Ultimate Blues Harmonica Sound from a Melodica
September 19, 2014 at 8:33 pm #3132
Well, after nine months of experimentation, I have finally figured out how to make the melodica the equal of a blues harp, and a blues instrument to be reckoned with.
You will have to forgive my one stumble, but listen to the recording below on some good quality audio equipment or headphones and see if this does not blow you mind.
[audio src="https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6237809/HARP0002.WAV" /]
That is all I will say for now. More to come later.
LowboySeptember 19, 2014 at 10:03 pm #3134
You are right Lowboy, this is genius 🙂September 20, 2014 at 12:59 am #3137
I recorded my melodica clean, and applied one of the simple presets that comes with Cubase to that recording, and absolutely loved the chicago harp sound that burst forth from my speakers. Trying to replicate that live now; no success thus far.September 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm #3143
That sounds amazing, thanks!
What was your actual equipment for this recording? And which melodica did you use?
Greetings from Austria: BalazsSeptember 22, 2014 at 11:14 pm #3145
I was playing a Hohner HM26, HM27, or HM32. I don’t remember which one, but probably the HM32 (Hohner Piano 32). I was using a Shure Green Bullet microphone going into a MXR Bass Innovations bass compressor pedal, and Lone Wolf Blues Company Harp Delay and Harp Break pedals. I get a little bit of distortion from the mic when I direct the sound right at it and play up close. I get a little bit of distortion from overdriving the compressor pedal. I also max out the compressor. I get some distortion from over driving the delay pedal. Then the Harp Break adds most of the distortion and bass response, building on all of the cumulative distortion.
Below is a link to a photo of the setup. But my setup for this recording did not include the Harp Tone pedal.
LowboySeptember 22, 2014 at 11:18 pm #3146
Here is a photo of the Shure Green Bullet mic taped into an old shock mount frame. The Green Bullet is supposed to be handheld by harp players, so there is no way to attach it to a mic stand in normal fashion.
LowboySeptember 26, 2014 at 10:37 pm #3161
Great sound Lowboy. Well worth nine months of experimentation!September 27, 2014 at 1:40 am #3174
Thanks guys. I learned a lot in those nine months and am still learning.
While I achieved a pretty good harmonica sound in the studio, I am finding it hard to do well in a live situation. Given the boost I need at each pedal to achieve the distorted sound, and given the loud stage volume of a live setting, I am finding the bleed from the other instruments into my mic is also be boosted and distorted. So this distorted bleed is also being feed into my monitoring system and to the main PA. In my monitoring system, the band sounds distorted and all of the sound has the delay effect applied to it. So it can be a big garbled mess in my monitor unless I turn down some of the distortion/boost, in which case, I no longer have a distorted Chicago Blues sound. Plus sending this distorted bleed to the main PA is not helping the overall sound either.
So there are times when I will use this sound, but I also like a clean sound and have nearly perfected my approach to getting a clean sound where the character if each melodica really comes through–rather than, as Alan noted on one of my recording, you could hardly tell the difference between a Suzuki and Yamaha because there was so much processing going on.
I will tell you about my new approach soon. I think I have finally got the clean sound down where each melodica’s character shines, stage monitoring and mic bleed are solved, and where I get a really full deep sound from all the melodicas. Hint. Less is more and the microphone type is a key.
I also obtain a sound that is similar but distinct from a harmonica, yet just as bodacious.
LowboySeptember 28, 2014 at 5:32 pm #3179
Thanks for the detailed explanation, a nice setup! The pictures are helpful too. I wonder if there is an easier way especially for some live settings which I would need. I plan to play the melodica in a church setting as well and the mic would catch all the distorted hall back and forth all the time I guess!
Thanks again, looking forward to whatever you come up with for live playing on stage!
Greetings: BalazsSeptember 30, 2014 at 12:52 am #3181
There are many approaches to live sound and it may take me a while but, I plan on sharing my experiences with setups and playing the keyboard harmonica in a live setting.
One quick experiment that may not be too costly (about $75 dollars) is to try a suction cup or contact microphone. I have yet to try one, but just discovered the website below that sells high quality, medical-grade contact microphones. They also sell suction cup microphones with a piezo microphone in the middle of the suction cup. This arrangement could attenuate ambient noise while still providing a natural sound. I don’t know. I have not tried them yet but the concept seems like it should work and that is what the website claims.
The contact microphone website is: http://www.contactmicrophones.com/
You know a contact or suction cup microphone might actually enhance the sound of the melodica for some genres, and the bleed through would not be distorted. Or the contact or suction cup microphone could work lousy and sound like crap.
If someone does an experiment, let us know. Just ensure the contact microphone website has a good return policy.
LowboySeptember 30, 2014 at 4:08 am #3183
Lowboy, Balazs, a couple of months I started a topic regarding the Meyers pick up. It is in the $125-$150 range and it works great with a volume control and gooseneck mic and suction cup. It worked good with my Hohner pro and 36 as well as my Vibrandoneon. Lots of volume. I also ran the pick up through my pedsl board and it Fantastic. The only contact pick up that workd for me was a very expensive one
This is the best contact pick up made but way to expensive for our use.
I tried others but got way to much body sounds including my hands just holding it. Read my post on the Meyers pick up and ask me any questions you may have .
Melodica-MeOctober 2, 2014 at 10:25 pm #3194
Thanks for the info Melodica-Me.
Wow that Schertler A-DYN set acoustic instrument pickup with pre-amp is a beauty, but as you noted, $1,200 makes it untouchable for use on a $65 melodcia.
I will check out your post on the Meyers pickup. Thanks.
LowboyOctober 3, 2014 at 4:19 am #3197
Lowboy, I wish I had the money to throw at this part of my equipment but I still have a new Vibrandoneon and amplifer in my sight. For recording I have several good mics so no issues there, the battle is live sound. I am realizing that I will more than likely have to carry a couple of small amps that work with specific melodicas and not just one unfortunately. I like small so for now it’s my Magnatone 421 and my Fender Acoustasonic. Do check out the Meyes pick up it works great.
Melodica-MeNovember 10, 2014 at 4:06 am #3416
How do I play your sound clip?November 10, 2014 at 11:39 am #3419
Try this link:
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