Who knows harmonicas?

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

Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jeffl » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:48 pm

I don't tweak my own harps, and I've developed the habit of knowing which reeds are a little off and instinctively bending 'em up or down with breath or draw force until they become useless. I don't blow up hardly any harps anymore, so it's not much of an issue. The stupid thing is that we've got a harp player in this town ( a very informed hobbyist who rarely jams or gigs ) who'll tweak my harps for $10 ea.; he attends the spah workshops every year and he's a real nice guy.
I need to take him a bag of harps and regain $350 worth of harps for $100.
I don't play straight non-amplified acoustic at all right now, so I can play with very little force. Before our jam group went all amplified I was trying to play with 3 string players, a bass, and drums without amplification, and I had to play with alotta force at times. It's so much nicer to play amplified and stay "light on your feet".
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby bottleneck » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:02 pm

to the OP

as stated,both harps rely on effects.both are in second position and very easy to play.

the first song is in G,the player is using a REGULAR C harp.the second song is in D and the player is using a G harp.

i think you could get this down fairly easily.for example the first song is all done on the first few holes,no big jumps around.

for the key of B you use an E harp for 2nd,for D use G,G use C,E use A etc.

for 3rd position,just use a step below,for D use C

for first position use the same key harp as the song.

i would only concern yourself with second at this point in time.

IMHO,suzuki harpmasters are a good bang for your buck harp.


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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jamesfarrell » Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:35 pm

Thanks guys, can you guys point me to a good set or harps and perhaps an amp that would sound good for under $500 or is that not possible to find a good harp amp for that money?
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby bottleneck » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:01 am

if you already have a guitar amp,use that!

if not,let me know where you live and i could find you a dozen on CL.

http://www.rockinronsmusic4less.com/con ... mr_200.php

as previously stated,i think it is hard to beat a suzuki pro master bang/buck.

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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jamesfarrell » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:33 am

Well I have 2 Mesa Boogie Mark V's
One head with a 2x12 and a combo version. Wonder if I should use that for now.

I was looking at this.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audi ... microphone


However one guy said there was low output without an impedance matching transformer.

I found this, but.... It's 1/4" to XLR, meaning how the hell would you use XLR with a guitar amp. Unless this guy in the review from the MF link above was going straight into a board?
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessor ... ransformer
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jawbone60 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:54 am

that transformer looks to be made to plug into say a sm57 or 58 and then into a tube amp, say. you're looking to go from low imp- a sm58 say- to high impedance- a tube amp.

so you're looking for a workable rig plus a set of 6 or 7 harps for $500? that could happen but you may need to consider micing the rig to the p.a. for gigs. i think if you can find a epiphone valve jr (5 watts and switchable impedance so you can use a variety of speaker cabs with it. head only model!- modded for harp and a green bullet mic- or use a imp. matching transformer, you may come in around $500 with harps. for a good set of average work horse harps you could go with either hohner sp20 or lee oskars. suzuki makes decent mid range harps as well, the bluesmaster and cheaper folkmaster. i personally prefer suzuki manji harps but they run about $60 each or better.

some guys go with a modeling gadget and skip the whole amp thing altogether too. there are patch kits for the rp200 modeler made for harp. there is also the holmes harp commander which allows a lot of different configurations like going from mic to amp AND p.a. or to 2 different amps. or straight to p.a. and dialing in a sound you like.

i am selling my 4x10 bassman but it's outside that budget you mention by quite a lot.
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jamesfarrell » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:50 pm

How do they mod an amp for harp? I'm just looking around at small tube amps for now and see what I come up with I suppose.

