Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Snakeskin 5F2H Harp Amp is for Sale

UPDATE: This amp has been sold.

This is a one-of-a-kind amp designed and built specifically for excellent blues harp tone. It is 10 watts of vintage 6L6 attitude. I offer it for sale for $500.

It began its life as 5F2H kit from Weber, assembled by Adam at Tungsten Amps. The 5F2H harp amp circuit was developed by Bruce Collins of Mission Amps, inspired by the Premier Twin 8 amp of the early 60s. When I acquired the amp I took it to him for tweaks. It has a wonderful unique tone.

It was originally ordered from Weber with 12-inch speaker in a Deluxe-sized cabinet, while normal 5F2H amps have a 10-inch speaker in a smaller cab. It is a vintage Mojo Tone MP12R alnico speaker, their version of the classic Jensen speaker with the seamed, ribbed cone. It has the warmth and snarl of the old Jensens.

The amp is pure Class A, with one 6L6 power tube, a 5U4 rectifier tube, and a 5751 preamp tube. New spare power and preamp tubes (and fuses) are included, packed in bubble wrap and tacked to the inside of the cab, right where you need them if a tube pops during a gig.

Bruce Collins upgraded the tone stack with excellent K40Y paper-in-oil caps. He optimized the biases and voltages of the tubes for killer blues harp tone and installed a beefier output transformer. And he voiced the line out so that it is the best sounding I’ve ever heard.

You can hear this amp at my band website. Click the music player at the bottom of the web page to hear three songs featuring the 5F2H amp. I gigged this amp many times over the last year, and kept it in perfect condition. It was always covered and gently handled. There are no marks or scuffs on the amp.

It is loud enough for most gigs in small to medium rooms. I used the line out at bigger gigs, using the amp as an on-stage monitor. The amp weighs only 29 pounds.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

COMPARISON: Mission Chicago Amp vs. Sonny Jr. Cruncher

I was listening to samples of the Sonny Jr. Cruncher amp at his website, and I was struck by how different it sounds than the Mission Chicago amp. Check it out:

Here is an audio link to “Sonny Jr. Presents the Cruncher”

Now listen to the Mission Chicago Amp

The difference is startling, eh? I applied NO effects or EQ to either recording, just edited for brevity and normalized the levels.

-The SJ Cruncher is rather bright while the Chicago is deep.
-The SJ Cruncher sounds horn-like.
-Those thunderous fat chords on the Chicago amp will jiggle your liver.
-The Chicago amp seems louder, with bigger tone and more flexibility.

And… the Chicago amp costs about $500 less than the SJ Cruncher.

You can set the Chicago amp up to sound bright like the SJ Cruncher if you want to. There are a lots of audio and video samples at the Mission Harp Amps website.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dan Treanor's Blues Harp Blowout with RJ Mischo

The Old South Pearl Street Blues Festival in Denver, July 10 2010 - Dan Treanor's Blues Harp Blowout. This is the finale, with RJ Mischo, Ronnie Shellist, Clay Kirkland, Teresa Lynne, Al Chesis, Nic Clark, and Dan Treanor. They are all playing through RJ's chrome JT-30 microphone and a Fender blackface Super Reverb amp.

It was a great summer show. There are lots more videos from this festival at my YouTube channel.

I'll be playing at Dan Treanor's 4th Annual Rocky Mountain Blues Harp Blowout in October. Can't Wait!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Line 6 Relay G30 Digital Wireless System

Several readers have written to ask about the Line 6 X2 XDS95 Digital Wireless System I bought last year. Yes, I still use it and like it a lot. It has never given me any problems, and it is perfectly quiet and solid. The problem is, it has been discontinued by Line 6 and is no longer available.

This looks like its replacement: The Line 6 Relay G30 Digital Wireless System. The specs look very similar: a compact digital wireless with 100-foot range. A few changes are apparent: It uses the 2.4 Ghz frequency range, while the X2 broadcast on 900 Mhz. Another change is the price, with the newer model costing 100 bucks more. Still, for a sales price of $299 it looks like a good buy, and Guitar Center (where I bought my X2) was willing to deal. It includes a power supply, which the the X2 did not, and it has six channels, one more than the X2.

I haven't tried this unit yet, but if it takes up where the X2 wireless left off it is a great tool for harp players. If any of you get the opportunity to try this unit I'd like to hear your impressions.