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Modulation effects

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Boris Plotnikov
Jan 26, 2010 12:17 PM GMT

I just interesting how many of us enjoy more effects than amp overdriving and delay.

Jason Ricci uses chorus for years (first he shows was Boss, now it's mind bender). To be honest I'm not a fan of choruses, I like Jason's chorus tone, but I don't want that effect for myself (maybe for some solos on clean harmonica, especially chromatic, not for amplified blues harp)

Chris Michalek uses great Line 6 modulation modeller MM4. And he uses much different modulated tones. I've heard ring modulation (i like it too) and vibrato.

John Popper is pure monster. He uses really rotating speaker like used in hammond organs to produce such tones.

I got one big stombox. It's electro-harmonix small stone made in Russia (yes EHX has one plant in St. Petersburg). It's pure cool effect. I can really emulate hammond organ, especially if I use it with octave down pitch shifter. It's too big and heavy to take it to rehearsals, but it have unique tone and I enjoy using it live in the accompainment.
russian smallstone

Listen to some samples. Harmonica sounds as quiet accompainment to vocals or guitars.

Do you like modulation effect? Which do you use.

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Comments (8)

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Jan 26, 2010 1:24 PM GMT
Boby Replied:

Boris, your sample clips are a perfect example of how harmonica can be beneficial to the song in which traditional harp sound might not fit so well. Also, by emulating Hammond/Synth the harp player can find a lot more space for himself in various situations. Especialy since "fillinh in the gaps" style of the blues harmonica is not siutable for many modern genres.

Since I have a 2 in 1 pedal (Delay & Chorus - Visual Sound H2O) that I use for delay, I sometime kick in the Chorus. I don't like it that much, as well. But it can sometimes be useful to wake up the crowd with a new sound.

I have an octave and envelope filter stomp boxes to make some really cool sounds, and alongside the delay and reverb, a good phaser might really push it to another dimension!

I'll definetly try it one day.

Jan 26, 2010 1:48 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

You can listen to whole tracks at my page. It's just samples of phaser using. All these tunes have harmonica solos too with clean or overdriven tone.

I want me an envelope filter too. It's not modulation, but they are great too. Jason Ricci and Chris Mickhalek use Maxon AF-9 but they are a bit pricey. Which one do you use?

Jan 26, 2010 5:50 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Boris --

Nice clips, I enjoyed them. I have a few old MXR phaser pedals. The Phase 90 was perhaps too subtle for harmonica (perfect for guitar) but the Phase 100 altered the sound nicely. Now, I want to try it some more and also try my Electro Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress flanger pedal from the 1970's.

Thanks for inspiring me!

Jan 26, 2010 7:31 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Flangeralters harmonica tonetoo heavy for my taste, the same I can say about vibrato. Phaser or leslie emulator are my favorite effects.

I also love ring modulator. I have great noise pedal Ibanez PM7 Phase Modulator. It has relatively good phaser (but not as good as Small Stone), ring modulation and sequencer phaser (it's possible to emulate electronic music). If I'm lazy to carry Small Stone with me I'm happy to play through PM7.

Jan 28, 2010 12:03 AM GMT
Boby Replied:


I had a Mxon AF-9 and didn't like it so much that I sold it back the same week. It was practically unusable for me. It sounds thin and the responce is allways TOO FAST. It did sound a little better with a hotter signal imput (when I put a booster or EQ before the Maxon) and I could play a little before I got annoyed. But I could't play it longer than a few minutes.

I don't her Jason using it so much, and Chris... I don't know, he kinda makes it sound better.

But I prefer my Mu-Tron III which sounds much more natural, sensitive and full in tone.

btw, i found the Subdecay Prometheus to be even more unusable for harmonica. It might be that all 9V envelope filters sound too thin for harp. My Mu-Tron runs at 12V-24V. I 'd like to try the EHX Q-Tron which should be a copy of the Mu-Tron, but many people said they don't sound the same. When I have time I'll go and A/B test them together.

Jan 28, 2010 5:09 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

You can listen to Jason and Chris playing AF-9 in their videos.

Chris showing his gear

Jason show his pedalboard is pressed on around abuot 9th minute).

As far as I understand both Jason and Chris use their AF-9 with octave shifter pressed on.

Feb 23, 2010 5:40 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

I finally made my way around to trying my old Electro Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress Flanger from the 1970's for harmonica. I like it more for guitar, but it gave some cool swoopy swirls after the notes. It wouldn't be an effect I'd want to hear all night, but it would be great for certain songs.

Feb 23, 2010 6:27 PM GMT
bluesmandan Replied:


I was repairing an EH BassBalls pedal for a friend a few weeks back and figured "give it a try with a harp" and it was a very interresting effect indeed... Not sure if it would be a much used effect, but was certainly cool... The pedal is much the same design of the small stone with the color switch replaced with distortion... Seems like the same concept and is definitely the same pedal shell...

Perhaps on some 70's funk???

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