Q: What do I need to get that fat tone?
A: Well, actually a good player can get a good, fat tone through any
equipment, and can even produce a juicy tone without any equipment at
all. It’s just a matter of resonance. Open your mouth wide, relax your
tongue and jaw, hold your harp well and practice, practice, practice.
Of course having good equipment can improve a good tone. But for this,
see under equipment — BB
For fat tone without a mic, make your hands into a shape as though you
you are trying to carry water to a thirsty friend and can’t afford to
spill a drop. You can only make one trip and so must carry as large a
quantity as possible without any leaking out.
Got it? Good. Now do the same thing with a harp between the thumbs and
pretend theat you are also trying to keep a small guppy from escaping
as well as the water.
You should now have a large air chamber within your hands and when you
play the harp (remember this is IMAGINARY WATER- IF YOU WERE PRACTICING
WITH REAL WATER, DUMP IT OUT!) you may actually feel the air you put through
the harp pushing and pulling on your hands. The more you can seal the
harp off, the fatter the sound becomes. Use you face to complete the seal.
The tighter you can seal the air flow, the more possibility there is for
you to CONTROL THE AIRFLOW. This may seem redundant, but it isn’t if you
realize that it sounds different sealed and open. That is where hand wah
and the like come from.
Free advice is worth the price- unless it helps you. Then it is priceless.
Hope this helps you.
When you add a microphone into the equation, it lessens the space inside
the cup. you also have to seal any leaks around the mic body. Other than
that it is the same.
Interesting to note is that unmiced, the tight cup is quieter. Miced,
it is much louder. I can double the gain before feedback by cupping tightly.
See section ~how to hold~ — HA
That "Chicago sound" can be obtained with 1. good acoustic
tone, 2. a mic that can be cupped, and 3. either a tube amp, tube preamp,
or amp emulator. I’ve gotten great tone from a Fender Champ (silverface),
Mesa Boogie V-Twin tube preamp, and my current rig, Digitech RP-100 (thanks
to Richard Hunters "Early Taj Mahal" patch – thanks Richard).
If you’re used to a particular rig, then change, it will take some getting
used to. I played guitar directly into the PA for several years, and it
took a while to get used to my Line6 POD. Previously, I used a Music Man
112RD – and of course it took a while to get used to the PA. Even different
amps of the same model take some getting used to. And likewise microphones.
BTW on mics and Chicago sound, I’ve tried lots of ’em, and have little
trouble getting a Chicago sound from any cupable mic. This includes SM-57,
Green Bullet, JT-30, Shure 444 (a very good but underrated dispatchers
desk mic – it’s plastic, but the sound is great), various smallish electret
condenser mics, etc. My favorite is the JT-30, which has a nice "natural"
BTW a JT-30 into a very hi-Z preamp/FX and the PA will give you a nice
overdriven sound as long as your acoustic tone is strong.