Re: [Harp-L] Digitech RP's

author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
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Twitter: lightninrickdfwhoot@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
I have a question on the Digitech  RP's. I have a 100, 200 and 350 and yea I can dial in some cool effects and will I ever use these effects on stage? Probably not , but they are there if I ever had the time to use them. I guess if you were fronting the gig and had everything all lined up , then you could work them in. But would you use all the different possibilities, probably not. At least I wouldn't. A multi genre gig maybe , but a local yokel gig, I don't know..
I don't think I've ever been to a gig where the harp player has used one, or at least multiple settings. 

So how does one go about setting up their RP so it is usable. I have never used one at a gig because I 'm not comfortable with pulling up Number 1, then 47, 79, then 20 etc. Is there an easier way?? How many setting does one one use anyway ? Depending on the gig, studio , whatever ? 

I'm not trying to be critical or bashing the thing, I think it's a great effect, I just don't know how to use it.   

First, the fastest and easiest way to set your RP up so that it's usable is to buy my patch set and install it.  You asked, and I told you.  There's no other easy way to set it up, not if your instrument is harmonica.  

Second, if you decide to roll your own, the 350 is the one to concentrate on, since it's by far the best-sounding, the most versatile, and the easiest to set up for a gig of the three RPs you mention.  (By the way, if you could never figure out how to set the RP up for a gig, why do you have three of them?)  

When I set up a patch set on the RP for my own use, I usually think in terms of styles and songs. The conventions of a style dictate what kinds of sounds might be usable; something heavily effected that works well for modern rock or funk might not work so well for blues.  I think in terms of all the instruments that have a role in the style, because with an RP I might be able to take on some of those roles.  Lots of blues bands have saxes and/or organs; with an RP I can fill those roles, at least with something that's in the sonic and emotional ballpark.  On the other hand, you don't hear a synthy sound with high octave doubles and a big digital delay in a lot of blues shows, so those sounds are out if the set is for blues.

Once the style is nailed with a selection of sounds--for blues, I'd think you'd want a selection of maybe 5-10 different amped harp sounds with different reverbs and delays, a rotating speaker (organ) sound or two, and a tenor sax sound at least, plus maybe an auto-wah for that funkish feel--you then set them up on the RP in the order you want to access them.  With only 10 or so sounds, you'd probably just want to lay them out in a row, starting in slot #1 in the user area of the RP.  With the RP350 and the Xedit software supplied by Digitech, that's pretty easy--maybe 15 minutes work to move the patches around into the slots you want them in.  

In my own setups--the ones I make for my personal use--I generally lay the sounds out on a song-by-song basis. I usually reserve half the slots in the user area for my standard patches--so I can easily grab one when needed--and use the other half for specific song setups. Especially in my looped work, I might use as many as 5 different sounds on a single song, and the EQ and FX on those patches might be tweaked to avoid conflicts between them when they combine in a loop.  Even when I'm playing with a band, meaning I don't need to cover more than one part in a song, I might use multiple sounds, and if I do I want them right next to each other in the order I'm going to access them, left to right.

Of course, in order to set up sounds that fill the various roles--or even just pile up a big selection of amped-up blues harp styles--you need to know something about how to program the thing.  I've been programming RPs for about 10 years, and I feel confident about the sounds I get out of them now.  That wasn't always the case.  It took me a couple of years with the RPs before I was ready to take one out on a gig by itself. These amo modeling devices are not intuitively obvious to set up for anything but guitar.  I've been working on the Zoom G3 now for almost two years, and I still don't feel that I've cracked it thoroughly. 

So there you go.  That's two ways to set the RP up for performance. You get faster, better, and easier results with the first. 

Regards, Richard Hunter  


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