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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Some questions about the Harp Break pedal
Some questions about the Harp Break pedal
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1677 posts
Mar 31, 2021
10:13 AM
The HB is often mentioned here, I know that, but the search function is a little bit cumbersome, so I hope that a kind pedal user or two could provide some answers to these questions.
Background is that I stepped into a music store on my way home (stupid me!) and, very surprised, happened to see such an item, used, for sale for something like $115.
I own a bunch of pedals and feel no inner need to expand in that area; also I own a few amplifiers, and right now I´m not on the market for any purchase in that department.
But what I wonder is this:

1) Is the HB a good pedal to use straight to PA?
Or does it need an amp to come into its own, so to speak? My current straight to PA set-up is Harp Octave, Joyo AS and delay -- mainly for blues gigs, I should point out. But I have other gigs as well (or used to have, when we all had gigs) and perhaps the HO makes a pedal like the HB unnecessary? Also, I don´t go for maximum distortion.

2) I play standard mics: SM57, Audix, EV and so on. (Own a Green Bullet but don´t like it.) Would the HB somehow suggest a different type of microphone?

3) Would a feedback blocker be a Really Sensible thing with a HB?

This is not serious money I´m talking about, but I´m always tethering on the brink of destitution -- and Sweden is an expensive place to live! -- so I must constantly rein in my interest in gear, outside of the bare necessities.

4177 posts
Mar 31, 2021
10:49 AM
1. Yes.
2. Any mic that is high impedance will work well. Otherwise just use a low impedance mic with an impedance converter.
3. No idea, never used one.
694 posts
Mar 31, 2021
11:00 AM
I have The break and or attack. also have octave---all from lone wolf
The thing thats nice about the break into Pa is u can dial up a lot or little dirt. iTS VRY ADJUSTABLE.
I prefer the break over Octave into Pa cuz its so easy to to get more or less dirt. the octave works great as well, its just that the break can dial more dirt without weird tone. On the octave the effect starts to sound weird, when adding to much blend.

Any mic ok---i had an audix---great volume control--but I like dirt.

I knw more pedals can be a problem but yr 57 into pa

1a] anti feedback lone wolf or older one I have

1] HARPTONE+ ----leave pa at 12 and use this for EQ
check out andy santanas video into blues junior---yes blues junior is not a PA-but it gives an idea of a "harp pedal" for EQ rathur than PA or Amp

2] BREAK or yr octave---I prefer Break---Try set PA neutral

3] I use slapback delay to thicken tone Lone wolf

4] Little reverb fromP A ok---not to much "feedback"

Hope this helps

If I replace the break with the Attack it sounds more natural, but harder to dial dirt. I like it as well

I use break with my 545 or 57-----attack with CM element in Turner shell chopped or Jt 30 the cm is dirtier and sounds great with the Attack

Hope that helps

When covid wasnt here-I brought more than I needed in case forced to go through Pa

My new Ideal set up Is

1]Heuman 545

2] feedback pedal--- either lone wolf or an older one thats similar

3]harp tone + (But have modded Boss eq in case)

4]Break as option[ dirt from amp and cupping usually enough

5] lone wolf delay 1 slapback-medium to med+ mix

6]Epiphone amp 5 watt ,I forgot how many watts-- with a 10" speaker from weber,

Line out or mic'd prefer line out--I ask PA person Pleas Neutral little verb

and go from there ---If room is feedback prone ==i turn amp down an use house monitors and go mostly through PA

I always Like PA as well so my guitar buddies cant't bury me as night goes on

Last Edited by snowman on Mar 31, 2021 11:04 AM
Dougie Blue
12 posts
Mar 31, 2021
6:45 PM
I do not have a Harp Break, but have the Harp Attack. I also have a Joyo AS. In some recent tests I did into a clean amp, I preferred the Joyo AS to the Harp Attack, but from comments, the Harp Attack was slightly preferred of the AS.

With each, I was also using a delay pedal, and the 10" speaker that is standard with the VHT Special 6 (a good harp speaker). With the AS, I tended to leave the drive fairly low, but run the "voice" know up about 50% - that got me a tone I liked. YMMV.

In listening to samples, I'd say the Break is a bit grittier than the Attack, which is a bit more tubey overdrive in tone - but the distinctions were not huge.

I did not use Joyo and Harp Attack together - just seemed to be overkill. So I'm guessing you would pick which you preferred, and use that. However, you can put both in line, and turn one off, and then when you want an extra gritty, down, and dirty tone for a particular song, hit the Harp Break (with or without the Joyo).

The "Drive" on the Joyo, like most "drive" options designed for guitars, just sounds OK, but not quite right for blues harp to my ear. I get a similar tone when I crank the gain on my Quilter amps. Not bad - but just not quite what I like.
403 posts
Mar 31, 2021
8:22 PM
I was on a recent Zoom meeting with Ronnie Shellist, Randy Landry, of Lone Wolf Blues, and Jason Ricci. There was a lot of Q&A about pedals, mics and amps. Jason’s philosophy about mics was he prefers a “modern” mic and let the technology help the tone. The mics you own are the modern mics,, The green bullet, JT 30, Turner, etc are vintage mics which have natural grit and wouldn’t need as much help if grit and crunch is what you want. The HB and HA are designed to add crunch, especially with a relatively clean modern mic. So, for your questions,
1, HB or HA great into PA and can be used to “dirty up” an amp, especially a solid state amp to get that tube pre-amp effect.
2. Your mics are fine for HB
3. Feedback will be a product of your amp, what mic you’re using and your technique. I believe HB into the PA would not need a feedback killer but I can’t speak from that experience.
6930 posts
Mar 31, 2021
10:29 PM
If you like the way it sounds, it's good to PA.
It is well suited to a SM57, but use an impedance transformer.
I expect you would only want some anti feed back device if at very high volume. I found the pedal did lower the threshold in that regard.

I did not really like the sound, and I mostly use bullet microphones. I decided the harp break was not for me. Years later I obtained a Harp Attack and I have kept that.
1678 posts
Apr 01, 2021
6:00 AM
Many thanks to you all. Very helpful and appreciated. I´m still terribly ignorant when it comes to the tech side of things. But through my local guru, and people on this forum, I have now learnt to use an impedance transformer! (Can´t really say that the difference was earth shaking, but ...)

Of course there are videos on the HB on YT, but I find that, like almost always when it´s about pedals, people play through pedals *and* amplifiers. That´s perfectly alright if you´re interested in a display of what you could call "optimal" sound -- but it does not really say what e.g. the HB does.
For me, buying an extremely expensive harp amp, and then having to buy a gang of (at least "fairly expensive") pedals to get your sound, is a bit too much.
I have no delusions of a Holy grail pedal but will go for the HB.
1680 posts
Apr 07, 2021
7:27 AM
I bought the HB, thanks in part to your kind recommendations above, plus some YT videos. Actually, I should say *traded*, ´cause I turned in a 60W amp (a Vox) at the store and walked out with the HB. Although not physically "challenged" (the amp weighed some 18 kg), still, the portability issue is a really strong argument.
A first test with with HB into a 5W tube amp here in my kitchen (I´m still not evicted) did´t perhaps produce the most amazing results -- and that´s unsurprising: that amp should stand on its own, with just some EQ adjustments -- so I´m going to borrow a mixer for a PA speaker I have here in the apartment.

If results are interesting I´ll put up a video.

Thanks again for help!


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