies. I’ve started to relisten to all those folks you mentioned. its been many years and I didn’t know they all werer chromatic players.
6486 posts
Feb 14, 2020
3:31 AM
Well, you know, you have to pick the songs. They’re not exclusively chromatic players by any means.
Jr Wells didn’t play too many on chromatic, nor Little Walter really. But I like the stuff Jr did.
Carey Bell in particular I think was great on his chromatic numbers.
There is quite a bit of stuff from Carey Bell.
Just thinking about recordings which feature a C Chromatic:
On the Lefty Dizz album, ain’t it nice to be loved, Carey plays chromatic on Look on Yonders Wall
On the Big Walter “with Carey Bell” album, Carey plays Chrom on the track Have Mercy
In his debut record “Carey Bell’s Blues Harp, he plays on Blue Monday At Kansas City Red’s, come on over here, sad dreams, and Rocking with A Chromatic. All those numbers are in Eb, and Carey plays a C harp with the button held in.
On the Deep Down album, he plays Jawbreaker and Must I Holler in D or D minor, on a C chromatic
On Dynasty, he plays The Gladys Shuffle, in Eb with the Button held in
On Good Luck Man, he played Hard Working Woman and Double Cross
Harp-master: second hand man, I’m Ready
Harpslinger: 85%, Its so easy to love you
Mellow Down Easy: that spot right there, so easy to love you
Second Nature: heartaches and pain, do you hear?

Big Al Blake plays chromatic onnthe Hollywood fats Band album Rock this House volume 1, on Prettiest Little thing

Billy Branch
Chicago’s young Blues generation; I need you so bad
Satisfy me: crazy mixed up world

Norton Buffalo
King of the Highway: Hoodoo Roux, shuffalo (in G), she’s driving me crazy (also in G ie second position)

Mojo Buford
Champagne & Reefer: Don’t go no further
State ofvthd Harp: mo’s stroll, jealous of my baby, come home baby

William Clarke
Blowing like hell: greasy gravy
The hard way: last Monday morning
Serious intentions: the work song
Tip of the top: tribute to george smith, chromatic jump

James Cotton
100% Cotton: burner
The blues never die: I’m Ready
High compression: 23 hours too long

Paul DeLay
Burnin’: Paul train
Delay does Chicago: beautiful bones, come on home, el train, wait
Ocean of tears: if she is
Teasin’: my eyes keep me in trouble, hold your hand, alrighty
Nice & strong: nice & strong

There are lots more by delay

Also check out Steve Guyger, Mark Hummel, Dennis Gruenling

Some of Little Walter’s chromatic Numbers:
Crazy for my baby, teenage beat, crazy mixed up world, blue and lonesome, lights out, Fast Large One, up the line

And Little Walter behind Muddy Waters played I just want to make love to you, I’m Ready, I don’t know why (Eb), Don’t go no further (Eb), diamonds at your feet (Eb)

Rod Piazza has recorded a lot on chromatic

Kim Wilson has recorded quite often on chromatic. Usually only one or 2 per album though.

Junior Wells recorded Slow Slow, calling all blues, and ten years ago. Ten years ago is on the “drinking tnt n smoking dynamite” album

George smith has recorded a lot. Not all of it is in D

Jerry Portnoy has recorded a couple on C chromatic, as did Gary Primich.

Jerry did 3rd degree on Clapton’s album From the Cradle, and Poison Kisses on his own Home Run Hitter album
Mitch Kashmar has also done some good work on the Chrom

Hopefully there’s something useful in that lot.
8 posts
Feb 15, 2020
6:48 AM
Wow! Thanks for your knowledge and research! There is no question you really love the harp.

I’ll start listening.

6492 posts
Feb 15, 2020
11:59 AM
Ken, I’ve got a cheat sheet.
Also, be a little bit wary of the info especially around Paul deLay, because some errors have been found in this work and there could be more waiting to be discovered.
It seems mostly correct however.

If you have excel, and know how to use it, you’re welcome to download a copy of my spreadsheet using the link below. I have fun with this toy sometimes.
9 posts
Feb 17, 2020
1:09 PM

Again, wow! Thanks. I don;t have Excel on the ipad but might on the desktop I appreciate your help!

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