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Harp players are hard on mics.

Back to the Maintenance, Repair and Customization Room

Chris C
Jan 11, 2010 12:49 AM GMT

My beloved SSS Dynamike (pictured) failed at a gig last week. Luckily I had my Loud Bark mic on hand for a quick replacement before the first solo. It had been modified by Greg so I know all the soldering was good but the lead just hangs down to a switchcraft conector and I have a volume control next in line. Now I move around alot when playing and the Im sure with the weight of the volume control this must be hell on the cable in the mike. I know I will be able to fix it but I had an Idea. What about a strong spring wrapping around the cable where it exits the mic? I'm sure its not a new idea so does anyone do this?



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Comments (22)

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Jan 11, 2010 8:05 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

Hey Chris, cables and connections are a pain, aren't they! I don't use my green bullet anymore 'cause I've given up trying to repair the grounding. My switchcraft cable for my JT30 failed a couple weeks ago with the center core wire breaking off from the solder bead. I re-soldered it but it's still acting up. Had to hard bend the 1/4" over to get a connection at a jam last week. Was using a house supplied Blues Jr. I had never used before. Ordered a new cable from Greg next day. He talks about glueing the shrinkwrap to the cable and the connector to prevent the cable from spinning and breaking the wire connection. Sounds like solid idea. Don't know if it would be possible to fix a cable to a mic housing somehow to stop cable spin as well.



ain't busted but I'm badly bent


Jan 12, 2010 1:54 AM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

@ Chris - sorry to hear about your problems.I know you love the mic. But I know you also know that mic was never meant for the kind of duty it is seeing. The strain relief system for the cable just isn't good enough. I tried to make everything I could better than it was, but I think all you can do is keep fixing it and expecting it to break again.

@BlueMoose - yeah, nothing motivates me like having my own stuff fail. It took me a few years to really understand how and why screw-on cables fail - but since I've started doing everything I do to prevent it, I've had very good success with my own and my customers. I also include a little educational blurb with each cable to help the USER understand how and why they fail - because just being aware of it and correcting bad habits will greatly prolong the life of your cable.

Cheers

BlowsMeAway Productions
Bluestate
Bluestate on CDBaby
Bluestate on iTunes



Jan 12, 2010 3:50 AM GMT
Chris C Replied:

Greg said,
' But I know you'know ' that mic was never meant for the kind of duty it is seeing. The strain ' relief system forthe ' cable just isn't good enough. I tried to make everything I could better ' than it was

I certainly don't think your responsible for my mistreatment of antiques.

I guess your saying that a Spring wrapping where the lead exits the mic may not help. How bout a rubber grommet?

Cheers Chris



Jan 12, 2010 4:51 AM GMT
Jawbone K Replied:

i know a guy who, when he runs a cable straight out of a green bullet, he makes a knot in the cable inside the shell. he doesn't mess with connectors, just runs the cable from the element to the 1/4" jack into the amp. he swears by this as a method to keep the cable from pulling out.

i prefer a 1/4" female jack in the mic shell and a good guitar type cable to the amp. i can use any cable to plug in, if my cable fails i can conceivably beg steal or borrow one on the spot. even the m43u i had greg modify for me has a switchcraft 5/8" screw on to 1/4" female jack for a connector. this seems to work for me. i don't move around a whole lot, in fact in the roots/blues duo we sit down to play. Jolene can't hold a guitar up by a strap due to shoulder/neck issues so it just makes sense to sit. this is very easy on a harp mic. but even when i'm at a jam or a full electric gig with a band, i stay pretty much in one small circle.

a few years ago we opened for bobby rush, me and a band i was working with. in my excitement, i stepped on my mic cable and it pulled out of the mic during the first turnaround of a solo. i had to bend down and grab it and plug it back in, but there was no harm done to the mic, and i did the second half with no problem- staniding still! i still use that one these days.

i say to each their own and whatever works for you is the right thing.



Jan 12, 2010 8:37 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

@Harpaholic - Wow! great looking cables. That last red one just rocks. I like the 1/4" plug end as well. Big ass connector with a spring to boot.

With the coloured plastic/vinyl layer over the cable how flexible is it?

moose.



ain't busted but I'm badly bent


Jan 12, 2010 10:07 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

Just went to check the mail and greg's cable was at the door. What service!! :)

Looks rugged and solid end to end but with a nice flexible feel, coils real easy (still working on that over under thing)

And a very sensible cheat sheet for not screwing up again...er, more. :)



ain't busted but I'm badly bent


Jan 14, 2010 7:41 PM GMT
ron a Replied:

I make my mics with standard 3 pin xlr connectors so a regular microphone cable can be used. It won't pull out ever. Of course my mics are all low impedance anyway and need a transformer, which i plug into the amp or pedal. Lately, I have gone wireless and use xlr to my body pack connector on the other end of the cable..very short, and sticks right with me when i play. No transformer required for that setup, very light and mobile. I keep my mic in a "holster" i made from a pvc plumbing screw ring attached to my belt loop. I do have one mic still with a 1/4 inch female in it. I will only use it wireless with a short cable.



