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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > question about Harp Break pedal
question about Harp Break pedal
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6710 posts
Jun 24, 2020
11:57 PM
I’m just wondering whether people generally use the Harp Break pedal in conjunction with a tube amp and if so, why?
4156 posts
Jun 25, 2020
3:11 AM
I've tried using mine with a valve amp(and know a few others that do), but mainly just use it direct into the PA. My experience with using one direct into an amp, is that it just allows dirt to be dialed in at lower volume. I'm not a fan of using it like that myself. However as I device to get a valve amp type sound through the PA I quite like it. Although I generally prefer the Harp Attack for that job.

Some of the people I know who use them into amps say it gives them a breakup sound similar to that of an old Masco valve PA. Which isn't my experience at all. Personally I find it too distorted for my taste when used into an amp. It should be noted though that I'm not generally a fan of the heavily overdriven, bass heavy harp sound. I prefer a cleaner sound that breaks up when pushed. As to me it's more versatile than just having dirt all the time.

Last Edited by Kingley on Jun 25, 2020 3:11 AM
6711 posts
Jun 25, 2020
3:54 AM
Kingley, what you described as your personal experience and thought is closely aligned with mine.

It’s interesting to hear your story of others though. That is what I’m getting at; there must be people who are using them to get some particular sound they like.
584 posts
Jun 26, 2020
8:49 AM
I have harp break and attack--I generally take them to every band gig.
If smaller "tube" amp is appropriate---I use my 5 watt epiphone ---I can mic it or I have a line out--if I need. Its perfect w/out pedals except 'slap back delay' and reverb for thickness. DON'T USE MY HARP BREAK.

If I bring my 4/10 peavy (tube) I put it in the chain of pedals. If I decide to use the clean channel , I'll try both the break and or attack--if im not getting enough break up.--If I can crank the amp neither.

If Im forced to use PA only, I put both in chain decide which one is best and gor for it.

Side note: The break seems to break up earlier and easier than the attack. However the attack with hot signal from mic going in 'is a great, smoother break up.
Pt being have one or the other or both is very handy.
If I want clean tone I use my vocal mic especially with chromatic.

I do vary from kingly and yrself as I love the chicago tone---Didn't have a tube amp for years. was frustrated trying to get tone I wanted. Now I make my own "cm" element mic's, Improved my cupping and uncupping and Im usually happy w/tone.

When doing backbeats and syncopated beats with cupping "W/OUT BREAK UP" just sounds weak to me. with 'break up' it tends to be in background and thicken yr sound, as well as mix with band.
Thats just me.
229 posts
Jun 26, 2020
6:41 PM
I'm not currently using one. But when I did use a Harp Break, it was to get breakup at lower volume on a larger amp.
4157 posts
Jun 27, 2020
7:37 AM
"I do vary from kingly and yrself as I love the chicago tone"

It always amuses me when people say that. Because when you listen to the recordings there isn't any such a thing as a "chicago tone". All the music from Chicago has a wide variety of tonal palettes and varies between extremely clean, right through to heavily overdriven.
I suspect when people say this what they really mean is the more modern day West Coast amplified harp sound of people like Mark Hummel, Rod Piazza, Gary Smith.

Personally I love all those sounds, but the ability to vary from cleanish sound to an overdriven one with just cupping and breath control. Is infinitely more interesting to me than simply the one trick pony sound all night. I'm not a fan of pedals really and even though I own a delay pedal, I rarely use it. I only use the Harp Break/Harp Attack for their amp simulation qualities when I want an "amped" sound. Other than that though I'll just play direct through the PA, with maybe a very minimal touch of reverb (most of the time I don't even bother with the reverb).

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