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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > John Popper's Microphone Setup
John Popper's Microphone Setup
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31 posts
Nov 10, 2010
6:57 AM
So how many rolls of black electrician's tape do you think John Popper uses on his Microphone/Effects/Cables setup ?

I say 20 !

Last Edited by on Nov 10, 2010 11:13 AM
765 posts
Nov 10, 2010
7:18 AM
Regarding his mic rig, he was in a wheel chair for quite a while. His tech took a part a midi-controller and attached the switches to the mic so he could run effects by hand.


Most of the online info about his rig is dated, as he has now moved to a simplified rig (which still uses that mic). I posted his old rig in an effects thread here, but as of last month, his rig was very different.

That mic controls an Eventide multi-effect rack unit along with allowing him to switch between four amps...a 100w Mesa Boogie Lone Star, a 50w Lone Star, and a rotary speaker amp (I think it is a Motion Sound still) and a small amp used for feedback.

I had high quality pics of his old rig down to being able to read his settings on all his effects. That is all way dated, though. With the Eventide, he obviously uses a lot of different delays with modulation - you can do that on an Eventide Pitchfactor too.

Otherwise, he uses an octave, chorus, flanger, and phaser frequently. In studio, since "Bridge", he hasn't used many effects on his dry signal, again mostly using modulated delays.

His use of the rotary effect on albums is way down too. There has been a large increase in the amount of harp overdubbing he does on record.

***By simplified I mean smaller amps, fewer cabs, rack effects instead of stomp boxes, and I'd imagine his routing of his signal is simpler too.

If you listen to current stuff from the band on Archive.org, he really just runs a clean mic-to-pa sound a lot.
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Last Edited by on Nov 10, 2010 11:32 AM
6 posts
Nov 10, 2010
8:17 AM
I've always enjoyed Johns playing. his speed is very impressive. I think he plays alot of tripletts and arpeggios, the guy just kick ass on the harp. does any body know what type of mic he uses. it looks like a shure sm58? lots of buttons to play with. I think that with that many different effect buttons one would get alittle confussed about which ones to push??I did not know that they had a new album out. I'd love to spend an hour with him and TRY to pickn up on some of his licks. you don't see any other harp players who have such an array of effects to choose from. I only use alittle reverb maybe I should look into more? but I don't understand what half of them do. I know reverb and delay. .... I need to get out more..LOL
767 posts
Nov 10, 2010
9:51 AM
It is a SM58...I think he may have used a Beta58 at some point...I remember seeing at least one picture of it.

Everyone tends to associate them with the album Four from the 90's. Since then, besides live albums, they've released at least five more studio discs. They will have a new one out next year in celebration of 25yrs as a band.

They still tour quite a bit...not 300 nights a year, but still a lot.

Don't quote me on this, but the switches might only control a few effects - mostly amp switching. I am not positive, but he might have a sound guy turning some of them on and off.

I am just speculating, but if he can switch between 3-4 different amps, that doesn't leave too many effects left. At one time, I think what looks like a volume knob actually was a control on the rotary effect.

I used to know all this stuff, but he changed rigs and I haven't kept up on everything. A buddy of mine is friends with him and has actually played through the rig several times...including getting a tour of all the effects, etc.
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591 posts
Nov 10, 2010
10:37 AM
Eventide is so sweet only 3000 a piece.
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Emile "Diggs" D'Amico a Legend In His Own Mind
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768 posts
Nov 10, 2010
10:47 AM
Here is how it worked in 2002....

Switch: Clean/Dirty
Knob: Leslie volume
Button1: Amp1
Button2: Amp2
Button3: Amp3
Button4: leslie slow/fast

This is from a VERY reliable source - and I have permission to share the info. The effects are ran by midi controller and must be enabled from the floor.

You could replicate a similar rig much easier than he actually does by running your mic into an amp switcher with a cleanish amp with something like a Harp Attack you turn on and off for dirt and the second line going through effects and into a monitor/PA.

As a matter of fact, I will eventually do something like this (probably no dirt pedal, though). It isn't high priority, but I love the idea of having the effects out of the way of the amp (essentially going straight in).

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Last Edited by on Nov 10, 2010 11:36 AM
769 posts
Nov 10, 2010
10:55 AM
Personally, I think a used Pitchfactor would do 90% of the stuff he uses it for. I think you can get one for under $400...same company, just a stomp box. My caveat being that it appears to be a lot of work to use and often requires preseting a key and scale...so you can't just turn it off and on.

My guitar player has the modfactor, which has more traditional sounding effects like chorus. It is a sweet deal, but the M13 does all the same effects and has a very easy to use interface. It would not be on my high list of effects to buy.

VHT Special 6 Amp for Harp Blog
3354 posts
Jun 11, 2013
9:52 AM
Nearly three years later and I picked up a Pitchfactor...with help from the Eventide forum, I was able to nail the pitch shfited delays the first night. The Crystals preset is something he also uses. In just going through presets, I could about half a dozen sounds awesome for harp...

BT plays 2mi from my house in three weeks...working on checking out sound check.
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