Tag Archives: Review on the Seydel Harmonicas

“James Cotton blues harmonica player”

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

“James Cotton”

Here’s another great blues harmonica player that you probably have heard of before.

“James Cotton” as most harmonica players knew him, was born James Henry Cotton. Born July 1st,  1935, died March 16, 2017 at the age of 81. James Cotton was originally a drummer but is famous for his blues harmonica playing.  James Cotton first started playing with a lot of great blues artists. In 1950 early in his career, he went on to professionally play the blues harp for the “Howlin Wolfs Band”. In 1955 he was asked to play harmonica for the “Muddy Waters Band”. James Cotton became the bandleader of the Muddy Waters Band and stayed with them until 1965. His career continued as he then formed the “Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet”.  Between gigs with his quartet, he produced recordings for the Muddy Waters Band.  After the “Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet” he formed a touring group named “Electric Flag”. James Cotton (called Cotton by his friends)  was the youngest of eight brothers and sisters who grew up in the cotton fields working beside their mother, Hattie, and their father, Mose. On Sundays Mose was the preacher in the area’s Baptist church. Cotton’s earliest memories include his mother playing chicken and train sounds on her harmonica and for a few years he thought those were the only two sounds the little instrument made. His Christmas present one year was a harmonica, it cost 15 cents, and it wasn’t long before he mastered the chicken and the train. King Biscuit Time, a 15-minute radio show, began broadcasting live on KFFA, a station just across the Mississippi River in Helena, Arkansas. The star of the show was the harmonica legend, Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller). The young Cotton pressed his little ear to the old radio speaker. He recognized the harmonica sound AND discovered something – the harp did more! Realizing this, a profound change came over him, and since that moment, Cotton and his harp have been inseparable – the love affair had begun. Soon he was able to play Sonny Boy’s theme song from the radio show and, as he grew so did his repertoire of Sonny Boy’s other songs. Mississippi summers are ghastly, the heat is unrelenting. He was too young to actually work in the cotton fields, so little Cotton would bring water to those who did. When it was time for him to take a break from his job, he would sit in the shadow of the plantation foreman’s horse and play his harp. His music became a source of joy for his first audience. James Cotton’s star began to shine brightly at a very early age.

By his ninth year both of his parents had passed away and Cotton was taken to Sonny Boy Williamson by his uncle. When they met, the young fellow wasted no time – he began playing Sonny Boy’s theme song on his treasured harp. Cotton remembers that first meeting well and says, “I walked up and played it for him. And I played it note for note. And he looked at that. He had to pay attention.” The two harp players were like father and son from then on.

There were dozens of juke joints in the South at the time and Sonny Boy played in nearly every one in Mississippi and Arkansas. Now he had an opening act! Because Cotton was too young to go inside he would “open” for Sonny Boy on the steps of these juke joints, sometimes making more money in tips outside than Sonny Boy did at the gig inside.

After a gig early one morning Sonny Boy split for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to live with his estranged wife, leaving his band to Cotton who comments, “He just gave it to me. But I couldn’t hold it together ’cause I was too young and crazy in those days an’ everybody in the band was grown men, so much older than me.”

There was no one to care for the teenager – no real home to go to – but young Cotton had his harmonica. Beale Street in Memphis was alive with the blues and Cotton played on the street for tips. Also, he put a mean shine on any paying customer’s shoes. When he’d been with Sonny Boy, they had played a juke joint named “The Top Hat” in Black Fish, Arkansas. One night he heard Howlin’ Wolf was playing there and he decided it was time to meet him. He was still underage but the owner let him through the door this time. He liked the young musician plus he knew if Cotton sat in with Howlin’ Wolf the good times would roll even farther, deep into the night. Cotton got along well with Howlin’ Wolf from the moment they met and they began to play the juke joints as far north as Caruthersville, Missouri, and as far south as Nachez, Mississippi, with Cotton doing most of the driving down old Highway 61. He learned the ways of the road from a second blues legend.

At the ripe old age of 15 he cut four songs at Sun Records: “Straighten Up Baby,” “Hold Me In Your Arms,” “Oh, Baby,” and “Cotton Crop Blues.”

KWEM, a radio station in West Memphis, Arkansas, directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis, gave Cotton a 15-minute radio show in 1952. This was a great achievement for a bluesman who was only 17 years old. It gave him a wider audience; not everyone went to juke houses, but the radio was on everyday from 3-3:15 p.m. Mississippi and Arkansas held the very essence of the blues in their cotton fields. People wanted to hear their own music.

