by: Kyle Vallone
Here is my list of the Best of the Best Harmonica players. This list is subjective and for me personally it has changed over the years as my tastes have changed.
The man who created the Chicago style of amplified harmonica, he could make his harp sound like a tenor sax; his tone is the sought-after style of sound for harmonica players.
Extremely influential player, and the first player to make the harmonica a lead instrument.
Prolific songwriter, vocalist and harmonica player; the ultimate blues man, his true name and birth date remained a mystery for most of his life.
The most amazing acoustic harmonica player I have ever heard. Completely captures that deep-down South, backwoods sound. The most powerful rhythm and percussive player I have ever heard.
The first power blues harmonica player.
The master of less-is-more, with his pleading vocal and distinctive harmonica styles that made him one of the blues greats.
One of the best-known blues harmonica musicians in the world; he is recognized for the power and precision of his playing.
A great vocalist, chromatic player and expressive diatonic player.
Great second generation Chicago-style harmonica player; a real master.
A member of the great British blues invasion of the 1960s
Great harmonica player from California who recently passed away. He was a master of many harmonica styles.
Another late, great second-generation blues harmonica master from Chicago. He became famous in the 1960s.
A disciple of George “Harmonica” Smith. He fronts a great band called the Mighty Flyers who are constantly on tour. These folks are well worth seeing.
The greatest country western harmonica player of all time. Incredible tone and precision in his playing.
DeFord became the most successful artist to share the tradition of hillbilly music with a wider audience. He was a heavy influence on Sonny Terry.
One of the great, early, country harmonica players.
A bluegrass harmonica player with a unique style.
Great country player in the Texas tradition who also written has some great books for learning harmonica.
Incredible singer and songwriter and expressive harmonica player. He has inspired a lot of people to pick up the harmonica and learn to play (myself included).
Great songwriter and guitar player and harmonica player. His style is very expressive.
ROCK AND POP
One of my favorites, he is extremely innovative. Magic Dick pushed the pocket of harmonica playing in the early 1980s.
Very popular and talented, he uses a lot of high, fast blow bends in his unique style.
Former lead harmonica player for the pioneer funk/jazz group, War, which won him international renown for over two and a half decades (1969-1993). Oskar also has a great brand of harmonica.