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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Speaker Breakup
Speaker Breakup
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Paul Lasicki
5 posts
Sep 26, 2023
1:42 PM
So I have a VHT Special 6 in which I swapped out the speaker and tubes per Rick Davis from a post about 10 years ago or so. I also have 4 mics, a hohner HB-52, Bonedaddy, Ultimate 57 and akai DM-13.
So you would think I can get that Blues Harmonica crunch, bark, honk associated with that Chicago sound. Not so much!
I got a nice tight cup and tried everything I can think of. I just ordered Gary Smith's DVD on amplified blues harp.
In the mean time just wondering what I can be doing wrong. Thanks
142 posts
Sep 27, 2023
7:29 AM
I had a VHT Special 6 I modded with new speaker & did tube swap, using a Bulletini mic & had no problem with getting the amp to break up/distort. But it's a tiny amp & not sure what your comparing it to ? If you think it's going to sound like some of the great blues harp recordings it never will. I sold mine after a few months because I just didn't like the sound. I ended up with a 40 watt 2-10" tube amp & it really sounds good but it cost 5 times what the VHT costs.
I think the only thing your doing is expecting too much from a small cheap amp.
Paul Lasicki
6 posts
Sep 27, 2023
7:58 AM
Hi Lou, I'm comparing it to videos on youtube where the mic is plugged directly into the amp. I know it will never sound like the old blues recordings , just looking for some breakup as on youtube. It seems like its achievable but I'm just not getting it.
Thanks for responding.
7093 posts
Sep 28, 2023
2:49 AM
Well shoot, I dunno, Paul. How long you been playing the harp? You got a few mics there so I’m guessing this isn’t your first rodeo. You get a decent breakup on other amps?
What I’m getting at is whether this is a deal with the amp in question, or with the way you’re attacking the situation. I’m guessing the former but I have to ask the question.
998 posts
Sep 28, 2023
10:42 AM
Paul, are you a tongue blocker? What's you skill level?
Paul Lasicki
7 posts
Sep 28, 2023
2:26 PM
I figure I'm an advanced beginner, dabbled in playing since the late 70s. I still have some original "Marine Band" Special 20s, but now really paying attention and practice everyday. I'm a tongue blocker, I can bend notes but still needs work. I have another amp with same results.
999 posts
Sep 29, 2023
4:05 PM
The reason I asked was I could not get that fat Chicago sound until I learned to TB fairly well.
I went through a lot of amps trying to get that tone. With a tight cup and TB'ing you should be able to get a fat tone from that VHT. I have mainly used bullet mics with CR's and Crystal's, but I have stick Mics including the Akai and I can still get a great tone. I still pucker a little for fast runs, but it does not effect my tone significantly.
Keep working on it, it will happen.
P.S. I have never been a fan of speaker breakup for harp. I don't use speakers that breakup early, just not my thing.

Last Edited by Harpaholic on Sep 29, 2023 4:15 PM
Paul Lasicki
8 posts
Sep 30, 2023
10:42 AM
A lot of trial and error. Apparently I was using the wrong XLR cable for the HB_52. Just got the new one in and sounds much better, this is on my old amp. Waiting on a another tube for the VHT.
I also got the Gary Smith DVD in, unfortunately it was more entertaining then instructional. A great player for inspiration though.

Last Edited by Paul Lasicki on Sep 30, 2023 10:43 AM
1000 posts
Sep 30, 2023
3:42 PM
The Jerry Portnoy cd set is how I learned to TB.
It's all instructional.
Paul Lasicki
9 posts
Sep 30, 2023
4:50 PM
Thanks, I'll go and check it out.

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