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mic or not to mic

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May 18, 2009 3:08 PM GMT

I have a wonderful mic that was made for me by Greg ( Blowsmeaway ). Greg worked with me and he has my loyalty and trust...

ok, thats it with the brown nosing....

I love the mic, I love the sound thru my amp ( not a great one but it work, its a Roland Micro Cube ) I was givin anequalizerby a harp buddy of mine and its cool to fool around with...I hoping to upgrade my amp and get a lone wolf one day.... Im only using it to practice in the house and at partied with friends and family and open mic. Im not even sure what a lone wolf does.

my problem:

This past Sunday I was practicing with aguitarbuddy of mine and I could not get into the mood.

Once I put down the mic and stared to play my hands went wild... my tone asdifferentI was able to fly.

I made love to my harp like never before.

My Question:

is this nomal ( ok, maybe making love to a harp is not normal ). and no I don't have pictures.

My buddy and wife notice thedifferencein my playing. so is this (holding the Mic ) something to get use to.

or whenusinga mic thats just the way it is.

I hope i made some kind of sense. if not just keep asking me questions.

Thank you all in advance.


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Comments (8)

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May 18, 2009 4:05 PM GMT
Bulldog B Replied:

When you look at harp players in photos or film clips from the 60's, you see that "The Chicago School" (Little Walter and Paul Butterfield for example) cupped the mike, but almost everyone else stood back about 6" from the mike and used hand effects. Somehow cupping has become the norm, probably because it makes it easier to get the over-modulated "Chicago" sound. But with all the effect boxes and pedals available today, I'm not sure that it's really necessary anymore.

May 18, 2009 4:27 PM GMT
AirMojo (Ken H) Replied:

Microphones (and amps) will add a different dimension to your harp playing... this I have been discovering for myself for the past couple of years.

I practice and play acoustically most of the time, and do not play out much for various reasons, but when I do, its usually to sit in with a band and then I use a vocal mic that is already setup.

Acoustic harp playing and using your hands is much more intimate and natural, so it should feel more normal, and you should like it and love it more. I spend a lot more time playing this way, so it feels more natural and less artificial than playing amplified. I can not play amplified most of the time, so it will never be as natural for me as playing acoustically.

Playing acoustically with a other musicians is a real treat... you don't have to be loud to enjoy the music. I would much rather play acoustically with other musicians.

I do love playing amplifed, and have a variety of mics, amps, and effects to play and experiment with. Amplifed harp playing is like playing a whole different instrument. But to get the best sound, you will always sound better if your acoustic playing is the best it can be.

I would think most harp players would feel this way.

May 18, 2009 5:34 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

ok now im more confused.

If you don't use a mic , you cant be heard . Bulldog I did notice how the older films that they do use two mic's. I thought one was for the harp and the other was for singing.

AirMojo what king of amps,mic,and effects do you have ?

ok, im hungry and Im changing the oil in mu van and I was invited to go sit in with some guys that are practicing. and if I don'[t put oil in the van i wont be going........

I got the call after I starteddrainingthe oil....myluck/

I will continue topractice, at least now i know its not me and it the way it is.....

thanks guys this helps.

May 18, 2009 5:58 PM GMT
Bulldog B Replied:

I may not have understood your original post. I'm saying use a mike, but don't cup it - leave it on the stand and play about 6" away from it. You won't get the over-driven "Chicago Sound," but you'll have all the advantages of playing acoustically, just louder. For me personally, if I try to cup the mike it seems to cramp my style - I can get "lost in the music" more if I don't cup it. Probably because I never practice with a mike or amp. Others may feel the opposite - just my experience/opinion.

May 18, 2009 7:09 PM GMT
AirMojo (Ken H) Replied:

I guess what I was saying is that playing with most microphones (especially bullet mics) does not feel natural like when you play unamplified with just your hands.

If you want to use your hands, then you will have to play in front of a vocal mic, etc, or try one of the smaller or tiny mics, like the Shaker Madcat, Harmonica Honker, or the Microvox (Mr Microphone, Dennis Oelig). I'm not sure what else is available.

I have a Shaker Madcat, as well as a few other bullet mics, and an Blowsmeaway Ultimate Shure 57. They all sound different to some degree.

I don't play enough amplified to recommend one over the other... it all depends on what you want to play and how you want to sound. I like them all.

I would love to try a Honker or Microvox... too bad for us harp players, that you can't try these out at a local Music store.

I like using my wireless Samson AP1/AF1 setup, so I need to be able to plug into the mics with a 1/4" male plug (like a guitar cable). Which is why I would not even consider a Hohner wireless setup. I want to use my other mics too !

For amps I have a SJ Cruncher, a 1970 Fender Vibro Champ, and lil Pignose and a Hog-20.

I like using my Boss DM-2 delay for effect.

May 18, 2009 9:01 PM GMT
Maciek D Replied:

Playing without a mic is just more comfortable. Hands have got more space to move and you're not thinking about "cup as tight as possible" playing that manner. This allows you also for more subtle playing effects. It's almost with every harper that playing is more natural and easy going without a mic. What's more, you can vary the dynamics better that way, instead of playing with a mic. Player have to get used to hold a bullet while playing and it'll come with time. When I play to ex. a jam tracks with a mic and honeytone amp sometimes I just can't get into it, but when I put the mic down it's going much easier. Using the handheld mic it's a way different style of playing. I'm just a beggining player (only 4 years)but without the mic, my hands do what they should and I don't have to think about it. While playing bullet I have to relearn what my hands should do, becuase they will give different effects. And when the thinking is involved one may have problems with getting the groove. I hope it'll develop in time.

May 18, 2009 11:48 PM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

Abner, I answered on HARP-L, but basically, playing acoustic and playing amplified are simply two different kinds of fun. It takes a long time in either discipline to get great tone and to get a really good cup, which allows you to get that super-muted(acoustic) or super-overdriven (amplified) sound. It is not sufficient to seal the back of the harp to the mic (or your hands) - you must also block all the open holes on the front of the harp to get this maximum effect. When you do, you'll find a large range of expression is available to you when you play amplified as well. Before you get there, you'll hear much less difference between your cupped and uncupped playing.

May 19, 2009 12:47 AM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

Thank you guys, Yes Greg i did read your reply on Harp L....

So the Answear is...... with or with out a mic the sound will be different. and thats normal.

You have no idea how good this makes me feel... instead of trying to sound the same with mic or no mic. I can now relax andunderstandthattheiris adifferenceand once I hear it I can use one or the other when I need to.

I just spent the day working on three cars in im wiped.

Thank you guys very much in helping me get a grasp on the situation ,,,,, get it grasp.....

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