There certainly are a lot of options when it comes to mics and amplifying harmonica, believe me when I say I have explored as many as I could. After years of frustration I settled on Shure SM57's for close mic acoustic style, and a Rod Piazza built JT30 for amplified overdriven "Chicago" tone.
I played as a side man with a country rock legend for a couple years, strictly acoustic, no hand cupping of the mic. I would use an SM57 on a goose neck and play close. It really got me into using my hands for emphatic type playing that I hadn't up 'til then really explored.
I listened to what you and your wife are doing, I like it. Trying close playing to an SM57, don't hand cup the mic, use your hands for note shaping, wah wahs, and the like, you'll be adding much more to your duo, and allow you to back away from the mic and still add some "spice" without playing over the top off your vocalist, which is almost impossible to do when you are hand cupping a hot vocal mic. I have heard of open jams in which the harmonica players are shut down if they so much as touch the vocal mic that is in a stand provided, kinda harsh maybe but I get it, set one level and everyone works with it, when someone grabs the mic to play they feedback, and it sucks, bigtime.
BTW, I too own a Shure SM58 that is over thirty years old, I feel it has more headroom than even the highly touted Shure Beta 58's they came out with. What I mean by headroom in this case is more gain before feedback.
Oh yeah, the reason I recommend the 57 as opposed to the 58 is because it is more directional and less likely to pick up your wife's guitar, vocals, or anyone else for that matter.
If you are referring to a photo at Greg Heumann's site blowsmeaway.com of a *Bulletizer, it is being used
with a Shure SM57, a stick mic with no ball on the end. The *Bulletizer is used to give the player a little more
to hold to avoid cramping.
I use 57's for vocal and acoustic harmonica work, I own a couple 58's, I just like the 57's better as they're more directional
and tend to pick up less over-bleed from other instruments or voices. I live in Florida, so I would never expose my mic elements..
I have never seen or heard of anyone ever removing a wind screen and playing directly to an element in all my time playing.
Why not do an AB comparison recording of playing the same tune/riff with the wind screen on and off?
Welcome to the Harmonica Club!
I have been a member here for 15 years, I live in Lakeland, I play in Tampa occasionally.
Regards, Reed (Pete)
I am so tight I squeak, looking for a deal, or trying to create one, I just can't see it as a bad habit.
What Dex said.
I built my *Frankenstein Fabulous, with Fabulous diatonic reed plates (Key of D, 7limit just) I bought from Rockin Ron.
I had called Ron about an order and as we chatted a Suzuki rep showed up at Ron's with 2 sets of Fabulous reed plates
in D for a ridiculous price at the time. I bought Promaster cover plates from Ron, and a blue anodized aluminum comb
from Tom Halchak @ Bluemoon, put it all together for less than $100.
Been a go to harp for going on four years.
Not surprised the reed plates needed gapping. They Fabulous uses the same plates as Manji and Promaster, $35-40 a set.
The exuberant price for the Fab stems from the comb much more than the plates, as they are nothing special.
Since Suzuki reeds are weld attached as opposed to rivet, there is no "dimple" on the bottom of the draw plate that needs
to be flat sanded. That said, you should be able to use your gauge to check the reed plates for warping that could lead to "airiness", which by the way is considered a word here in the States anyway.
I recommend an amp with one power tube (the big 'un) and one pre-amp (the lil 'in)
A 6v6 power tube will produce from 7-10 watts, an EL84 tube will produce about 5-7 watts.
For pre-amp most guitar tube amps use a 12AX7 with a gain factor of 100%, a few use a 5881
with gain factor of 70%.
The extra power in the 6V6 translates to more bass response, and a bit more headroom, I use
TADs (*Tube Amp Doctor) short bottle 6V6s in all my amps, the short bottle fattens up bottom end
more than a tall tube/valve.
Fender, Gibson, Kalamazoo, Crate, Epiphone, Vox, Ampeg, all made/make a small practice amp with tubes/valves.
Marshall sux for harp, hell, I think they suck for guitar too. There are others out there, some Italian models might be
available to you across the pond.
Use this criteria for selecting and you just might find a gem. good luck!
I hit the wrong button and quoted myself, let me re-iterate, I hit the wrong button and quoted myself.
Reed Smith wrote:
Welcome to the Harmonica Club!
First things first, the *Peavey rage 158 is a Solid State Amplifier, it will get loud but there no tubes to overload a speaker and cause it to "breakup" for that overdriven harp tone, you won't ever get it with this amp.
