Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Step Away From the Pedal!

Lately I’ve been hearing this sales pitch from effects pedal makers:  “Change things up!  Give your audience a little variety!”

Blues harp players have been doing exactly that for at least the last 65 years without the need for any trick pedals that make you sound like a kazoo or a kaliope.  

      Loosen up, baby!  Don’t play with a tight cup all the time.  That big tone is best used for effect, not for your constant sound.  Open up on the bullet mic.  Don’t squeeze it in a death grip every time you blow.

      Dynamic Duo!  Change up your volume and attack on the mic.  Use dynamics to be expressive.   Try this on a typical 24 bar solo:  In the first 12 bars play low and slow, staying on the low end of the harp.  Leave lots of space.  As you get to the turn-around move up to the 4 draw, and then the 5 draw to build tension as a transition to the second 12.  Ramp up the intensity for the second 12 bars, playing more of the second octave of the blues scale using the reeds in the middle of the harp.  Finish with a flourish.  Smile and wave at the outburst of applause. 

      Drop the Mic!  Put your bullet mic away and step up to the vocal mic.  Play a few songs acoustically, using all the cool hand effects.   Just get all Sonny Boy with it.

      It’s all about the Chrome!  Pull out that big chromatic harp for a couple songs and blow those big chords, either through your rig or into the vocal mic.  Show it off.

Mix it up.  The audience will love it and you will come off as a harmonica master, not just a pedal user.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The MM amp wins blind tone challenge on Facebook

Recently an independent blind comparison test on the “Harmonica Gear” page in Facebook compared the Memphis Mini amp to the sound of a cheap imitator amp. 80 percent preferred the sound the Memphis Mini.

Without knowing which amp was which, the words used to describe the Memphis Mini tone included:

- better
- best
- pitched better
- more versatile
- nicer
- better break up
- easier to listen to
- more bottom end
- full round trumpet-like tone
- satisfying honk and bark when pushed
- less fizzy/fuzzy
- less grainy and biting
- smoother on attack and not as bright
- more pleasant on the ears


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Best Harp Amp

Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the Memphis Mini has to be considered among the best harp amps out there.  Here are some newer videos showing its monster tone.