Re: [Harp-L] Sometimes ....

The first song in our normal set I use a G harp with an octave down effect that produces a very robust bottom end - I can see the surprise in the audience's faces immediately when they realize it's coming from me and my harp rig. I think fx can be over used, but I can tell you that from my gigging experience, the audience likes a varied sound from the harmonica. I use my vocal mic too and just play totally acoustic from time to time, just to keep people from hearing the same exact sound out of me. We usually finish our set on the floor acoustically (although I do use a Roland cube amp and a ring mic to be heard over the national steel reso guitar) but it's acoustic in an animated busking style and a right in your face good time. 

IMHO, sounding exactly the same throughout an entire set would likely get as boring to the audience as it does to me and my band mates. I love it when my bandmates do something totally different with their sound - our drummer rummages through garage sales and flea markets to come up with weird percussion elements, and our bass player tweaks his washtub bass through an fx pedal board to an 4x12 Ampeg bass amp! It's cool when you try something new and the bandmates tell you they heard it and thought it was great. 

btw, Richard's patch set for the RP 360 is so, so good! 

Ross Macdonald 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Hunter, Richard" <turtlehill@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
To: "harp-l, List" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 1:20:55 PM 
Subject: RE: [Harp-L] Sometimes .... 

One thing I know for sure: whenever anybody says "FX do some very cool things," a lot of people can be counted on to say "I sound just fine without 'em." 

To me that's missing the point. Of course harp without FX sounds fine. So does guitar. And keys. And all the other instruments where the players are lots more adventurous with their sounds than harp players. And getting a lot more work, too, as a rule. 

Clarinet without FX sounds fine, too. At one time it was a very prominent instrument in the popular music of its day--that is, the 1930s-40s. The records made in those days still sound great, but they don't sound much like what the public is paying to listen to now. I can't recall the last time I heard a band in any--I repeat, any--style featuring clarinet. Why not? It still sounds fine. But it doesn't sound like now. 

I would prefer not to see the instrument I have loved for close to 50 years go the way of the clarinet. To that end, I intend to keep pushing the boundaries of the instrument itself and the gear I use to make it loud and proud. I won't accept limits on the sounds I can make with a harmonica, anymore than I would with any other instrument. If I need to add something to the sound to make it bigger/wider/wilder/wierder, I will. If I played the clarinet, I'd damn sure be running that through a pitch shifter, a delay, and a wah-wah too, not because clarinet doesn't sound good, but because I have no intention of getting left behind while everyone else in the world gets to make the sounds of modern music. 

Of course, some people just don't much like modern music. There's no argument there; what you like is what you like. But I'd rather try to redefine it on my terms than pretend it's not there. 

FYI, I played today to an audience in Sao Paolo, Brazil, with chromatic jazz harmonica virtuoso Wim Dijkgraaf. Both of us played acoustic harp--me a Lee Oskar Natural Minor, Wim a Hohner CX12--through the same mic on "Comin' Home Baby." It was great; I'll see about posting my recording of it to my website later this week. That said, Wim told me he picked up a Digitech RP355, and I'm sending him my patchset right after I write this message. He doesn't need an RP to sound good. He wants an RP so he can sound different when he wants to. Is that a problem? Not for me. 

Regards, Richard Hunter 

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