Re: [Harp-L] Amp vs. Acoustic (off-shoot of "Gear" thread)
For fear of Ricci overkill on this list......
Jason is a good modern day example of your point - one that I'm slowly
learning to take to heart. In his live shows, Jason will occasionally
play just through the vocal mic. When he does so, it's almost as if he's
a completely different player - licks-wise, chops-wise, style-wise.
"Both" players kick ass, but he really seems aware of what works
acoustically and what works better through an amp.
I play in a "semi-acoustic" duo. A few years ago, when I started this
duo, I had also just got my first vintage amp ('62 Princeton) and was
starting to really refine my amped techniques. As a result, I played
every note in every song through a bullet or jt-30 into the princeton.
However, in most of the venues we played, I'd never have the amp turned
up past 1.5 or 2 - which limits the tonal possibilities of such an amp.
Besides, I began to get more self-conscious about the appropriateness of
a big amped sound in our music. But then again, I loved that little
As I've matured a bit playing wise, and as I feel like I have to
"impress" less and less, I've grown more comfortable playing songs just
through the vocal mic when it seems more appropriate for the song. I
still will play through the amp for about half of our songs, but as you
mention, there's a time and a place for a fat tongue-blocked octave, and
a time and a place for a nice single note hand cupped "wah."
Anyway, thanks for the post, as varied approaches within acoustic /
semi-acoustic scenarios is a current area of growth, learning, and
experimentation for me.
>>> Dan <billybudd1313@xxxxxxxxx> 05/31/05 10:05 AM >>>
I just read through all the digests from the past weekend. (Sometimes I
like to "un-plug from the matrix" for a few days.) Catching up, I
noticed a "Gear" thread. I'm a bit of a gear head, and I may comment on
gear a little later. First, however, I'd like to persue a different
angle of discussion. It's one I think folks overlook from time to time.
Gear discussions always seem to go the same way. Tone of player, types
of amps, "that little extra warmth" . . . . read back a few days, or
even a few years.... I'll wait..... It's a pretty standard
discussion. I enjoy the discussion, but what about Approach?
By approach, I'm talking about the way you choose your notes or
techniques. This is hard for me to put into words, but I'll try with
When I play "acoustic" I think of the microphone as a means for sound
reinforcement. The P.A. should make the sounds louder, yet minimally
distorted. I play towards greater projection/volume. I also utilize my
hands a great deal more. Big octaves and, say, "chugging" sounds good,
but thin compared to amp (see below). Clear single notes, shaped by
hand, sound great to me, acoustically.
When I play "amplified" (currently through crystal elements/ Fender
Brown Concert sometimes w/ a touch of digital reverb) I tend to think
more about what the amp CAN add, and using it. For example, pushing a
little harder on the 2,5 draw "chord" produces great overtones. Opening
up on all holes 1-4d can sound thunderous. Overall, I tend to shoot for
more fluidity when amped, as well. I'm talking about actually using
the distortion as a part of the technique.
How cool are "kiss pops" when the amp is set right?
Are these silly little things all that usefull around the camp-fire?
They're kinda cool, but not AS cool without that bark from the amp, and
the little shudder of delay/echo. (my opinion of course)
I'm at the point where I just can't get my thoughts to work on email.
I'll close with one last thought.
Listen to "Juke" and then listen to "1/4 to 12" That's the easiest
way for me to think of amp vs. acoustic appoach. Same guy, same harps,
plenty of similar licks too. But there's something about the WAY he
plays each that is more than just amp vs.no amp.
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