Charlie's Tone

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Charlie's Tone

Postby songdog » Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:14 pm

Charlie is getting some serious tone on the cut "Just a Feeling". You can listen here http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu ... d=42123138 The harp kicks in about half way through the song.

Any ideas on how he's getting that screaming sound?
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Postby Erikjr21 » Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:47 pm

Im going to gues, Years of practice, playing with harp legands in multiple generations, Great equipment, and a bit of talent 8) Thanks for that link i wan't to add him.
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Postby bosco » Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:52 pm

I've never seen Charlie live, but I've seen him on a couple video jams and he plays through the PA. He has to use a tube screamer or signal processor of some sort, there isn't any way that edgy overdrive is just a raw acoustic tone through the vocal mic that he uses.

There's some pretty good info on this site, and Charlie's tone is mentioned-

http://www.rongood.net/harphouse/ron.htm

Also from this site, one of the all time great harp truths-

During sound checks before jams or at gigs with new sound mixer folks I usually set my mic about 4-6 steps below maximum volume (the volume pot has steps). I play at low-medium volume and low-medium attack for the sound check and let the sound person set my PA signal accordingly. You see, solo harmonica sounds VERY loud outside the mix, but gets buried easily once the full band begins to play. I know this--and you know this--but most live sound mixers don't know this unless they are very familiar with harp.

I've never heard it worded better. Hundreds of gigs have proved this fact. When you soundcheck, everyone on stage including the sound guy thinks the harp is too loud and they complain. But at the break, twenty people will come up and tell me that the harp was buried in the mix and they couldn't hear it. No one from the AUDIENCE has ever asked me to turn down!

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Postby songdog » Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:24 pm

Hey Bosco. I agree that he has to be using some sort of effect. Especially since a friend of mine told me the last few times he's seen Charlie he was using an Audix Fireball mic (however he thought Charlie was playing through a Fender amp that was mic'd). The Audix are pretty clean sounding mics from what I've heard so there has to be more goin on than just the mic/amp honk. That sound is beyond honk!

If he's not using any effects, I guess I'll have to add him to my list of harmonica Gods.

Anyway, I thought maybe some of you guys had possibly stumbled across that sound in your experiments and quest for tone. I've got a tube screamer, several Shure/Astatic mics and I can't come close to emulating that sound playing through my Champ.
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Postby barbequebob » Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:46 pm

He sometimes uses a POD but I've seen hiom thru amps and PA's and the REAL deal is is acoustic tone and chops, first, last, and always.
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Postby bosco » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:49 pm

hey Bob-

Great to see you post again.

We need you around to keep us on the straight and narrow!

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Postby angerboy » Fri Nov 24, 2006 5:21 am

Don't know about what he's been using in the studio, but his main touring amp is a red knob Twin.
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Postby barbequebob » Fri Nov 24, 2006 5:42 pm

That and also the 6-10 Harp King, but the real deal is his acoustic tone and chops. He keeps a POD around for whenever amps are either unavailable or otherwise.
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Postby angerboy » Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:26 pm

Couldn't agree more. His acoustic sound is excellent. Actually, the reason I posted that was because he uses some non-traditional gear to get his sound. Expecting equipment to give you "that sound" is ill-advised. A lot of time and money will be wasted.
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Postby songdog » Fri Nov 24, 2006 9:45 pm

Well, I don't expect equipment to automatically give me "that sound".

There's no denying Charlie has some great chops and acoustic tone, but on the album Delta Hardware I'm hearing something more (and very unique) in his sound than just great chops.... the "Pod" could very well be what I'm hearing.

Thanks for the input BB.
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Postby barbequebob » Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:40 pm

songdog wrote:Well, I don't expect equipment to automatically give me "that sound".

.


That hits the nail on the head, and I've said this to other harp players literally thousands of times, but often it goes in one ear and out the other. If players spent less money and time on gear and learned how to really get their acoustic tone and chops together, they'd find out in a hurry that everything else would take care of themselves. Hell, I've seen Charlie got straight thru the PA all night without anything else, and still sound a trillion times better than someone hitting the stage with $10K worth of gear and still sounding like crap.
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