This is what I've ordered so far. I did a lot of research on harps and people seem to like the hohner 20's

Suzuki BR-21 Baritone $155.00 X 1 = $155.00
Shaker Mad Dog $127.95 X 1 = $127.95
Hohner Special 20 $37.25 X 1 = $37.25
(Keys: A)
Hohner Special 20 $37.25 X 1 = $37.25
(Keys: B)
Hohner Special 20 $37.25 X 1 = $37.25
(Keys: C)
Hohner Special 20 $37.25 X 1 = $37.25
(Keys: D)
Hohner Special 20 $37.25 X 1 = $37.25
(Keys: E)
Hohner Special 20 $37.25 X 1 = $37.25
(Keys: F)
Hohner Special 20 $37.25 X 1 = $37.25
(Keys: G)
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jeffl » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:40 pm

There are alotta mods for specific amps available. The easiest mods which will produce the most notable results are are swapping the stock tubes for lower output tubes, for example, swapping a 12AX7 down to a -AT7 or -Ay7, depending on taste. This will allow you to drive the amp harder thru increased volume settings without having the volume get too high; this achieves that distortion/breakup sound at lower volumes.
Also, many inexpensive new amps hit their price points by having cheap speakers, which can be replaced easily by aftermarket Weber speakers designed to enhance the sound. Weber will sell speakers direct to the consumer via their website. These can be had for around $100 and you'll notice the difference.
Also, it should be noted, that if you're after a darker "Chicago style" tone, purchasing an amp with either a tone knob or bass,mid, and treble controls will allow you to brown out the tone by tuning the bass tone up, and minimizing the mids and trebles. Each amp has its own characteristics which will determine how far down to set the mids & treble, and how far up to set the bass.
There are other mods which involve replacing capacitors, or rectifier, depending on whether the amp has a solid state or tube rectifier.
Be aware also that different mics mate to specific amps differently, and you have to experiment with that to find the right match-- or buy the amp and mod the amp and mic to suit your taste. Most custom modification shops can achieve that for you after finding out what kind of tone you're looking for.
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jamesfarrell » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:55 pm

Welp, I went and gone dunnit. Got a Blues Jr.

Think sounds like crap with a guitar, IMO. But of course I use resonator guitars not strats and teles. My Baritone National has a Lollar single coil, which sounds tits through the Mark V but sounds like ass through the Blues Jr.

But it bought it for a harp amp, so hopefully it sounds good for that.

My bass player is bringing over the boss delay pedal. Do you guys have any delay settings you would recommend? I'm a total noob with this stuff. Playing the harp doesn't concern me in the least, it's all the geat sh|t that drives me nuts.

Thanks for the help anyhow.
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jeffl » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:13 pm

The fender amp should do the job fine... lotsa guys play through those. Delay pedals are jus' like any effect pedal: season to your taste. However, personally, I've always been a fan of just enough delay to add depth to the sound without lettin' people know you're using a box-- in other words, very little, and not a buncha repeats. If you have to mic that amp for gigs, may I suggest those nice little Sennheiser e609 popsicle mics that just loop through the handle and dangle over the amp. No stand to mess with, and they're light and accurate.
Way to go.
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jamesfarrell » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:21 pm

I use to use mic's, then I discovered this little gem. Works AWESOME

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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jawbone60 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:41 am

so james does that di box change impedance? i'm not sure what the mic you got is, low or high impedance. the blues junior NEEDS a high impedance mic to perform well.
speaking of blues junior and delay pedal, that will work great together. you may want to find some lower value 12a tubes to try in the pre amp section so you can get the gain cut- and potential feedback hell- like 12au7, 12at7, 12ay7. they are cheap and easy to swap. i used to use a boss and recently tried a dd3 and it worked well. it was someone else's rig and i didn't look at settings but jeff hit it right, just tweak until you like it. i have a lone wolf delay that works really great. settings are different for different songs, tempos, and harps.

harp wise you are off to a very good start i think. if you don't go draw-crazy the sp20's will last quite a while and perform very well. i would consider adding a low F and a Bb if you play any 3rd position. low F for root key of G and Bb for root of C.

please do keep us up on how things come together for you, you have the makings of a nice gig package there!!
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jamesfarrell » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:26 pm

That DI Box goes from the amp to the PA. Nothing to do with the mic.

I'm hoping this mic will work with the amp. What do you think? This is what I ordered.
Shaker Mad Dog $127.95 X 1 = $127.95


As for all the 3rd position and all that talk, I have no idea what your talking about.
All I know is I play in E standard. Open D. Open G. Open B and Open A an octave lower than standard open A.
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jeffl » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:21 pm

I have no experience with the Shaker.
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Re: Who knows harmonicas?

Postby jawbone60 » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:32 am

best thing to do is plug in and see how it all sounds!
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