Monday, January 26, 2009

My Band Pic

Roadhouse Joe is playing at Buffalo Rose in Golden, CO on February 19th.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Champ and 5F2H Amps

Last night I went over to RoadHouse Joe’s bass player’s house to jam and work on some material. He plays killer slide guitar. Anyway, I took along my trusty old 1970 Fender Champ since I hadn’t played it much in the last few months because of the acquisition of the snakeskin 5F2H amp.

Holy Shit! I’d forgotten how really outstanding that amp sounds. After the tubes were nicely warmed up I cranked it up to 8 (which still ain’t very loud) and jammed on a long, greasy vamp with Rob playing slide. Mercy, but that little Champ was singin’!

I was playing a Low F harp into a bullet mic with a Shure CM element. The Champ, as you may recall, has been modified a bit: Weber 10-inch 10A125-O speaker, NOS RCA 6V6 power tube, 5751 preamp tube, Weber Copper Cap 5Y3 rectifier, and the negative feedback loop defeated.

It has a little less dirt than the 5F2H, with a beautiful tearing on the edges of the notes. With the alnico speaker it compresses a bit more than the 5F2H. The snakeskin amp sounds big, mean and edgy (kinda like me) while the Champ is more sedate. The snakeskin amp has more colors in its tone, but the Champ has a gorgeous unity of sound.

I understand why people pay big bucks for boutique amps, but these two little guys are the best-sounding small harp amps I’ve ever heard. They’re not exactly cheap, as I’ve probably spent about $600 getting the Champ right, and a little more on the 5F2H. But they are way cheaper than most boutique amps.

I’m looking into producing and marketing the 5F2H harp amp, with a selling price around $700, assembled and tweaked by the guy who originally designed it. More on that later…

Friday, January 23, 2009

Roadhouse Joe

My new band, Roadhouse Joe, has a couple of new websites up and we've recorded a Demo CD. Check it out:

From the initial press release:

Roadhouse Joe is made up of some of Denver’s finest veteran blues players who have joined together to produce a powerful and compelling sound; a burst of roadhouse energy from Chicago to the Mississippi Delta.

Scott Mishoe – guitar. Scott is known for his technical brilliance on guitar, with slashing leads and soulful chops straight out of a juke joint.

Scott “Hunt” Huntington – singer. Hunt is a unique and extremely talented singer, steeped in jazz and blues. His voice is perfect for our music; powerful and nuanced.

Stuart Aron – drums. Stuart is a monster drummer who brings complex rhythms and musical ideas to our band. He thickens our sound with his intricate, in-the-pocket patterns.

Rob Leavitt – bass. Rob is fresh from his stint with an Acid Blues band. He lays down a solid bottom end with outstanding touch and dynamics. He gives our band its punch.

Rick Davis – harp. Rick is a veteran of more than three decades of blues harp work. His style is old-school Chicago, with a soulful howl you will not soon forget.

The result is a smoky, rowdy blues vibe; an honest blues sound that pays homage to the greats like Albert King, BB King, Muddy Waters, and Paul Butterfield.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Al Chesis' Custom Harp Amp

Last week I played at a blues jam hosted by blues harp heavyweight Al Chesis and the Delta Sonics. Al is a monster harp guy, the best in Denver by far, and his harp rig is very cool.

He plays what looks to be an old tweed Bassman clone, but it sounds way better than any Bassman I’ve ever heard. It is actually a custom amp tweaked mostly by my buddy Bruce Collins of
Mission Amps.

It’s a Mojo bassman cab with a custom 3x10 baffle. Speakers are two old Weber VST P10Rs on the bottom and a Jensen reissue P10R on top. This amp has some BIG tranny iron: A low-voltage 50-watt PT and 45-watt Super Reverb-sized OT. We are talking HONK, Baby!

Here’s the cool part: Al can run the amp with two 6V6, 6L6, or KT66 power tubes. The night I played it Al was using two 6V6s and a 5Y3 rectifier, making about 14 watts. The tone was warm and dark and fat, like the biggest fucking blackface Fender Princeton you’ve ever hear. It was not gritty, but SMOOOOTH…..

Al plays an old JT-30 crystal mic. He gets incredible tone with this rig, and I liked the way I sounded too. It had plenty of punch to carry the small rowdy club. Feedback was never an issue. But bar fights were. It was a very fun night.

Sorry I don’t have any sound clips; I’ll record the amp later and add links here.

Epiphone Valve Junior Combo Amp

Hi Rick,

My name is Louis, a harp player from Singapore. I've recently made a few sound clips of my valve junior combo on my soundclick site to share with you.

My valve junior is my everyday practice amp. I've changed the preamp tube to a 12DW7 and the power tube to a lower grade EL84. Both tubes were ordered from eurotubes. The 12DW7's lower gain factor faces the mic side while the 100 factor faces the el84. This effectively reduces the mic input gain while maintaining full power at the output. The result was much better clean headroom but still manages to distort nicely when stressed. The recordings were made with a Zoom H2 on low mic gain placed 2 ft away from the amp. On some samples I used an artec parametric eq. I find this quite useful since the valve junior has no built in volume control. I like to use it like a tone control, chopping off the offensive feedback causing high freq then boosting it. I think it sounds pretty good for the chromatic harp.

Please tell me what you think.

Happy New Year,

Great playing, Louis! The Epi Valve Jr Combo sounds great with that 545 mic. Good playing too; nice tone. I particularly like these two:

Seydel 1847 with Shure 545SD

Hohner Marine Band with Shure 545SD