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.

Best Blues Harmonica Players

Little Walter

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.

Sonny Boy Williamson

Extremely influential player, and the first player to make the harmonica a lead instrument.

Sonny Boy Williamson Ii

Prolific songwriter, vocalist and harmonica player; the ultimate blues man, his true name and birth date remained a mystery for most of his life.

Sonny Terry

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.

Big Walter Horton

The first power blues harmonica player.

Jimmy Reed

The master of less-is-more, with his pleading vocal and distinctive harmonica styles that made him one of the blues greats.

James Cotton

One of the best-known blues harmonica musicians in the world; he is recognized for the power and precision of his playing.

Junior Wells

A great vocalist, chromatic player and expressive diatonic player.

Charlie Musselwhite

Great second generation Chicago-style harmonica player; a real master.

John Mayall

A member of the great British blues invasion of the 1960s

Norton Buffalo

Great harmonica player from California who recently passed away. He was a master of many harmonica styles.

Paul Butterfield

Another late, great second-generation blues harmonica master from Chicago. He became famous in the 1960s.

Rod Piazza

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.

Best Country Harmonica Players

Charlie Mccoy

The greatest country western harmonica player of all time. Incredible tone and precision in his playing.

Deford Bailey

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.

Wayne Raney

One of the great, early, country harmonica players.

Mike Stevens

A bluegrass harmonica player with a unique style.

Lonnie Joe Howell

Great country player in the Texas tradition who also written has some great books for learning harmonica.

Best Rock and Pop Harmonica Players

Magic Dick

One of my favorites, he is extremely innovative. Magic Dick pushed the pocket of harmonica playing in the early 1980s.

John Popper

Very popular and talented, he uses a lot of high, fast blow bends in his unique style.

Lee Oskar

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.


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