Exclusive Interview with Will Wilde
How did you discover the bluesharp ?
~ My father is a big blues fan so I grew up hearing a lot of blues music around the house, and going to gigs and festivals. I have always loved the sound of the harmonica but it wasn't until I was 16 years old that I actually picked one up and tried to play it. I stole my first harmonica from a house party I went to, I found it on their kitchen table, It was a plastic Guinness harp. I taught myself how to play by jamming to Muddy Waters records, in particular the "King Bee" and "Hard Again" albums. In the first year I would play for hours every day until my lips bled and I couldn't play any more.
If everything would be possible (waking the dead included) , which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ Sonny Boy Williamson II, his song 'Help Me' is my favorite blues harp recording of all time. I love his attack, phrasing and vibrato.
What is your favorite bluesharp brand / type and tell us why?
~ I play Seydel 1847's. They play great; they're loud and they have a rich bright tone. I play pretty hard and I find their stainless steel reeds last much longer than brass ones.
What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ Watch my tutorial videos on Youtube! And if you get stuck, come and see me for a Skype lesson ;-)
Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ I play lip pursed 90% of the time. I really only use my tongue for playing octaves and the occasional tongue slap. I find that playing lip pursed allows me to move around the harp much faster, and I can get a better vibrato. The only time I will play everything tongue blocked is when I'm playing an old school shuffle and want a more traditional sound.
Give us the 3 most important albums every (beginning) bluesharp player must buy.
~ Muddy Waters- King Bee
Sonny Boy Williamson- His Best
The Red Devils- King King
How do you clean your harps?
~ I don't!
Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ Somewhere with a big live room and a good Neve console. I really like the BBC's studios at Maida Vale, I recorded a couple of live sessions there for Radio 2, they get a great sound. I have recently upgraded to a Fractal Audio Axe FX 2 rig for harp It's a digital pre-amp and FX processor which can model hundreds of different amps and effects. It can do cab simulations as well, so I can record direct out of the Axe FX in to the desk. In a live situation I power it with a Matrix GT1000FX power amp and run it through a 2x12 cabinet fitted with Jensen speakers.
Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves?
~ No, I don't get nervous before shows.
What was the most memorable day in your musical career?
~ Probably the time I spent on The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. It's a blues festival that takes place on board a massive cruise ship and sails from San Diego to Mexico. I got to meet some of my idols including Bobby Bland, Bobby Womack, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks and I shared the stage with Taj Mahal, Earl Thomas, Michael Burks, Sherman Robertson, Tab Benoit, Tasha Taylor, Samantha Fish and loads of other fantastic musicians. It was an amazing experience.
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Answers given on June 1, 2016