Re: [Harp-L] Effects for Harp
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- Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Effects for Harp
- From: Richard Hunter <turtlehill@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2008 10:55:05 -0500
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- Organization: Turtle Hill Productions
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<I have just bought a Digitech 200 pedal and after my initial
<that it didn't make me sound like.............,I have been having a <ball
<dialing in some weird and wonderful sounds...
<CHORUS! Just a touch seems to add that touch of
<gravy,thickener,call it what you will ,that we all crave in amped blues
<harp.And, just a touch is the key thing.
<Am I the only one who thinks this?I mean a lot of the modern blues(y)
<masters seem to use a million pedals but,as far as I know none use
<chorus as effect.
Listen to the samples at this URL:
A chorus is essentially a kind of delay, with the delay time
"modulated", i.e. shifted slightly forward and backwards on a timed
cycle. (A flanger is also a modulated delay, with a longer cycle than a
chorus.) Any delay thickens the tone--try a short "slapback" (50-100
milliseconds) delay, which is a classic blues sound. A chorus is less
classic for harp, but the shifting sound is unmistakable in a lot of
modern blues and rock guitar (an extreme example being Andy Summers of
the Police, who used multiple choruses, flangers, etc. simultaneously to
produce a huge, shimmering tone).
In general, guitarists are a lot more comfortable with effects than harp
players. There are exceptions. I was recording with flangers in the
early 1980s, around the time that Johnny Mars in the UK was
experimenting with lots of effects. The harp player for Timbuk 3
recorded a lot of harp with heavy chorusing and flange in the 1990s.
Part of John Popper's influence is increased use of effects among
younger players, like Craig Struble of Fivewise (who plays through a
Leslie speaker) and Roscoe Selley with Maybe August (whose very
enjoyable debut album features plenty of great songs with great harp,
much of the latter featuring chorus and other effects).
The widespread use of bullet-type mics among harp players has generally
inhibited experimentation with effects. The restricted frequency range
of a bullet mic makes a lot of modulation effects (like phase shifting,
chorus, and flange) sound less interesting. As mics like the Audix
Fireball V gain popularity, I think we'll see more harp players
exploring effects. (Popper uses a vocal mic, not a bullet.)
FYI, my guess is that your RP200 "perfect trumpet sound" used a pitch
shifter effect with the pitch raised an octave to simulate the buzz of a
trumpet mouthpiece. Give it a try. If that doesn't work, you might try
a light autowah effect. Otherwise, if you find that sound, I'd like to
see the setup. I think it's pretty hard to make the harp sound like a
trumpet with electronics. (Larry Adler did it with no electronic effects
at all in the 1930s, and Dennis Gruenling seems to make it happen with
his hands and mouth on a more traditional amped setup).
Regards, Richard Hunter
harmonica blog at http://myspace.com/richardhunterharp
Latest mp3s always at http://broadjam.com/rhunter
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