Talkin' Blues: Little Walter's Exciting Up-Tempo Jump-Blues Soloing Style
The following content is related to the August 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
Last month, we saw how harmonica legend Little Walter applied his improvisational genius to slow blues. This month, we’ll see what Walter can teach guitar players about up-tempo soloing.
Walter served his musical apprenticeship in Delta roadhouses during the early Forties and intently studied the style and techniques of down-home blues harmonica masters such as John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, but he also took the instrument into new territory by emulating the jazz-tinged phrasing of jump-blues saxophonists. Jump was an offshoot of big-band swing that featured fast 12-bar boogie-woogie grooves and full horn sections, and saxophonists were the instrumental stars of the day. With his amplified harp backed by only electric guitars and drums, Walter proved that he could swing with the best of the big bands
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