Re: perfect harp amp.....

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What's the difference between an amp modeler (like the Pod and Digitech =
RP300's of the world) and having an effect pedal like an Ibanez TS-9 =
coloring your sound?

I mean, all of the overdrive/distortion effects on the =
market...well...most of them; advertise that they give you tube warmth, =
tube this, tube that.  Will make your amp sound like it's a (fill in the =
blank with the name of a vintage amp.)

Similarly, if an amp modeler isn't actually going through real tubes, =
gain stages, moving air and vibrating an amp/speaker, isn't it (the amp =
modeler) just an effect?  And the different amp simulations just =
different variances of the effect? =20

A while ago, I had an old Zoom 1000 (or something like that) and it had =
cabinet simulations.  Half stacks and stuff like that.  Totally =
worthless for harp.  It was just a distorted, reverby mess.  The effects =
were kind of cool, but no where near as tasteful as having seperate =
stomp boxes. =20

I can totally understand the argument for going straight into the PA and =
bypassing the need for an amp.  In fact, for those of you who go this =
route, I would suggest that you get in ear monitors and use those for =
your monitors, thus, it is nearly impossible for your to feedback and =
you can ALWAYS hear yourself.  I used to run a mic through a pre-amp, =
and then into a line of effects.   Sounded great for recording.  Not so =
great for live performance.  (did about 30-40 gigs this way.)

I realize there are at least 3 different schools of thought:

1.  People who have always used amps and are never going to switch
2.  People who are thinking of getting rid of their amp and using an amp =
modeler instead.
3.  People who are thinking of getting rid of their amp modeler and =
going back to an amp.

I went from 2, to 3, and am now in the school of thought 1.

The problem I originally had was I was using a guitar amp with too many =
12AX7's, not enough volume and not enough kick.  It was, in essence, a =
tube amp running on 1.5 (volume.)  May as well have been solid state, I =

I then moved to a mic =3D>tube mic preamp =3D> eq =3D> effects =3D> DI

The problem I had was my tone was pretty thin, shrill and no amount of =
EQ'ing could really solve that.  My sound would change from gig to gig.  =
And unless I was standing out in the audience and playing my harp, there =
was no way for me to know.  I don't trust the typical sound guy to do =
anything (for harp) outside of setting the FOH level and leaving the EQ =
flat.  I mean, most small bar sound guys don't know how to mic =
drums...much less harp.  Most of the time we ran our own FOH mix.  But =
still, it left the harp lacking.

Now that I've switched to an amp, the harp is sounding a lot better. =20

I think the original question was: What is the perfect harp amp?

For me, the perfect harp amp is my Jet IIR.  I dont' know much about =
different 15W class A amps to give much of a comparison, but here's the =
reason it works well for me:

It gets great tone and the tube configuration and the stomp boxes I'm =
using allow me to set the amp at "8" and get a great signal where I can =
always hear myself without feeding back. =20

I'm using it with a 5 piece band: drums, guitar, bass, sax, harp.  We =
have a PA, so I'm not competing with the guitar player, or anyone for =
that matter, b/c it can all be mixed and sent through the Mains.

I play in a band where I need to play clean, dirty, and really dirty.  =
At times I also use a flanger, phaser, delays, envelope filters, and I =
run a 2nd channel with a Leslie.  All this goes in and out of my amp.  =
There are times when it doesn't make sense to bring so much stuff to a =
gig, so I also will switch mics and run a mic through a volume pedal and =
to the amp.  No more, no less.  So versatility is important as well.  =
I'm willing to bet my amp sound is nowhere near the standard Chicago =
blues sound...but that's not what I'm going for. =20

I have my amp on a stand so it's angled towards me so I can hear it.  I =
think my amp is pretty loud.  And if you're at a gig and you can't hear =
a 15W amp that's pointed right at your might be in a band =
that's playing too loud.  I specified GIG, b/c if you are in a small =
10x10 room with 4 other people and you're all competing for sonic ='s going to be loud and crappy sounding anyway.

Additionally, I had my amp modified to include a direct out (after all =
of the gain stages, right before the speaker.)  So if I wanted to, I =
could drive another amp/speaker if I wanted to, or I could just send the =
signal right to the PA (just in case there was shortage of mics, or mic =
inputs on the board.)

Now, I've not yet played a 1000 person room.  But for the typical 2-400 =
person room, our PA works just fine to get the sound out to the front. =20

I really don't know why someone would need a huge amp =
for...anything...but maybe for bigger venues where you're using a PA =
that can't handle the room?  Or maybe it's a tone thing. =20

I'm not knocking anyone that uses big amps, or chooses to use an amp =
modeler.  This is what's worked for me. =20

Does anyone know Alanis Morissette's harp set-up?



- ----- Original Message -----=20
  From: MundHarp@xxxxxxx=20
  To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx=20
  Sent: Monday, February 16, 2004 10:13 AM
  Subject: Re: perfect harp amp.....

  There are literally HUNDREDS of amps that are good for harp....
  Over the years, back in the 1960's I used a Vox AC50 Piggy back amp, =
with two 2X12" speaker cabinets... I used a Watkins Copycat tape echo =
with that rig.=E2=80=A6 It was EXCELLENT for harmonica... Sadly, some =
nasty person stole it from my car, after a gig...
  Next I used a solid state Vox Supreme 100 watt again through two 2x12" =
cabs... I used that amp for 25 years of giging... Yes, you CAN get a =
great harp tone with a solid state amp... I liked the Supreme because it =
had a built in spring reverb, as well as "fuzz" and "wah"... Good =
  Then I used a Fender 120 watt silver face Bassman top... An excellent =
amp, I liked it, but my one is a bit "noisy" for recording with....
  Then I bought a Fender Blues Deluxe 40 watt 1x12 combo... It is a =
GREAT harp amp... I liked it so much I bought a second one to use as a =
  Honestly, so much depends on the chops of the harp player...=20
  Of course, the mic makes a LOT of difference too... I used a Beyer =
ribbon mike for more than 20 years ... until it fell to pieces! Than I =
got through 3 (!!!!) Audio Technica Midnight Blues mics, in about 3 =
years... A good sound, but not a robust mic, Then I went over to an old =
Sure Unisphere... OK, but not ideal... Then I bought a Crystal Balls =
JT-30 Astatic... I now have 2 of them. I LOVE that mic....
  However, If I'm playing "straight chromatic" harp, I just use the =
house PA...
  Best wishes
  John Walden
  Try before you buy.... 

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