Tools of the Trade
During the last 50 years I've used a lot of different makes and models of harmonicas. I'm currently using a full set of the Seydel Noble Harmonicas (with stainless steel reeds). I also have a few of the brand new Seydel Lightning Harmonicas (also with stainless steel reeds). These are the very best harmonicas I have ever played ! ! !
Whenever I play harmonica through an amplifier I use a Shaker Madcat Harmonica Microphone, which I helped design along with Joe Harless of Shaker Microphone.
My Shaker Madcat microphone is then connected to a Boss WL-20 Digital Wireless Guitar System transmitter.
The first thing on my pedal board is an impedance transformer and volume control. The output impedance of the Shaker/Madcat Microphone needs to be boosted a bit in order for the Lone Wolf Harp Break pedal to work properly.
The signal then goes through an MXR 10 band Graphic EQ (customized by Elevon Audio to make it quieter). I like to "tame" the feed-back prone frequencies early in the signal chain.
Over the past few years I have tried out a half dozen distortion /overdrive pedals before settling on the Lone Wolf Harp Break pedal. This pedal provides a soft clipping distortion that is very similar to vacuum tube distortion, with a full range of clean to hard grit.
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Next in line is an Electro-Harmonix Nano POG which produces two additional signals, one an octave above and one an octave below. With the three knobs you can mix together your original “dry signal” with the other two octaves.
The last pedal in the chain is a Way Huge Supa-Puss delay, an analog delay with digital controls.
My amp of choice these days is a Peavey Transformer 112. The Transformer is a user-friendly modeling amp with 12 programable amp models and loads of built-in effects.
When playing with Chris Brubeck's Triple Play, or sitting in with singer-songwriters, I don't bring any microphone or amp at all. Instead I play through whatever vocal microphone the venue might have, my favorite being a Shure SM-58.
In the recording studio I prefer to use a ribbon microphone. They seem to capture the high frequencies of the harmonica without ever sounding harsh.