Exclusive Interview with Will Wilde

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.

Will Wilde

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Answers given on June 1, 2016