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Junior Wells Profile
Date of birth: 12/09/1934
Musical Style: Blues
Amos Wells Blakemore Jr, known professionally as Junior Wells, was one of the leading proponents of blues harmonica from the early 1950s onwards.
Born in Memphis in 1934, Wells became a proficient player at an extremely young age, and received his first big break when he replaced Little Walter, whose amplified harp playing was a strong early influence, in Muddy Waters' band.
Two of Wells' albums entered the Billboard R&B chart and he worked with many other famous blues and rock musicians throughout the 1960s, including The Rolling Stones and Buddy Guy.
Wells' style, although influenced by other Chicago blues harpists, was generally less overdriven than some of his contemporaries, featuring his trademark staccato riffs that echo his singing style.
Interestingly, many of Wells' tunes, especially those on Hoodoo Man Blues are played in second position on a D harmonica. Some critics have suggested that this was done for economic reasons, but it's more likely that Wells preferred the pitch and easier bendability of a D harp.
Wells' choice of harmonica in later years was the Lee Oskar Major Diatonic, and he was said to have been buried with a tray of them in his coffin. Some sources suggest that Wells was a fan of the Hohner Blues Harp, and he can be seen playing these wooden comb Hohner on some footage. However, prior to the 1970s, it was likely that his main instrument would have been a Hohner Marine Band, purely due to their wide availability at the time.
Want to sound like Junior Wells? We recommend:
32 Keys availableThe Hohner Marine Band 1896 Classic harmonica is the original blues harmonica. Today it is still manufactured in much the same way as when it was first introduced in 1896. Its uniquely authentic sound has defined the role of the harmonica in the blues tradition and made it the benchmark by which all others are judged. The archetypal blues harmonica with the traditional HOHNER tuning. The Marine Band Classic is one of the few Hohner diatonics that is available in a full range of natural and harmonic minor tunings. For low tunings, we recommend the Hohner Thunderbird, which has been designed from the ground up as a low tuned harmonica, but still has similar tone and feel to the classic Marine Band. Should you wish to replace reed plates on the Marine Band Classic, we recommend upgrading to the Andrew Zajac Marine Band Conversion Kit, which replaces the stock nails with a bolted setup, and makes the process of changing reed plates significantly easier. Original cover design from 1896 ensures the classic blues sound Greatly reduced swelling behaviour through double-coated pear wood comb Reeds: 20 Brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Comb: Pearwood, brown Mouthpiece: pearwood lacquered Cover surface: Stainless steel Made in Germany Check the Key for additional tuning options: Natural Minor & Harmonic Minor ... Read more
7 Keys availableThe Hohner Blues Bender features "Patented Acoustic Covers" (PAC) for greater volume and easy note bending with its airtight plastic comb and thicker reed plates for a consistent tone. This mouth organ is ideal for anyone learning to play the Blues and those who are developing their note bending skills. Comb: ABS, black Number of hole: 10 Reeds: 20 brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: stainless steel Keys: C, D, E, F, G, A & B flat ... Read more
12 Keys availableThe brand name ”Blues Harp® “ has attained cult status in the contemporary music scene. The Hohner Blues Harp MS model features a functional design combining a wooden comb, high covers without side vents and high quality reed plates to give the instrument its typical bluesy sound, which has made it immensely popular with beginning and intermediate players alike. Every now and again, a branded article achieves such a high degree of success and widespread distribution that the brand name becomes synonymous with the generic product. This has certainly been the case with the Hohner Blues Harp®, now well into its fifth decade as one of Hohner‘s most popular diatonic model. Reeds: 20. Reed Plate: Brass, 0.9mm. Keys: C Major, Db Major, D Major, Eb Major, E Major, F Major, F# Major, G Major, Ab Major, A Major, Bb Major, B Major. Comb: Wood. Series: Modular System. Plastic snap box. ... Read more
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