[Harp-L] Re: Organ Sounds on Harmonica (on the cheap)

-----Original Message-----
>From: harp-l-request@xxxxxxxxxx
>Sent: Jul 19, 2012 8:17 AM
>To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: Harp-L Digest, Vol 107, Issue 23
Mike Fugazzi wrote:
>I know this is a popular topic about once a year.  I came upon the
>Behringer US600 pedal a couple of years ago and ended up not keeping it (I
>wanted to insert it on the wet side of a delay to have pitch shifted
>delays, but gave up on the idea).  It tracks very well and can be had new
>for $50 (it is not a POG, though!).  This can be combined with a Line 6
>Roto Machine (which I also had and sold when I moved to the M series
>effects from Line 6), which is $60 new.  So, for $110, you can have some
>solid organ sounds.  A Micro POG paired with a DLS Rotary pedal (well,
>there are a bunch of great rotary pedals in the $200-500 range) would sound
>better, but it is what it is.

And Robert Hale wrote:
>Try the Korg Pandora PXD4 for under $150. Leslie (rotary) can be set for
>hands-free speed changes based on signal level. Loud is fast; soft is slow.
>Plus every other effect is in there too.

To which I will add: the key to the most realistic possible Hammond organ sound is the ability to do multiple pitch-shifts combined with a rotating speaker (Leslie) effect.  A real Hammond organ works by adding or subtracting frequencies from the tone, and that's what multiple pitch shifts can do.  For added realism, the fast/slow speed on the rotating speaker should be under user control too.  I prefer a foot pedal for that purpose, but breath control can work too.

The price for devices that will do multiple pitch shifts at once is $300 and up, and those devices don't include a rotary effect, so that's extra.  In my opinion, the best rotary effect on the market under $200 is the one in the Digitech RP devices.  With RP150s and 155s going used well under $100, that's a good choice for the rotary.

Pitch shifting in the Digitechs is also very good, but the Digitechs will not allow pitch shifting and rotary speaker FX at the same time.  I don't know of any device under $400 that does.  So if you want the solution in a single box, you're talking about a POD HD or similar. If you're willing to go with two devices (at a lower price), they might as well both be Digitechs. Given the quality of the FX and the relatively low price (and the ability of the Digitechs to replace other devices in your chain, such as reverb and delay pedals).  I'd certainly prefer FX from Digitech to FX from Behringer.

Note that beyond the issue of device capability, there's the issue of programming the device, which takes time and effort.  The more you ask a device to do, the more time it takes to program. There's also the issue of stage setup--more devices means more setup time and more complexity in the rig.

Lately I'm performing with a looper and a single Digitech RP355, after spending some time working with a setup that included 3 RPs on the floor.  I find that the RP's rotary speaker works very well for conveying an organ sound, and it's a very simple setup.  I like having the rotary speed under footpedal control, too.  Finally, it's very nice to be able to sequence sounds on the device, and use a single press on a footswitch to dramatically change the sound.  

No single device does everything, so tradeoffs are necessary--more or less expense, more or less complexity, more or less functionality.   

Regards, Richard Hunter


author, "Jazz Harp" 
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