Harpamps.com is a large collection of information about amplifiers for use by harmonica players.

What is a harp amp?

Harp amps are amplifiers that make you louder. If you are lucky, they might make you sound better. Don’t forget, though, that the sound comes from inside of you and that equipment won’t help you sound better if you don’t have something to say in the first place.

Harp amps are usually older tube amps that don’t have much gain or power. These old amps seem to resist feedback, the enemy of every harp player. Old tube amps are suited for the old bullet shaped high impedance mics.

The perfect harp gear, to me anyway, is a vintage high impedance mic, an analog delay pedal, and vintage amp with two 6V6 power tubes.

The 6V6 power tubes are usually not loud enough to compete with the guitar players, but they sound so smooth that they are worth it, even if you have to run a mic from the front of the amp to the PA in order to be heard.

The analog delay, set to a long delay and a fairly short sustain, gives a nice slap back kick to each note, but care should be taken so that it does not sound muddy. The analog delay is useful in that they tend to help the dreaded feedback. A little delay goes a long way, so be careful and add just enough delay to keep things tasty.

The old mic should be a crystal mic, like the JT-30 for killer overdrive and that James Cotton style dirty Chicago blues. You need another mic like a Green Bullet with a vintage high impedance CR or CM element for Jazzy third position playing with lots of chords and octaves. The CM has a clearer output that will prevent the sound from running together in a muddy mess, while still allowing some overdrive when needed. Both kinds of mic have their own sound, and either keep two mics or decide which mic works best for you.



 

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I cleaned up my tab for Sonny Boy's Help Me and made it into a short book. There's a Kindle version for 99 cents, and if you buy the paperback you get the Kindle free.

Playing "Help-Me" In the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II: A step by step, note for note analysis of some of Sonny Boy's Signature Riffs

I also write Science Fiction, so you can sample some of my best stories. Also available in Kindle format.


Error Message Eyes: A Programmer's Guide to the Digital Soul
 

vintage pro audio Advent Model 300 pre-amp amp tuner receiver radio

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vintage ITC International Tapetronics Corporation model RAS audio amplifier

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Soundtech Quick Mix 6 Channel Amplifier Model QM6 

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Line 6 Pocket Pod Guitar & Amp Tone Modeler

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Orange Model RK50TC212MKII 50 Watt 2x12 All Tube Electric Guitar Combo Amplifier

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The JT30 Page Popular links

I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into JT30.com in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Learning Harp

Picking Up Blues Harp

A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

Usenet Articles


Harp Amps

I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old Harpamps.com website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.


Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


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Harp Frequently Asked Questions