[Harp-L] Harmonicaster Demo Video with Carl Caballero

Ronnie Schreiber autothreads@xxxxx
Mon Jul 17 04:46:20 EDT 2017

> <I am putting down Richard Hunter's name as I personally like his expertise
> <and work in electroharmonix.
> On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 8:20 PM, Ronnie Schreiber <autothreads at xxxxx
>> wrote:
>> https://youtu.be/i5TZS-ffRqo
> First, let me say that I'm impressed by what I heard on that video.  Those
> are some pretty cool sounds.  I've corresponded with Ronnie a few times
> about his invention, but this is the first time I've heard it.

Thanks for your kind words.

> I think there are some very interesting potentials where the Harmonicaster
> is concerned.  Ronnie's spent a lot of time and effort on making it loud,
> and loud is important in modern music.  (When you're playing in an arena,
> chamber music just doesn't cut it.)  The clip, short as it is, displays
> some pretty wide variations in tone too.

Loud is important, particularly because microphones are constrained by 
feedback, but as it worked out, Lace developed a pickup with tone that 
has impressed everyone who has heard it. First, they're just impressed 
that it works at all. You can see the surprise on their faces, but then 
they smile and say nice things about the tone.

> Ronnie's device is presumably compatible with the stuff I produce for
> multiFX devices, which of course interests me too.

As  a matter of fact, Stephen Hanner and I used a new Digitech RP360XP 
for demonstrating the Harmonicaster at the Summer NAMM show in 
Nashville.  Carl Caballero pointed out to me that one of the advantages 
of using an electric harmonica is that you don't need to lug around a 
big amp. You can bring a modeler and plug into the PA.

>   But the essential point
> about Ronnie's device is this: playing it is essentially playing the
> harmonica.

I've tried hard to make it as friendly as I can to players of 
conventional harmonicas, but it doesn't play exactly the same way just 
as a Fender Telecaster doesn't play exactly the same as a Martin 
acoustic guitar. It's got a mouthpiece that puts your lips a farther 
distance from the reeds. Getting the full deep bends on the low draw 
notes can be tricky at first. You can play it out of the box but it 
might take you a day or so to realize full potential on all the bends. 
In terms of action, the players with the most experience with the 
Harmonicaster tell me that it's not slow. You can see on Carl's video 
that he can play rapidfire notes without any problem.

>   In this example, the Harmonicaster is more like a piano fitted
> with some cool electronics--the same techniques apply, but you can do more
> with a given gesture than you could before.

Nice analogy. Or like a hollowbody electric guitar.  It still has an 
acoustic output. As a matter of a fact, at the NAMM show one player 
asked me if it can play "silently", meaning with headphones in a hotel 
room or bedroom. If your amp has a headphone output, you'd hear the 
amplified tone while everyone else would hear an acoustic harmonica.

> The Harmonicaster allows the player to use the expressive techniques
> harmonica players have developed over decades to create more explicitly
> electronic timbres.

One of the main advantages is access to the world of effects devices and 
pedals. My goal is to make harp players as big of gear heads as 
guitarists are.

> As such, it's a complementary device to the DM-48, not
> a competitor.

Agreed. I also see the Harmonicaster as something that could help every 
harmonica manufacturer, not just Seydel, who supplies me, by bringing 
new interest to the instrument.

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