Re: mic&amp

>   I am a
> >> blues player exclusively and I'll say I am trying to get the fantastic
> >> tone that Big Walter had. 
> >
> >While not by any means a "strictly blues" player, I do appreciate Little
> >Walters incredible sound.  But there's a lot more to his sound than
> >equipment.  Listen to some of his acoustic stuff.  He still had a killer
> >sound and excellent technique. 
> >
> Mike, I said Big Walter, but who wouldn't want to sound like Little Walter?

oops!  So much for speed reading ....

Big Walter did have a unique sound, and incredible technique.  His 
recording of "Easy" really shows this off.

Big Walter, while recognized as one of the top harp players, still 
doesn't get the recognition he deserves.  Too many of his recordings are 
with bad musicians and material.  Little Walter insisted on using the top 
people, which I'm sure helped him become established as a great harmonica 
player.  (Of course, BEING a great harp player helps a little, too :-)

Big Walter Hortons trills are nothing short of incredible.  He's also 
one of the more dynamic players - notice the wild swings of intensity and 
volume in "Easy".  (Of course, the recording is volume compressed, but 
you can still hear the tonal variances from the differing volumes.)

BTW, both Big Walter and I use the same trill technique - the head 
shake.  I understand this is where he got his nickname "Big Shakey".  I 
play in a rack, and don't have a choice - but it's hard for me to do it 
the other way handheld after all these years...

Big Walters BIG, FAT diaphragm vibrato is great, too.  This is one other 
technique I really like to use.  With a big vibrato, you can play one 
note for 8 or 10 bars, using subtle tongue variations to get some 
interesting (and exciting) nuances.  Audiences _love_ it!

Also, while we're on diaphragm vibrato, I'm sure this is why Horton had 
such a nice "tone".  I've never heard a good tone in the absence of a 
good throat and/or diaphragm vibrato - and I honestly don't think it's 

Just in case someone might be wondering the easiest way to develop 
vibrato, when you're drawing on the low notes, use the botton part of 
your chest (where your solar plexus is - and if you don't know where that 
is, you've obviously never been in a football game 8*>< - it's your 
bodys way of letting you know how bad things _could_ be) to vary the 
suction to the harmonica.  Try it slowly at first, and open up the inside 
of your mouth and windpipe.  you'll find a "spot" where it will affect 
the sound.  Keep working on that until your mouth falls off.  I think the 
easiest notes are 2 draw and 3 draw, but try all 6 lower draw notes.

 -- mike curtis

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