Cotton had gigs every weekend but to help support himself better he found a job in West Memphis driving an ice truck during the week. When he got off work one Friday afternoon in early December 1954, he walked to his regular Friday happy hour gig at the “Dinette Lounge” and played his first set. The club was getting crowded and he recognized many familiar faces but when the band took a break, a strange man approached and extended a handshake to Cotton saying, “Hello, I’m Muddy Waters.” He’d heard about the young James Cotton. “I didn’t know what Muddy looked like but I knew it was his voice ’cause I’d listened to his records,” says Cotton. Muddy needed a harp player. Junior Wells had abruptly left the band. He asked Cotton to play the Memphis gig with him. The answer is history. Cotton remained Muddy’s harp player for 12 years.

Chess Records kept Little Walter (Jacobs) playing harmonica on Muddy’s records until 1958. Before then Muddy asked Brother Cotton to “play it like Little Walter” – note for note live on stage every night. But that wasn’t Cotton’s aim in life and finally one day he said to Muddy, “Hey man, I never will be Little Walter. You’ve just got to give me a chance to be myself.” Cotton’s star shined even brighter in 1958 when he began recording at Chess Records with Muddy on “Sugar Sweet” and “Close To You.”

Cotton developed an arresting stage presence which Muddy recognized. As a sideman, Cotton always respected Muddy’s position of authority. But they both knew Cotton had his own full-blown brand of animated showmanship that no one had ever seen before and that, coupled with his own harmonica style, commanded attention from the audience. In 1961 at the Newport Jazz Festival one of the highlights of his career came when his wild harmonica exploded on stage during his solo of the song he arranged for Muddy, “Got My Mojo Working.” You be the judge! Fortunately, the tape was running and the recording belongs to all of us.

“Muddy was a very sweet guy. I loved and respected Muddy very much. But I did all I could there, an’ it was time to move on to something else,” Cotton explains why he left the band in the latter part of 1966.

The year 1967 is well-documented as Cotton’s first year as a bandleader with the two CD’s “Seems Like Yesterday” and “Late Night Blues” recorded live in Montreal at the “New Penelope” club and unreleased until 1998 on the Justin Time label. It was the first gig on the first tour of the first James Cotton Blues Band. From that night forward Cotton embarked on tours all across the country. He had crossed over into the blues-rock genre because of his reputation as Muddy Waters’ harp player. During the last half of the 60’s decade Cotton made four records. “Cut You Loose” was released on Vanguard, “Pure Cotton,” “Cotton In Your Ears,” and “The James Cotton Blues Band” were released on the Verve label.

 

Have you ever seen James Cotton?

Have you ever heard James Cotton?

Did you know he was taught by Sonny Boy Williams?

I would love to get your feedback on this please leave any comments or questions below and I will  reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website please come back in the future as I’m always adding new and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed Night!

Larry

 

Play Harmonica like the Greats!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

I’m going to be talking about how to play harmonica like the greats like the title says. To play harmonica like a great harmonica player it takes time, patience and proper instructions to become a great harmonica player.

Every great harmonica player had to start from the beginning just like someone starting out to learn to play the harmonica for the first time. I wrote an earlier post on that subject that you can check out here>Learn Harmonica!

A lot of the earlier great harmonica players from the past didn’t have access to all the great harmonica teaching like they have now because of technology and the internet. Most of the harmonica players back then just learned from trial and error and imitating sounds that they heard on the radio.

Little Walter probably learned to play the harmonica by listening to vinyl records and imitating the other instruments that he heard on the record. Little Walter played a Hohner Marine Band Original 1896 Classic because that is what was available back then in the 1800’s.

Here’s an example of the harmonica he played back then click on the image for pricing! 

Today you can learn to play like the great harmonica players of the past and present by online instructions from professional harmonica instructor’s that can teach you the proper way to learn the harmonica,

You can also go online a bring up videos of great harmonica players and watch and play along with them. But of course to do this you would at least need to know the basics of playing the harmonica which I gave you in a link above in a highlighted text “learn harmonica”.

Here’s a video of Little Walter that you can watch and play to if you have the skills to.

 

This is one of Little Walter’s most famous songs “Juke”

Have you ever hear a great harmonica player?

Have you ever heard of Little Walter?

Have you ever played a Hohner Marine Band Original 1896?

What kind of harmonica do you play?

