Monday, January 30, 2012

Tweed Champ Clone Demo

Back in 2006, I was going through a period in my life where I felt the need to create something.  Normally, I would have build a computer.  I really didn't need another computer.  I decided to build an amplifier.  After a bit of researching amplifier kits to death, I decided to build a clone of a tweed Fender Champ from Marsh Amplification.  It was a fun process.  After playing it quite a bit, I ended up blowing the speaker.  I replaced it with a Vintage Series Weber speaker, 8A-125-O.

A while ago, I ran across a video that I shot in 2006.  It didn't really represent the amp well, so I decided to set up a video camera and play a bit.  Here is the result with a vintage JT-30 microphone and a plaid flannel shirt.  I'm not sure that it's any better than the original video, but here it is:

Here is another video with a modern Shure 520DX with the original modern dynamic element.  This microphone is generally regarded as a complete turd among harmonica players.  It didn't seem so bad in this video.  More importantly, I was wearing a black T-shirt:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011: The Bay Area Blues In Review

2011 has come and gone. It was a difficult year in the Blues community. We lost a number of great performers this past year. I was fortunate enough to see and photograph a multitude of fabulous great performers.

I captured well over 100 images this past year that seemed to capture the artist and their spirit. A subset of the performers are listed below:

Alabama Mike, Andy Santana, Arbess Williams, Big Cat Tolefree, Billy Branch, Bobby Radcliff, Bobby Rush, Deitra Farr, Demetria Taylor, Fillmore Slim, Joe Louis Walker, John Nemeth, Johnny Rawls, Little Junior Crudup, Magic Slim, Mark Hummel, RJ Mischo, Rod Piazza, Ronnie Stewart, Sugar Blue, Taildragger, Tip Of The Top, Wayne Baker Brooks and many more.

Please feel free to drop in and take a look at the photos.

While you're at it, please feel free to check out the photos from previous years.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lone Wolf Harp Tone+ Review

Awhile back, maybe a couple of years ago, Andy Santana hipped me to a pedal that he was endorsing, the Lone Wolf Harp Tone+. I ran across a used one at good price on the Internet, so I bought it.

I decided to try it at the Mojo Lounge jam with a Harpgear Double Trouble and a Shure 520DX with the standard dynamic element with the following results.

I found that the pedal added quite a bit to the bottom end. It projected well for an 18 watt amp with a pair of 8" speakers. The addition to the bottom end was much more obvious when playing higher pitched harmonicas.

A few weeks later at the same place, I tried the Shure 520DX, Harp Tone+ and a Meteor Mini Meat joining Steve Freund performing the title track from his CD release entitled "Lonesome Flight".

I had some additional time with that combo to record this solo piece. (A Shure 520DX was
plugged into the Harp Tone+ and into the Meat channel of the Meteor Mini Meat (2x8, 1x10 w/ 5881's). The volume was cranked to 6, tone and presence knobs set at about 7 on the amp. The Harp Tone+ was set as follows: Bass at 5 o'clock (full), Treble at noon, Volume at about 9 o'clock which was set at the brink of feedback. I stuck a Zoom H2 behind the amp.)

I also tried the Shure 520DX, Harp Tone+ with a solid state Peavey Bandit 65. I was very surprised with the results. It was quite loud and toneful. I didn't get much of an opportunity to dial it in, but it sounded very usable. It was usable enough that I wanted to mess with the combination some more.

If you don't want to spend a bunch of money on a vintage microphone, the Lone Wolf Harp Tone+ will nicely complement any of the
contemporary harp mics like the Shure 520DX, Superlux D112 or the Astatic JT30-RH.