Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Harp Amps and the PA
Harp Amps  and the PA
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Butterfield fan
1 post
Feb 26, 2019
1:46 PM
Hey Guys, looking for some advice on Harp amps when playing with a band that has volume. The guitarist is loud, we play stones and who numbers and i need a harp amp to be able to match his sound i am also fed-up of the dry sound of the harp through the vocal mike.

My question is this am i better going for a small amp 10 Watt and miking through Pa or going for a bigger amp?

so the lone wolf harp train 10 watt verses the lone wolf harp train 40?

Cheers
The Iceman
3780 posts
Feb 26, 2019
1:55 PM
Best way to play rock and roll with insane electric guitar is going for BIG AMP....Rick Estrin was tired of competing with the live over the top volume of Little Charlie, so he bought a Harp King amp...
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The Iceman
6SN7
826 posts
Feb 26, 2019
2:15 PM
big amp
jbone
2846 posts
Feb 26, 2019
3:00 PM
4 x 10 Bassman, mic to the p.a. I had a replica '59 that was major good, volume plus tone. Not cheap but it was worth it. Steve Clark of Sligo Amps if he's still in business- it's been over a decade.
My hearing and voice suffered though so I backed off of loud outfits years ago. The amp got me a fishing boat! I reverted to 12w amp and work with my wife/duo partner now.
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hvyj
3681 posts
Feb 26, 2019
3:40 PM
Big amp. Among other things, it will be easier for YOU to hear. Also, you can better adjust in order to be heard among the competing frequencies in a live setting. Sometimes to cut you need to get UNDER (tonally) the guitar a little bit. Can’t do that with a little amp. What may sound good at home won’t necessarily sound good at a gig where there are so many competing freqs. Use a big boy rig.

Btw, if the guitar is really loud, you may need to mic the amp anyway for presence. But if you have a decent size amp, you won’t need to go through the monitor mix which can cause feedback if you’re not careful. TRUE STORY: Harp player is sitting in with a band where only the vocals are going through the monitors. He’s playing through a 5 watt amp set up next to the guitar player’s Fender Twin Reverb RI. He comes off stage complaining that he can’t hear himself. I said, well no kidding, you’ve got a tiny amp sitting next to the guitar player’s Twin. He gives me a puzzled look and says, but I miced my amp! Go figure...

FWIW, don’t limit yourself to considering only harp specific amps. Some guitar and some bass amps sound great for harp with some tube swaps.

Last Edited by hvyj on Feb 26, 2019 4:10 PM
SuperBee
5832 posts
Feb 26, 2019
4:36 PM
Some folks seem to manage with a small amp on stage, Miked or lined out.
I’m not sure how they hear it on stage though.
A few possibilities are: that the stage volume may not be all that loud
Position of the amp can make a big difference. I saw Collard playing a valve jr and he had it in front and pointed towards him. The foh Sound was coming through the pa so it really didn’t matter that the amp was not facing the audience.

If you can get your monitor close to your ears you have a better chance of hearing it.
I’ve also noticed that locating the amp with a decent separation from other on stage amps helps. Some stages are very tight and this is not always easy to achieve.

Harp coming back to you through pa monitoring is also a possibility but if your amp is miked (especially) then you must be vigilant about position of pa monitor relative to harp amp/mic as well as your harp mic. With a line out it should be easier to manage feedback especially if you can control the level of harp in particular monitors.

Also lots of players manage loud without on stage amp and deal with the dry PA sound through use of pedal-style preamps etc. on stage sound is managed similar to a line out from an amp.

The major disadvantage of these arrangements is reliance on the person managing the pa.

