Top 4 Muddy Waters Harmonica Riffs

Top 4 Muddy Waters Riffs

All harmonica players should get intimate with Muddy Waters’ best harmonica riffs.

If you’re an intermediate harmonica player, and serious about blues harmonica, you need to learn Muddy Waters riffs.

And (cos hearing is the first step of learning) even if you’re a total newbie, you need to really check out these riffs. Here’s why…

:bulb: Did you know that Muddy Waters’ first instrument was harmonica???

(I didn’t either!) :exploding_head:

Maybe his 10 years of playing harmonica (ages 7-17 before he switched to guitar) are why later he hired ONLY THE BEST harmonica players from the beginning of his professional career in 1946, all the way until his retirement in 1981.

This list of harmonica players who’ve played with Muddy is a literal who’s who:

:+1: Little Walter

:+1: Junior Wells

:+1: Big Walter Horton

:+1: James Cotton

:+1: George “Harmonica” Smith

:+1: Paul Butterfield

:+1: Carey Bell

:+1: Jerry Portnoy

:+1: Paul Osher

The combined influence that those harmonica players have had on the harmonica and its role in blues music in the 20th century is impossible to overstate. They’re the best of the best!

Check out the 4 Best Muddy Waters Harmonica Riffs.

Do you agree with my top 4? Think there’s a different riff that’s better?


It’s been brought to my attention that the guy playing 1st position in the video (whom I called Portnoy) is not Jerry Portnoy but rather Paul Osher.

(I actually knew it wasn’t Jerry Portnoy, LOL, but I couldn’t find anyone to tell me who it was!!! :rofl: NOW everyone comes out of the woodworks to tell me.)

Sorry Paul!

Here’s a great clip of Paul Playing with Muddy in 1968:

Also, I said the player at the checkerboard lounge wasn’t James Cotton, but rather George Buford better known as Mojo Buford, God rest his soul. Check him out ripping on the same song that he was nicknamed after:

So before today I hadn’t been aware of Paul Osher or Mojo Buford. Now I am! Onwards and upwards… :notes:

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