Q: What mics are suited for harp playing?
A: From “Re: Mics” 8 Mar 93 JE:
SHAKER: I have a friend who has a shaker and he likes it. I think the size
and light weight have a lot going for it. I gave it a try using a
chromatic and was able to get a clean sound, with little or no distortion –
to me a sign of a good mic is how clean you can get it – even if you don’t
intend to use it that way.
ASTATIC JT30 vs. HOHNER BLUES BLASTER: – Both are made by Astatic. I like
the volume control idea on the BB but think it is also available on the
Astatic. – I got an old Astatic JT30 off a guy about a year ago. It was
mounted on a desk stand and had a talk/listen switch on it, from a Ham
radio set up. The cable connector was weird. My son rewired it, minus the
stand, put a .25″ RCA plug on it and now I have a nice vintage JT30 – this
thing must be out of the 50’s at least. Anyway – Hint – Look around ham /
electronic swap meets for a deal an old JT30 mic. It was a standard for
hams for a long time.
SHURE GREEN BULLET: Never tried one but just wanted to throw in that it is
being manufactured again, thanks to the resurgence in the popularity of the
harmonica. Think I saw it in J & R Music World cat. and also in Music
STRNAD: I tried the chromatic model (same mic just longer). I liked the
sound and even with a 16 hole chromatic it was easy to hold. I thought it
made my tone sound better. I didn’t buy one though, it was not possible to
quickly switch harmonicas because of the way it mounts and it covers the
whole harp so hand effects (vibrato) are limited. I don’t know if that’s
really a drawback or not. It could be used as an auxiliary mic, set up for
special effects – say some chuggin’ on a low F harp.
I’m no mic expert – these are just my thoughts,
[snipped some book info also found below]
P. S. If anyone hears of SHURE ribbon mics for sale let me know. I would
be interested in Models 315 and 330 — “Re: Mics” 8 Mar 93 JE
Shure Green Bullet or model 520D (magnetic element, originally a dispatcher
or ham radio mike). thicker, bassier, less treble vs. crystal mikes. Can
feedback with loud amps. Additional EQ can help — HA
Astatic/CTI — JT-30 (OEM to Hohner for Blues Blaster, and to other customizers).
High trebly tone, some are modified with high Z pots (5 M ohm) and caps
(150 pf) to get a fuller mid-range.
Hohner Blues Blaster (JT-30 design, blue paint) — HA
Crystal Ball Mike from Kevin’s Harps (modified JT-30)
Rod Piazza Hot Rod Mike (modified JT-30)
Shure SM 57 vocal mike (some have said that if you don’t need it as a mike,
you can also use it to pound nails… fifty years from now — it’ll still
be around 😉 — HA
Shure SM 58 vocal mike
Shaker G.C, XLR or Dyno Mic (the GC is another crystal element microphone
with small size and specifically designed for the harmonica sound). Old-timers
who are used to the Bullets or JT-30s complain that it’s weird to hold;
others especially like the smaller size, sound and lack of feedback. Everybody
loves Smokey Joe Arless, the designer/seller. Some negative chatter about
the lack of shielding of the plastic case picking up RF interference. Fingers
uses the dyno — HA.
Strnad Harmonica Pick-up (clean sound for ~no hands~ rack harmonica)