Re: Premier and Tone (verbosity alert)
$50??? for a 50's vintage amp with great tone and the "look"? that's a
definite steal! Maybe I'll have to go down to Virginia and check out music
stores sometime this summer.....
For the reverb..... I don't use it much, but I was at the local "classic"
blues club last weekend (the Stanhope house for those familiar with the
place) and the band ("the Weepers") had a great harmonica player
(Peter "Trip" Henderson) who I've met since they've played there before
on occasion. Between sets he showed me his rig. He used to play
through a combination of a '59 Bassman and a Gibson GA-40 Les Paul,
using a digital delay (A Boss DD-3, I think) to send the "dry" signal to the
Bassman and some mild "slapback" echo to the Gibson. I thought that
sounded great.... He's switched, however, having sold the '59 (for a
nice price!) and using the proceeds to buy a '58 Bassman and a vintage
Echoplex - which also sounded great since it's 90% the player, after all,
but a little different - he said he hadn't quite figured out the best settings
for it yet. I asked about the delay/reverb combo pedals, and his opinion
was that delay is more useful and the combo doesn't give you the best
of either the delay or the reverb - more limited settings and a "colder"
sound. But I would take your amp, let a good tech check out the
resistors and pots (might cost you as much as the amp, but worth it),
then carry it out to some music stores and demo the pedals - buy what
you like and can afford. The delays are 80 -100$, the combos 120-150$
last time I checked.
With regard to the ideas of tone that John Thaden introduced, one of my
own self criticisms is a difficulty in playing good legato, and an
over-fondness for the Sonny Boy Williamson II Waa-Waa sound... There
are lots of tongue techniques you can use to vary your sound (Speaking
as a primarily "pucker" player...). One that I've employed some recently
is to take a chord (say3/4 blow or draw) and start with it bent, then slide
your tongue to where it isn't bent, and end with a sharp break, again
using your tongue. Not something to use too often, but it gives an
unusual effect, and can be useful for background rhythm stuff. But I
tend to like a more "stacato" sound with sharp attacks both beginning
and ending notes...not necessarily a good thing! When I listen to the real
masters, I notice how they vary the sound, often within a phrase. They
also use vibrato (sounds like throat vibrato) even on fairly short
sustained notes within phrases to give them a more legato, singing feel.
The use of legato and stacato within phrases transcends the
harmonica... much of the dissatisfaction I find with my playing as too
stacato echoes the instruction I had a dozen years ago in classical string
bass, where my instructor (who was a superb player) always told me I
was too metronomic, too robotic, needing to make the music "sing" and
"flow" more - I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks, but he's still
the same old dog.....
Any of you in the NY/NJ/PA area, the Weepers are playing the Stanhope
House again this Saturday as the opening act for Homesick James. They
are definitely a "local" band that is worth catching - great harp (with
excellent legato, tone, and incredible controlled bends) and a tremendous
slide guitar player, plus a very very good blues drummer - you don't
notice him because he doesn't do any solos, but pay attention and you
notice how he and the bass player keep perfect rhythm but are never
"Tell everything I know? I can do better than that!!!"
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