Friday, April 16, 2010

Rick Estrin's Harp King Amp

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats were in town last Wednesday for a gig at the Toad Tavern. I arrived early to get a good seat. What a great show!

Rick had his trusty Kinder Harp King amp, similar to the one pictured above. It is a 6x10 monster with 100 (a hundred!) watts of power and Kinder's anti-feedback circuit. The amp sounded fantastic, with a huge, easy tone that seemed effortless.

Feedback was never an issue, but the band had such great stage volume discipline I was not surprised. Those guys played only at a moderate level and let the PA do all the work. I've played that stage several times; very good sound.

Estrin is a magnetic performer; one of the best harp guys out there. His guitar player -- Kid Andersen -- is a virtuoso and funny and engaging. His rhythm section is way in the pocket. As I was listening I realized the music was FUN. The whole thing made me smile.


Anonymous said...

I agree completely with your review. I saw Estrin twice last year, once at the Portland Waterfront blues fest. His set was only 40 minutes, but the best 40 minutes of the entire 4 day event. The drummer was the best drummer I'd ever seen, and his communication with "Kid" was amazing.

Anonymous said...

Two Rick Estrin shows in the Detroit area in the last 6 or 7 months. Your right, what a fun show and what fantastic musicians. Kid is great! I wasn't sure what to expect without Little Charlie and was certainly not dissapointed. There sound may have changed a little but they are every bit as great as ever.
Paul H.

Anonymous said...

It's Kid Andersen.

Unknown said...

Rick, a local player here in New Orleans, Smoky Greenwell, has that same amp. I played thru it last year(with Lee Oskar in the audience!)using Smoky's 545-wow, that thing was sweet. I dig the purple Tolex, too.

Rick Davis said...

Todd, that is so cool! Did you talk to Lee Oskar? I have not yet met him.

The Harp King is a one-of-a-kind amp, with gigantic tone. It's WAY overkill for most bar gigs, for sure. I'd need roadies to pack it around. But what a sound...

Mike Lynch said...

Lee Oskar lives here in the Seattle area. He plays at the Highway 99 Blues Club on the waterfront on the last Friday of every month.

Paul "KIngley" Routledge said...

Just so people know. Rod Piazza has taken over the HarpKing mantle and the 4X10 and 6X10 versions will soon be, being manufactured again.

I believe John Kinder will still be making them for Rod, but that it's Rod that will be marketing/selling them.

The prices are $2700USD (4X10) and $2800USD (6X10).

Ray Beltran said...

Gotta disagree with you on the "one-of-a-kind, WAY overkill for most bar gigs" comment.

Dennis Gruenling gave me a CD a few years back. A "bootleg" someone had recorded of him and his guitarist Doug Deming in a small coffee shop.

He had me listen to a few cuts and asked me, "Can you guess what amp I'm using?"

I told him I thought it was some sort of 6V6, 12" speaker job.

"Nope… it's my Harp King. It's the most versatile amp I've ever owned."

Thing sounds great turned down low. I've got the CD to prove it.