Melodica Clips Live
November 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm #6198
Hi. Below is a file with a few short clips of my band performing at Hardwick Vineyard and Winery in Hardwick, Massachusetts.
The clips are of melodica solos so you can hear the sound I am getting live these days. After trying many things to get a good live sound, I continue to reinforce past experiences: less is more. In this recording, I going from a Shure SM57 directly into my Vox AC10 amp. That is it. No pedals or effects except for the built-in reverb in the amp. I am pushing the preamp stage to get some tube distortion, but the melodica sounds smooth unless I play loud and up close to the mic. The bass setting on the amp is on 10 and the treble setting is on 0.
I am not saying this is a great sound, but I am getting closer to the sound I would like. The focus is on getting “the sound” from the melodica, not through effects. I have a few more things to explore and have high hopes these things will get me to the sound I would like.
No fancy recording technique here; just a cheap pocket recorder placed about 12 feet in front of the band (me, the singer, and the acoustic guitar player). I consider this my clean sound for music that is not all out blues.
LowboyNovember 1, 2015 at 5:07 pm #6199
I like this. Sounds like good playing to me. Lots of dynamic contrast, articulation, expression. “Getting the sound from the melodica” – absolutely! 🙂November 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm #6200
Well, I just listened to the recording I posted versus the file I was working with in my .mp3 editing software. The melodica sound in the original recording had much more body. I think something happened during the conversion from a 5-mb MP3 file to a 70-mb .wav file. Everything got edgy itg seems. I will have to try converting mp3 to mp3. LowboyNovember 2, 2015 at 11:14 am #6203
I broke the link to the recording above because the sound quality was not right.
So here is another attempt at exporting the file from my .wav editor. This time I exported as an MP3 and the sound quality is better. The sound of the keyboard harmonica is still not quite what it is on the original recording, but good enough for now.
LowboyNovember 9, 2015 at 7:59 pm #6233
I had already been waiting for a live recording where you use some of the techniques you already showed in your studies – and here it is… Great, simply great!November 10, 2015 at 3:46 am #6234
You know, as I listen to the recording now, I would say that–contrary to what I said in my original post–I think this sound is not nearly as good as I first thought. It seems pretty thin. I am back to using the LWBC delay pedal to round off the top end and give the sound more body.
Let me tell you, one of the biggest challenges I have with the keyboard harmonica is getting a good tone consistently. It is crazy. Just when I think I have the tone nailed, it seems to slip away the next day or the next week or in the next venue even when I use the documented settings. In addition–as you have heard me lament many times–one week I think a clean sound is the way to go. The next week, a warm tube-amp sound seems to work best. The next week, compression, EQ, and delay seem like a must. Then the next night plugging the mic straight into a clean amp sounds great. It is really quite baffling to me.
Plus, it is hard to hear the amplified sound clearly without also hearing the acoustic sound from the instrument, which is right in front of your face.
There are so many variables to understand and keep in line.
At the same time I am wondering if the biggest variable of all is the influence of psychoacoustics. I think my frame of mind and mood play a significant roll in how I feel about my tone.
LowboyNovember 10, 2015 at 7:27 am #6235
Lowboy, it’s not the amplifier, microphone, pedals or for that matter the melodica, It’s acoustics. Your sound is going to change with every room you play in. Your sound will even change in the same room once you add people. So as the saying goes “Adapt and overcome” if you can’t get the sound you want, play the sound you got. Your amplifier, microphone and pedals will defiantly help to control when playing in a band, unless it’s you a ukelele and a kazoo at that point does it really matter?. At the jam sessions I go to sometimes, I get a chance to play on the fly and work my equipment and learn to find my sound. Your sound for live is actually quite good.
We are our worst critics and that’s a good thing.
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