I would love to get your feedback on this please leave any comments or questions below and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website please come back in the future as I’m always adding  new and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonica.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

Harmonica Bending! WOW!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

I’m going to be talking about harmonica bending which always seems to be a subject that beginning harmonica players are scared of. Bending notes on a harmonica gives you that bluesy sound out of the harmonica that you hear a lot in blues and rock music.

There are some other kinds of music that use the technique of bending also such as Country Blues, and Jazz which Stevie Wonder who was famous for bending the chromatic harmonica. Normally the diatonic harmonica is the one most used in bending but the chromatic harmonica can be bent also like I talked about earlier with Stevie Wonder I wrote an earlier post about him that you can check out here>More famous Harmonica Players

“Bending”

The technique of bending changes the pressure of the airflow which allows the harmonica player to bend the pitch of the higher tuned reed down towards the pitch of the lower tuned reed.

  • Diatonic Harmonica – holes 1-6 can be bent down by drawing in on the harmonica and holes 7-10 can be bent by blowing on the harmonica.
  • Chromatic Harmonica- holes 1-7 can be bent on draw & blow notes both. Holes 8-11 can only be bent on draw notes.  Hole 12 can only be bent  on blow notes.
  • Draw Bends: Lower your jaw while raising the back of your tongue keeping  the air flow at the back of the tongue.
  • Blow Bends: Lower your jaw while raising the front of the tongue slightly keeping the airflow slightly behind the teeth.  

The hole that can be  bent the most is hole 3 on a C harmonica you can draw bend the hole from an Ab down to a G# an in between those notes.

Here’s a video on harmonica bending so you can see and hear an example of bending.

 

 

Have you ever heard of bending on the harmonica?

Have you ever heard a harmonica player do bending on the harmonica?

I would love to get your feedback on this please leave any comments or questions below and I  will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website please come back in the future as I’m always adding new and exciting content!

Have a blessed day!

Larry

Review on the Seydel Harmonicas!

Hello harmonica Lovers!

I’m going to be talking about, a German made harmonica, that was first introduced over 160 years ago, by Christian August Seydel, in Klingenthal/Saxony Germany. Here’s a picture of Christian August Seydel ,and his first manufacturing plant in Germany, with his primitive assembly line.

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 Seydel Manufacturing’s first Harmonica Orchestra!

 

Beginnings- around 1847

In the 17th century the Seydel family, were miners, in Sachsenberg-Georgenthal / Saxony Germany. When mining was discontinued in Saxony Vogtland Germany, brothers Johann Christian Seydel ,and Christian August Seydel, began working as instrument makers. Both of them became approved harmonica makers, on October 27th, 1847. The certificate, contains the first documented reference,  with Christian August Seydel being registered as the company founder.

The factory was established in Klingenthal, at the foot of the famous ‘Aschberg,’ and was to become one of the biggest harmonica factories in all of Saxony. In 1882, Christian August Seydel died, and his son Richard took over. One year later, his brother Moritz joined, and from that day, the company was named (C.A. Seydel and Sons).

Beginnings

In 1829′ a dealer, named Johann Wilhelm Glier, invented an instrument he called the mouth organ, in Klingenthal/Saxony ,and the Glier Brothers began to manufacture the instrument.mainright_galery_01_m-1
“Harmonicas” of the 1800’s, shown here>
had a ivory mouthpiece, with fold out covers.
    An engraving, of a Seydel harmonica,
around 1880, is also shown here with an ivory mouthpiece.
 Up to 1900, harmonicas, had mostly just the company name on them.
 You can recognize models from before 1880, by their plain cover plates.
At “C.A. Seydel Söhne,” they still use some of the techniques that the craftsmen used at that time.
    The Seydel Blues Classic 1847  is the first produced Richter-diatonic harmonica, with stainless steel reeds, which represents all traditional demands of a harmonica.
The 1847, is the result of Seydel’s, 160 years of experience, in manufacturing high-quality harmonicas, some of the features, full loud rich sound, and extremely fast responsiveness, due to stainless steel reeds.
It has long durability, even with heavy duty playing, because of stainless steel reeds, it has less air loss due to fine cut reed plates.
Beard ,and lip friendly,  cover plates with rounded edges, moisture proof, no swelling, maple comb sealed ,and can be used indoor or outdoors.
Click Here

 

 

 

 

 

Have you, ever heard of the Seydel harmonica?

Have you, ever played a Seydel Harmonica?