Jan 14, 2010 10:55 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

Ron, I have an old cool looking Astatic mic that has a XLR connection but I could never get the plug to set firmly and not cut off and on. Do you have any issues with the connection loosening up and/or any solutions?



ain't busted but I'm badly bent


Jan 14, 2010 11:58 PM GMT
Chris C Replied:

Hey Greg, you know almost the first time I used that mic after your work on it I was playing in a little club in Darwin to a great little crowd. I had not drawn any attention to it but this woman in the crowd keep exclaiming, 'That's a million dollar mic!'. It was a little wierd but in a good way. Made me smile.

Definately worth fixing up again. I might try clamps inside and out, a rubber grommet and a Spring wrapping which will also hide the the second clamp! Now that's a plan.



Jan 16, 2010 4:42 PM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

Chris - the key thing is to find a mechanism that not only transfers all of the pull on the cable to the shell, but also doesn't let the cable spin. Grommets and clips alone won't do it. If you can affix a spring and glue the cable inside it, that might help.

BlowsMeAway Productions
Bluestate
Bluestate on CDBaby
Bluestate on iTunes



Jan 17, 2010 7:46 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

im lost here. I have seen Jason play and its a good thing he is cord less. I do know he uses Gregs mic, jason told me so... name dropping ; )

I have seen C. Musslewhite play, Sugar Blue and many more on TV or other media sources. When I play its so hard to move around and there are so many cables on the floor to watch out for ( also since my knee operation) I am very careful where I stand and how I move. I also think about the cost of replacing a great mic ( also from Greg ). all this keep me very well planted.

So im wondering do you guys jump around the stage or is it someone esle who F's up your cable ?

abner ( BluEyes, oh so very tired.)



Jan 20, 2010 7:50 AM GMT
Andrew T Replied:

I'm not into how Green Bullets and knock offs have the chord coming directly out of the microphone. I'm hard enough on gear that I really believe it would be safer, more effecient, and easier to maintain if ALL mics had detatchable cables, in the way vocal mics do. The only harp, bullet style mics I have seen like that, though, are custom made by local individuals.



Jan 20, 2010 12:01 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

To avoid connectors problems, cable problems and mic dropping just wrap mic cable around your hand twice like on picture. You'll be sure that if you or anyone else step on your cable you don't drop your microphone and you don't ruin your connector.



Jan 21, 2010 1:06 AM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

Boris is that you in the pic, if it is nice job. you look like you know what your doing. if its not you my bad.

I do like the style and it makes a lot of sense. l also like the belt.

abner ( BluEye, looking )



Jan 21, 2010 7:13 AM GMT
Chris C Replied:

Abner, Yes I do move around a fair bit. Cant help my self. Also because a I play other instruments as well I'm always putting it down and picking it up. I was putting it hanging from my kryboard stand but that is a bad idea. I need a little hanger. I have seen them for bullet mics. Next project. This is me playing a boomerang in Bb. Nice harp but a bit out of tune.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyXDNwBDGEg



Jan 21, 2010 10:10 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Abner

Thank you! Yes, this is me, my set at 2009 moscow harmonica festival.

BTW It's not the best belt I have. It's main feature it fits chromatics.



Jan 21, 2010 5:56 PM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

Andrew said: "I'm not into how Green Bullets and knock offs have the chord coming directly out of the microphone. I'm hard enough on gear that I really believe it would be safer, more effecient, and easier to maintain if ALL mics had detatchable cables, in the way vocal mics do. The only harp, bullet style mics I have seen like that, though, are custom made by local individuals."

Andrew - you're absolutely right - a cable permanently mounted to a shell is wrong, wrong, wrong. Hard to store, prone to break and hard to repair. Removing the cable and installing a screw-on connector is one of the most common mods I do for customers.

FYI - some old JT30's came stock with the screw-on connector.


BlowsMeAway Productions
Bluestate
Bluestate on CDBaby
Bluestate on iTunes



Jan 21, 2010 6:13 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

Dang it I lost my comment again. now I have to try an say all the good thing about Chris.

lets see if I can do it again. Boris and chris you guys look good. Ok Chris you need to change the sweater in you vid.

Chris I saw the vid of the band, First things first. very good sound. I would diffetnetly go see you guys play. I don't understand what your meant about being off key at time the whole band and your self sounded great. the only thing I would critic is not being abel to hear your sound better. Now i have no right to say a thing about how thing are set up. I just would have enjoyed listening to our sound. but I would diffeently see you guys play.

abner ( BluEyes)




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