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Acoustic amps for harmonica?

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Boris Plotnikov
Dec 02, 2009 8:15 AM GMT

Does anyone love amps for acoustic instrument? I’ve tried AAD by Phil Jones AG-100 CUB
I was impressed by bass which produced by two small 5-inch speakers. It weighs less than my bag with harps and mics! With my LoneWolf Harpattack it gives really cool tube overdriven tone, not worse than my copy of Fender Pro JR with Jensen 10’ speaker.
But I can’t get clean jazz tone from Pro JR it’s a bit muddy when clean while with AG-100 I can switch Harpattack on for funk/blues/rock tunes and off for ballades and jazz tunes. I wanna try other acoustic amp, but I’m not sure that small high frequency twitter is good thing for harmonica tone. Unfortunately didn't try it live, only at home... Anyone use this amp?


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Comments (11)

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Dec 04, 2009 5:03 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Given that acoustic guitar is another instrument that suffers from feedback, it makes sense that an acoustic guitar amp would work well for harmonica, as long as you wanted a clean sound, or were using an effect like the Lone Wolf Harp Attack for the overdrive sound. I also wonder if people are using these types of amp. That said, I adore the sound of natural tube overdrive ... which I assume is not likely in these amps.


Dec 04, 2009 7:15 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

I play different styles, usually during one gig. Jazz, blues, funk, rock, acoustic... So if i have time for soundcheck and club allow me 3 ways ofplaying (amp + acoustic + cupped mic with tube pre to PA) i feel good. Usually I have to use one amp for all cases + sometimes vocal mike... Looking for best compromise...


Dec 06, 2009 3:17 AM GMT
John P Replied:

I use an SWR Baby Baby Blue which is an acoustic bass amp that has a tube preamp in it. Semi parametric EQ which provides almost total control over tone shaping. 120 watts and does not feedback. Has one 10 and a piezo tweeter, but I turn the tweeter off (there's a switch on the back of the amp for doing that).Best harp amp i've ever played through.


Dec 06, 2009 3:55 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

John P

I’ve already read in some reviews that SWR Baby Baby Blue is harmonica friendly. I go interested in. I need to knock over a bank to try all new harp models and try some more amps.


Dec 06, 2009 4:29 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Do you have some samples or recordings with harp through this SWR? MAybe other bass amps?

I've tried some amps (Marshall, Trace Elliot, Ampeg) with 15'' speaker but they usually suck for harp. Small russian Yerasov bass have a good tone but was prone to feedback and was not enough loud.


Dec 12, 2009 7:26 PM GMT
Bart L Replied:

Hi Boris! Did you try Roland AC-60 or AER Alpha ? When I play jazz gigs I use AC-60 or ART V3 Studio tube preamp. Great sound and good control on this. Greets!


Dec 13, 2009 5:48 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Hi Bart, I don't try these amps and I have to try it. I've heard that AER is very good amps. Only think i dislike vith acoustic amp is twitter. I like the way how speaker change harmonica tone.


Dec 15, 2009 12:24 AM GMT
John P Replied:

A friend of mine has an AER and i've played through it. Very nice sounding high quality amp with a clean tone. Small and light, but big sound. Sounds better for harp using the 1/4" input with a transformer on the mic cord instead of plugging into the XLR input, but this is true for every acoustic amp I've ever tried that has both a 1/4" iinput and an XLR input.

Can't turn off the tweeter on the AER like i can (and do) on my SWR. Haven't done any recordings with my SWR yet, but my band may be doing some promos to put up on the bandleader's web site. If we do, i'll let you know. The SWR Baby Baby Blue has been discontinued and replaced by a new model called the Spellbinder Blue, but i haven't played through one of the new ones. Both have a tube preamp in them, which is cool.

i played through a Behringer bass amp one night that had a 15" Black Widow speaker in it and it sounded great. I plugged into the low gain input which is what i almost always do when i play through an amp that has two 1/4" inputs.

Eden makes a bass amp with two 10's and a tube pre that looks like it may be harp friendly. i know a bass player that has one, but I haven't tried it.


Dec 15, 2009 1:34 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

It's like a dream to have one amp for playing clean clear and overdriven at the same gig, not to be dependable of PA engineer. It looks that bass amp can be that amp (with help of harpattack).


Dec 16, 2009 12:34 AM GMT
John P Replied:

Personally, I never set up for a distorted sound, and i don't use bullet mics. I set up relatively clean, but with fat low mids on the EQ , and a hot enough signal to make the mic responsive, and when i want distortion, i create it with a tight cup and throat constriction. BUT, if i were to use an overdrive pedal of some kind (like an MXR Microamp--I've never used a HarpAttack), i suspect my SWR bass amp could give me an overdriven sound if that was what I was after.

I think I can get more interesting sounds without distortion. But everyone has their own style.


Dec 16, 2009 3:52 PM GMT
John P Replied:

I should add that although the tube pre in my bass amp can be adjusted to provide a little grit and texture, any overdriven tone would need to come from a pedal since the amp will not break up like a tube amp will when pushed hard. After all, it has a sold state power stage. But this is fine with me, because i can get dirt when i want it with mic and breath technique. i am not into "crunch."



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