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HarpAmps Welcome

April 26th, 2011

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.


Old Stuff


Read about Jeff Brobofsky’s experiences restoring a derelict Lectrolab R800.

I have an 8 Minute Video of Carlos Colina and the Straight Up Blues band (WMV – 2 megs). Carlos is playing through one of my Harley mics and is using two Premier Club Bass B-160 amps in tandem. I have been a bad influence on Carlos. He playes here in third position using both a chromatic and a diatonic. Check out the solo at about 4 minutes into the song. I used a $38 camera/video/mp3 device called a Eujoy. It takes OK videos, but I’ve had to compress this one quite a bit to get it small enough for internet viewers. The original was 83 megabytes.

I stopped by the music store at lunch time and was able to review the Epiphone Valve Junior amp.

I finally got around to collecting all of my Masco Amp Pictures and created a Masco Amp Gallery. Old Masco PA heads make great Harp Amps, and they are cheap.

I have found a bunch of old Gibson Amp Schematics and I made them into PDF files so you can download them. These are not the common schematics and seem to be from the earliest Gibson amps. It is time consuming work and I only did a few.

I captured some great Premier Amps pics lately. Read about it in Stalking the Wild Premier.

I went to the Fall Philly Guitar Show and tooke some pics.


Larry Graham caught this picture of Pinetop Perkins at the Turning Point in Piermont, NY (11/23/2003). I thought that it was cute. We’ll miss you Pine Top.


I found some old pictures that I thought I had lost that you might find interesting. Here’s Little Charlie and the Night Cats and Gary Primich as well as the Spring Auburn Guitar Show.

New – I just wrote a new and more comprehensive list of Canned Ebay Searches

I just wrote a little Guide to Transformers and Impedance for home brew amp builders.

I went to see Anson Funderburgh and Sam Meyers the other night. Here are some pictures.

On February 16th, 2003, I went down to the 90.5 "The Night" 6th Annual Guitar Show and took some pics of nice harp amps.

Premier Gallery A Blues Harp Player's Guide to Amplifiers
Silvertone & Harmony Amp Gallery Masco Gallery
Twin 8 Project Lectrolab Gallery
Gibson Schematics Stalking the Wild Premier
Harp Amp Secrets and Tips by Gerald Weber 2001 Auburn Guitar Show Pictures
2001 Saratoga Springs Guitar Show 2001 South Jersey Guitar Show
Transformer Specs 2003 Auburn Guitar Show
Lectrolab R800 Project Epiphone Valve Junior Review
Harpin Help 2001 Fall Philly Guitar Show
Little Charlie and the Night Cats Gary Primich at Isabels
90.5 "the Night" 6th Annual Guitar Show Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets Feb 22, 2003
Mic Kaczmarczik's USENET Articles
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