With a big amp on stage, you can have control of your stage sound. I was usually ok with a 60w 410 but sometimes even that was marginal.
These days I’m using a Sonny jr 2 which has 6 8”s in 2 arrays of 3, each array at 25 watts. The band is not that loud and the amp sounds good at a range of levels. It’s got plenty of volume for most rooms we play although for larger rooms it needs some support as the 8”s don’t project as well as, say, would a pair of 12”s or a 410
Butterfield fan
2 posts
Feb 26, 2019
11:07 PM
Thanks for all the help guys, going to go for a bassman 59 reissue i think......i have spent a ton of money already on pedals, mikes and still struggled with feedback and volume. The trials of the harp tone junkie!!
Butterfield fan
3 posts
Feb 27, 2019
1:39 AM
hit the button on bassman 59 LTD. What valves should I replace, what with? thanks in advance guys
jbone
2847 posts
Feb 27, 2019
3:31 AM
There are some variables to consider. What mic is your go to comes to mind for one. Crystal and CM and CR elements will respond differently. Pedals?
In my Bassman I left the first 2 pre amp tubes as they were- 12ax7's I think- and tried a 12au7 or 12at7 in the p3 socket. This let all the signal in and then just cut gain further in the circuit. I'd say do some research and then experiment with lesser 12a class tubes to find the sweet spot you want.

Mine had a mix of speakers, for both good low end breakup and high volume output. Wish I could remember which speakers but you can find this out from someone more knowledgeable on speakers.

There were times we played medium to small rooms where I'd actually have to unplug 2 speakers to drop volume some. The Bassman can be one bad box.


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Butterfield fan
4 posts
Feb 27, 2019
4:26 AM
Thanks Jbone. I am using a Green bullet with a boogieman Lone wolf pedal and Harp sheild. The advice I had was to replace Valve 1 with a 12AV7 valve and V2 with a 12AY7. Never done this before so not sure what is the best set-up......
jbone
2848 posts
Feb 27, 2019
4:54 AM
So like I mentioned Butter, get some tubes and do some swapping. You will end up with the sound you want.

I like multiple speakers when you are talking about loudass bands. Early on I struggled with a Hot Rod Deluxe single 12, and never really got what I needed in that setting. Tried a Pignose G40V as well which was 40w but a single 12 only. Peavey Classic 50 had a solid state rectifier so it couldn't be changed. One amp that did pretty good was a Peavey Delta Blues 210, plenty of tweak options on the controls and it would drive an extension cab, which I had a 4x8 I used. Not really enough bottom with 8's though. Bassman got the best marks.


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hvyj
3682 posts
Feb 27, 2019
8:17 AM
+ 1 on Peavey Delta Blues. Mine is a 1x15. Excellent harp amp (with appropriate tube swaps).

BTW, in general, you will have more feedback issues using a bullet mic than you would otherwise. This will also effect how much you will need to tube down. With respect to the phase inverter preamp tube (the one closest to the power tubes) try an ECC832 (which is a 12D/W7) or an ECC 823 (which is a backwards D/W7 made by JJ). These are tubes with unbalanced triodes (half 12AX7 half 12AU7). Opinions vary on this, but in amps like the Bassman, an unbalanced PI tube is supposed to fatten tone as well as reduce gain. I used an ECC832 for the PI in my Super Reverb RI which has a circuit similar to the Bassman. It sounded decent, BUT, the tone improved more dramatically when I tried an ECC 823 in the PI slot. Why? I have no idea.

If you tube down too far, you erode tone. But since most bullet mics are hot, you may have to tube down farther than you would otherwise. BUT if you have a volume control on your mic, you can use it attenuate input gain to cool out the signal, which allows you to control feedback so you can crank the volume of amp up higher and, in general, when you drive a tube amp harder you get better tone.

