Hoodoo Man Blues (junior Wells)

Tabbed for diatonic harmonica by Liam Ward
Song key: A (D harp in 2nd position)

A: -4 5 -4 -5 -5 -5 -5 -4 5 -4
B: -4 5 -4 -5 6 6 6 6 6
6 -4/ 4 -3/ -2 -2// -2
C: -3/ 4 -4/ 4 -3/ -2 -3/ -4-→-2 -2 -2 -1

We’re looking at the intro to one of Junior Wells’ best-known tracks, Hoodoo Man Blues from the album of the same name. There are only three lines of tab, but think of this as an exercise in quality over quantity. There are several techniques to contend with – tongue slapping, glissando, draw bends etc – so a lot to consider, and remember that it’s better to play a short piece very well than a whole song badly. Junior Wells is known for fast and precise playing, and those things only come by studying things slowly and meticulously.

Studio Version

There’s a little bit of theory attached to this lesson too, as it’s a good example of a four bar turnaround intro. Get your head around this concept and you can use this tab in other blues songs with a similar structure.

Live Version

To get the most out of this lesson, I recommend doing some homework on 12 bar blues structure and draw bending technique, if you aren’t already comfortable with them. Try to get your bends as in tune as possible as this make a big difference to the quality of your playing – all that boring sitting around with a tuner is worth it. But most of all, enjoy!


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