Q: What amplifier should I buy if I want to get that Little Walter Chicago
A: A small vintage tweed or Blackface Fender (e.g.., Champ, Princeton,
Bassman, Bandmaster, Concert, Pro, Super or Deluxe Reverb) or Gibson (e.g..
Gibsonette, any of the Les Paul GA-XX series) amplifiers seem to be the
rage among blues harpers since their simple design and low power allow them
to be turned up to a level high enough to obtain the ~dirty~ sound
associated with ~harmonic(a) distortion~. Many harpers on list are using
less expensive low power vintage amps and miking them to the PA and using
monitors. Some have fashioned a direct box connection from the speaker or
external speaker jacks (resistor network). There is a commercially
available ~pickle plug~ that does this also
Many amp gurus favor simple designs in lieu of multi-gain stages fearing
losses between stages robbing tone. This is an extremely subjective subject
and beyond the scope of this FAQ.
This latter faq mentions several books devoted to the subject of amplifiers
from an electric guitarists perspective. Nonetheless, this information can
be valuable and it would be wise to consult with such musicians and repair
technicians/designers if you are at all interested in this.
Two other booklets specifically aimed at this subject area, but are not
1. “The Quest for Tone in Amplified Blues Harp” by Pete Sheridan,
originally a 3-part series published free in Kevin’s Harps catalog, but now
in which reprints are available for a nominal charge.
2. "AMPLIFIED HARMONICA PLAYING MADE POSSIBLE" Potential Publications 23 School Street Brunswick, Maine 04011 (207) 725-5839 Kevin D. Hagerty $7.95,
(Original editor of Mississippi Saxophone_, now edited by harp-l’s own Tim
Moody timm at sp-eug .d.com)
It is available from any catalog house in the US selling harmonica books
(see suppliers above)