Last Edited by hvyj on Feb 27, 2019 12:23 PM
Littoral
1664 posts
Feb 27, 2019
9:38 AM
1) with a decent PA and monitoring you should be able to use that Boogieman.
2) Boogieman with your own dedicated powered speaker
3) don't miss the importance of technique on cutting through a mix. Mud in, mud out. Articulation and accurate intonation delivers.
5) reissue Bassman is a staple option
sonvolt13
165 posts
Feb 27, 2019
11:48 AM
Slightly OT but why does the band have to play so loud? Does the audience like it? In the band I played In the longest, I used a harp gear 2 and it was fine, sometimes lined out sometimes not. We made a deal that the audience should be able to talk to each other while we play. Our goal was to play at a volume we thought the 50s blues combos were playing at. Nowadays, if I walk into a club that the band is playing really loud, I just leave.
Butterfield fan
5 posts
Feb 27, 2019
12:58 PM
Yeah the band isn't so load you couldn't walk in the pub, but i can never hear the Harp. I found the boogieman a good pedal, but straight through the PA it lost all the power and character and it didn't sound far off going straight through a mike. If i turned the gain up to try and recapture the character - feedback. It doesn't help mind you that I am the singer and having to switch it on and off when singing playing harp then back. I found if I set the boogieman wrong i would sing press it on and there would be a wall of feedback. I had to learn to buy a adapter so the SM58 mic would convert low to high. I then bought a small amp and tried to mic a SM57 through the PA - didn't work, loads of buzz and bad sound and the amp had no line out. So plan is SM58 to sing through PA, green bullet through Bassman. Thanks for all your help guys!

Last Edited by Butterfield fan on Feb 27, 2019 12:59 PM
Butterfield fan
7 posts
Feb 28, 2019
11:08 AM
if i replace any of the valves do i need to change the Bias pot or do anything else? Or can i just put the new tubes in and play? i have ordered the 12AY7 for V1,ECC83 for V2 and ECC83 for V3 - thanks
SuperBee
5834 posts
Feb 28, 2019
5:26 PM
you wont have to adjust anything.
preamp is cathode-biased and the 12AY7, while it does have different internal resistance to the stock tube, will function fine in the circuit as is.

the ECC83 is the same as 12ax7 so that will be no change of significance to the standard issue, as far as the circuit is concerned. by their nature all tubes are somewhat individual but within tolerance for specification
SuperBee
5835 posts
Feb 28, 2019
5:30 PM
its when you get into changing power tubes (in an amp like the bassman)that you need to consider the bias, or if you want to make more basic design changes to the preamp you would be looking at cathode resistor values and possibly power ratings of plate resistors
Butterfield fan
9 posts
Feb 28, 2019
11:01 PM
brill thanks SuperBee
SuperBee
5836 posts
Mar 01, 2019
6:22 AM
Cool, while I think of it, if you can get into Dave Barrett’s paysite, bluesharmonica dot com, there’s a nice series of videos where he and Gary Smith set up a bassman and do tube swaps and bias settings and speaker swaps...very instructive with lots of a:b comparisons. Maybe worth the price of a months membership?
Chris West
20 posts
Mar 04, 2019
12:27 PM
Had posted in this forum some time ago asking a lot of questions concerning our harp player's set up. Ended up with a Bassman LTD reissue and 12AX7's swaps as well as a Lone Wolf Delay and a Lone Wolf Harp Octave pedal. Lots of great advice on this forum from some pretty fine folks! We are still experimenting some with pre amp tube swaps and he recently purchased a Blows Me Away Bulletini mic. Still uses his Green Bullet 520 DX, but I like the sound of the Bulletini ......warmer for sure. Enjoy the journey and use this forum for some pretty good advice. Also saw Brandon Santini live last summer playing out of a Bassman......great sound! Can't go wrong there! Good luck!!
jbone
2852 posts
Mar 04, 2019
2:20 PM
Chris, I got to blow harp through that amp with Brandon some 10 years ago in Clarksdale one evening. Great rig.
Any time you switch mics there will probably need to be amp adjustment. It's a case by case situation.

One of these days I want to try a Bulletini or maybe have a Heuman element installed into a shell I have.
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Music and travel destroy prejudice.

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LSC
795 posts
Mar 04, 2019
4:16 PM
You can mess about with tube swaps and pedals and lord knows what all or you can buy my Sonny Jr Avenger. Ask Greg Heumann. He has two. Or Charlie Musslewhite. he has two. Or Bill Well, amp tech to Musslewhite, who calls the Avenger, "..a work of art." You will never long for another amp or be frustrated with not enough volume or tone.
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LSC

Last Edited by LSC on Mar 04, 2019 4:17 PM


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