Would you, consider trying a Seydel harmonica?

What kind of Harmonica, do you play?

Why do you prefer, that Harmonica?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments or questions below, and I will reply, as soon as possible.

Thank you, for checking out my website, please come back in the future, as I’m always adding new, and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

Different Pricing of Harmonicas

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

“Harmonica Prices”

I’m going to talking about the best harmonica for the price depending on the quality and craftsmanship of the harmonica. Harmonicas range from $10 to $100 or more depending on if it’s a custom harmonica which can be more expensive than a manufacture like Hohner or Lee Oskar or Suzuki these brands have harmonicas that are in the range around $60 but purchased through my website they range around $40 so you save money. Ok less talk about the less expensive harmonicas and the craftsmanship and price of these harmonicas.

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A less expensive harmonica would be a Silver Swan diatonic 10-hole harmonica that sells for around $10 with S&H purchased from my website normally around $15. Harmonicas that are less expensive are not airtight which makes them harder to play and you must put more air through them but are still a playable harmonica. It’s all about what you’re looking for in a harmonica and personal choice.

One of my favorite harmonicas and the one I use mostly in my Shows is the Hohner Special 20 Major Diatonic 10- hole harmonica which sells for about $60 but purchased through my website they sell for about $40 you save money again. The Hohner Special 20 is used by Harmonica Great “John Popper” from the (Blues Travelers Band) and other great harmonica players.

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The Special 20 is a Quality harmonica that is airtight and easy to play right out of the box and easy to bend notes this harmonica is used in Rock, Country, Blues & Folk music. I prefer the Hohner Special 20 over the Hohner Marine Band because I perform a lot of shows on the beaches of Florida which has salty ocean air which is not good for your harmonicas especially the Hohner Marine Band because it has a wood comb in it which causes swelling and shrinking where the Hohner Special 20 has a plastic comb and can withstand the elements of the weather better than the wood comb. I covered this in an earlier post about the care of your harmonica!  

The Marine Band 1896/20 named for the year it was brought into the harmonica world famous for its twenty reeds this harmonica has been one of the most popular models from Hohner for years. The Marine Band has a wood comb which I mentioned earlier that can swell and shrink so better used indoors than outdoors. Some of the harmonica greats that play this harmonica are Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Little Walter this harmonica is used for Blues and Rock primarily. Over the years Hohner has perfected their craft and introduced several new models that can handle the elements of the weather better such as the Hohner Crossover which has a bamboo comb and is sealed for avoiding moisture which causes swelling and shrinking in the Marine Band. I have an earlier post on Hohner Crossover that you can check out tells you all about the hohner crossover harmonica and all the upgrades that it has and it’s pricing.

Please let me know what you think about the different pricing of harmonicas?

Please let me know what you think about the difference in the qualities of the harmonicas that I talked about?

What kind of price and quality do you prefer in a harmonica?

I would love to hear your feedback on this please leave any comments or questions below and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website please come back in the future as I’m always adding new & exciting content!

Have a blessed day!

Larry

 

One of the Best “Hohner Harmonicas”

“Hello Harmonica Lovers”

(Hohner Harmonicas)

Like me if you’re looking for a great harmonica at a great price hohner harmonicas are one of best brands out there and one of the most trusted by harmonica lovers all over the world. Some of the most famous harmonica players in the world play hohner harmonicas I have some examples of some of the most well-known players in the world that play hohner harmonicas listed below.


Hohner Marine Band


    • Little Walter- Blues Harmonica
    • John Popper- Rock & Blues Harmonica
    • Charlie McCoy- Country & Blues Harmonica
    • Charlie Musselwhite – Blues Harmonica
    • Paul Butterflied- Blues, Rock & Jazz Fusion Harmonica
    • Bob Dylan- Folk Harmonica
    • Neil Young Folk Harmonica
    • Stevie Wonder- Jazz Chromatic Harmonica

    There are other brands of harmonicas like the Lee Oskar, Suzuki, Seydel  and Huang harmonicas. You will be able to find these products, services, accessories and online courses here on my website.

    Have you ever heard of hohner harmonicas?

    Have you ever played an hohner harmonica?

    Have you ever owned an hohner harmonica?

    Would you consider purchasing a harmonica through my website?

    I would love to get your feedback on this please leave any comments or questions below and I will reply as soon as possible.

    Thank you for visiting my website please come back in the future as I’m always adding new and exciting content!

    larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

    Have a blessed day!

    Larry