[Harp-L] Re: SPAH 2011 - harp in a rack seminar

This one was an amusing combination of "rack talk" and the obligatory
demonstrations of the particular gear.

Racks ranged from the "around the neck wire collar" in pretty basic forms,
to several freestanding devices.  For chromatic players, the completely
hands free chromatic harp designed by Vern Smith (
http://www.hands-free-chromatic.7p.com/) was demonstrated and played.  This
design eliminates the button, and instead the player achieves the sharps
articulation by pushing up on the mouthpiece, which moves up and down (as
opposed to side to side) to expose another set of reed plated to the
player.  This harp was demonstrated in a neck rack with a number of
adjustments.  One particularly useful comment involved positioning the rack
so that the harp player's neck was more upright, however this can interfere
with singing into a mic, so it promotes some other options.

Jimmy Lee said he preferred the bendable wire rack, and plays with the harp
a few degrees to one side (not straight on).  He played guitar (and sometime
harp) in at least 6 jam sessions during the conference with this kind of

Freestanding racks have the advantage of completely unrestricted use, but
due to issues of leverage and pressure from the player, typically require
heavier and more substantial platforms.  Peter "Madcat" Ruth demo'd his own
variation, which had a mic stand based device with variations.  The
particular mic stand had a circular base of some metal, which Madcat had
affixed to one end of a board about 12 x 18 inches in size, effectively
increasing the stability of the stand and its resistance to pressure from
the player.  On the mic end, his Shure 57B was augmented with a Whole Foods
medicine bottle and half of what appeared to be a Hohner special 20
harmonica case plastic insert.  These were taped together in a configuration
that at first glance appeared to be one of those upholstery attachments you
see with a vacuum cleaner.   This rack is gravity fed - just drop in your
diatonic, and play.  It worked great and allows rapid harp changes.

I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but that's one bit of experience I can


On Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 11:19 PM, ian collard <iancollard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> I'd be particularly interested in hearing about the playing harp in a rack
> seminar
> Ian
> On 14/08/2011, at 11:30 AM, Tony Eyers wrote:
> > OK all you lucky b*!@*&%ds who went to SPAH.
> >
> > How was it?
> >
> > I had vague plans to go this year, however air fares from Australia plus
> a week away from the real job and family intervened. I would loved to have
> been there, particularly for the bluegrass jams, maybe even with Buddy
> Greene. Not to be. Next year perhaps. I did go in 2005, had a ball.
> >
> > Maybe I could persuade Rick Dempster to come in 2012. Hell, why not Ian
> Collard as well and make it a real Australian invasion...
> >
> > Tony Eyers
> > Australia
> > www.HarmonicaAcademy.com
> > ...everyone plays

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