As for Lone Wolf Blues Harp pedals, I use the harp break with tube amps, I get a very FAT tone, that just gets better with time, the longer the amp runs the sweeter it gets.
The Harp Attack may give you some bite as it does contain a pre-amp tube, I have ran my pedal straight into a solid state PA
and my bass player didn't know I hadn't bought an amp 'till we were packing. However, I have strong acoustic chops so my tone will translate, but I am NOT overdriving a speaker/s, tubes do that.
The best advice I could give you seeing as how you are familiar with Lone Wolf products is to get yourself a Harp Train 10,
problem solved as far as tube amp tone is concerned. After that you can work on embouchure and a tight cup/seal on the harp and mic. Coupling a Lone Wolf Blues harp pedal to a tube amp is a blissful experience, it gets so good to you, you won't want to stop playing, and that my friend is a goooooood thing!
I just picked up two more Hohner Rocket harmonicas from Rockin' Ron. I had a G, an A, and a C, I picked up a Bb and a D to round out what I consider a gig set, meaning I can cover the majority of keys we play. These harps are some bad asses, as I have said breathe the harp, with these I can do some HEAVY breathing. To quote Mickey Raphael: "I can pound nails with these harps"! I have other sets, several customs, but these are my go to gigging harmonicas. I play finesse, but I play hard, I believe the Rocket is designed for that.
The Rocket Lows are a blast to play too.
I know which harps you are talking about bro' and honestly this is the only way these type harmonicas can work, a tremolo must have divided chambers or the 2 reeds, upper, and lower, will vibrate sympathetically and cancel each other out. My dream is only a dream, as a diatonic Richter tuned tremolo with bend capabilities is "Pie In The Sky". The physical demands cannot be met.
Welcome to the Harmonica Club. Very nice sound on the Tremelo Harmonica.
I love the sound of a Tremelo, I am still waiting for someone to put out a diatonic version.
I know, I know, it would take four reeds in each hole chamber of a diatonic to make it a tremolo,
but, I still think it could be doable, Brendon Powers?
What can I say, I love Baseball.
I agree with Sarge, up tempo tunes should be played up tempo. A quick solid tempo gets folks up off
of their butts and on a dance floor. I do however feel very strongly that the tempo should never be rushed.
Fast playing does not have to be fancy, it needs to be precise.
I have heard it said that it is much harder to play a slow tune than a fast tune, I agree that to really pull off
a slow tune tone and inflection should create tension and emotion. A slow groove isn't easy to maintain,
all players tend to speed up at times during solos, If you aren't playing the solo it is important to try and
maintain the rhythmic sense of the groove by comping rhythm. This is especially true when playing harp
in a duo with guitar, by giving the guitarist a rhythm chord backing like a 1-4-5, he can stretch out a bit too.
Not all guitar players want to play backing chords to a lead harmonica ALL nite.
I don't think that chromatic harmonica is going away any time soon, even a younger generation who mire themselves in Blues music will be drawn to the chromatic because of its use in so much Blues and by so many great artists, Little Walter, George "Harmonica" Smith, William Clarke, Rod Piazza, Kim Wilson, to name a few. My good friend Danny G of New Harmonica Dot Com plays only chromatic and is a marvel on the instrument. Chromatic sales will never come close to
the 10 hole diatonic for sure, but I would easily wager that there are a lot less chromatics sitting in drawers gathering dust,
than there are diatonics, just my take. Blues music does indeed lead many players to the diatonic, however I believe love of the instrument will lead a player in every direction possible.
I have known Seamus Murnane for many many years, I stand by my statements. He has shown zero interest in this club in the last two years. Yeah I understand the baggage issues with Seamus and am not going to list them here. The problems that were allowed to plague the first Harmonica Club could have been avoided, it was just a hell of a lot cheaper to scrap it and do this sorry excuse for a harmonica related site. Take it from me writing Seamus comes to NO avail, oh he might answer and say he's on it or whatever, but when it comes down to doing anything he is either too busy or he forgot. This is what it is, I am in no way surprised at the numbers of those who left with no intention of ever coming back. Davey G, harmonica66(Mikey), Vortex, Tyson,
Street Player Dude(Joey), Chong, Florida Trader, etc. etc. No one should have to join a Social Media type site to be able to post their music here, it wasn't that way, it is just cheaper and easier-no hands on needed- to do it thru another site now.