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Thread: What makes an amp the best Harp Amp?

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    What makes an amp the best Harp Amp?

    Without going crazy with a wish list.... what features makes your dream harp amp the best usable, all around harp amp you can think off?

    Overall size, weight, ... type of power tubes, ... cathode biased, ...fixed bias, ...what phase inverter type, ... final output power, ...the actual type of coupling caps, ... number of speakers, 8"s, 10"s, single 12", 12"+8", single 15" ... a line out, ... single tone control or separate bass and treble tone controls, ... how about the worst case actual cost?
    Give me some feedback here, I'm itchin' to use up some old tweed chassis of mine and build a few harp amps.

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    Bruce

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    I don't play harmonica but an acquaintance who does ran these two web pages by me...

    www.harpamps.com/ampg/ampg10.html

    Keith's Amp Picks

    For those of you that are still confused or need to be hit over the head, here are my suggestions on what amps to consider.

    Small Amps
    Every Bluesman needs a small practice type amp that is light weight and still sounds good.

    My choices.

    Any amp with a 5Y3, 6V6, and a 12AX7 tubes with an 8 or 10-inch speaker.

    Examples:

    Fender Champ - Tweed is best because it sounds raunchy, but all before about 1970 sound good.

    Gibson Skylark - The white tolex kind from the 50's are my favorite, the later ones are not as loud or nasty sounding. I got mine for $75 and will never sell it.

    Premier 50 with the 12AX7 tube about 1960 - This is my favorite amp.

    Small Valco amps from the late 50's and early 60's - This includes Harmony, Silvertone, Supro, Danelectro and National amps. I have a Valco National that has the exact same circuitry as a tweed champ.

    Medium Power Amps
    These are Fender Tweed Deluxe style amps from the late 50's and early 60's. They have usually two 6V6 tubes and a 5Y3 rectifier. They have 2 or three 12AX7 tubes and a good one will have reverb. These can cut through the guitar players at a jam, but may have to be miced. They have a 12-inch speaker or 2 10's.

    The best choices are:

    Fender Tweed Deluxe - This is way out of my price range.

    Fender Princeton - Not the Princeton reverb, but the smaller amps based on two 6V6 tubes. The silverface amps are even good for harp. These are too tame for many guitar players and can still be had for under $500. The silverface might go for under $300.

    Premier Model 120. The ones from the early 60's are the ones I like best.

    Gibson GA-40 from the mid 1950's - This is a killer amp.

    Big Amps
    If you have to cut it with guitar players, your best bet is to get something with 2 12-inch speakers or 4 10-inch speakers and 2 6L6 tubes.

    1959 Fender Bassman. This is the holy grail of harp players. It had a 4x10 speaker configuration and minimalist circuitry. I found the one I played through to be too sensitive and got a lot of feedback, but everyone swears by them. This amp is the basis of most boutique harp amps.

    Sears Silvertone 1483. I have been told this is the best alternative to a '59 Bassman that you can get and the heads go for about $75. The cabinets are very cool and you can slide the head into the back of the cabinet for transportation. For $150 you can get an amp combo that sounds even better than the bassman.

    Premier Model 71. This is a buttery smooth amp that breaks up nicely and resists feedback. This is my favorite big amp.

    Older Ampeg Jets and ReverberRockets. These are great harp amps and readily available at affordable prices.

    Gibson GA90 - I am told this is one of Kim Wilson's favorites. It has 6 8-inch speakers. They are way too expensive for my wallet.


    There's also an interesting ongoing 6L6 harp amp build project at:

    Lone Wolf Harp Amps

    Lone Wolf Blues Co.

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    Last edited by overdrive; 02-14-2010 at 07:49 AM.

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    Pretty open ended Q there Bruce...

    Let's assume we are talking about a regular stage amp to be used with typical 40-50W guitar, bass & drums:

    4x10 Fenders are hard to beat, fixed bias punch, 4 light 10" speaker cones help keep front to the note, a good bassman or Brown Concert...a lot of guys like Super Reverbs, I do too but prefer a 12AX7 in the PI & find the 6G#A style presence very useful. A bit of voltage dropping on the SR preamp wouldn't go amiss either (I like 160-180vdc on tolex preamps running 12AX7). I'd recommend 480-525vdc on the 6L6 plates, if the PT will take it EH KT90 will give better dynamics & headroom (bias to 8-15mA per tube). It's no accident that tweed bassmans & Brown concerts are the most popular harp amps. Concert is harder, more aggressive due to tighter cab, but great for blues chromatic.

    Multiples of 10" are my preference, possibly mixed with 8" (wouldn't recommend just 8" unless for studio use). I have tried & tried & tried to make 12" competitive but always found increased feedback curbed available output in A/B comparisons. Even converted my SF twin to 2x10"...would consider a 4X10" cab for it too.

    For smaller amps 2-3x10"...if looking to exploit high plate current designs I'd stick to 2x10", speakers arranged vertically (to minimise feedback), also 2x10" if looking for a good compromise between harp & guitar (high current with 3 & 4x10" = feedback hell). Brown tolex Bandmaster is killer out of the box (but serviced), gives away a lttle headroom to the 4x10"s.

    If using 6L6 for gigging then I'd go with treble/bass/middle (usually need to roll off some bass for good cut/fidelity), for 6V6 a single hi cut tone pot is usually fine (& for 6L6 in recording/lo volume situ's).

    Some guys love 15" for their tone (Harman, Wilson, Buffalo Norton), but be prapared for it to cut around a third off percieved volume compared to 4x10"

    For gigging - always fixed bias, unless using a cathode/fixed switch. Love cathode for recording/low volume...even have a couple of self split amps for that purpose & quiet gigs. In many cases I found that 6L6 & 6V6 in cathode bias sound best without a bypass cap (less stiff, less feedback). 3 & 4x10" can be biased cool (<20mA) with Sovtek 5881, or Phillips 6L6WGB to curb feedback. 2x10" bias to regular currents.

    Contrary to common consensus, I ALWAYS prefer a SS rectifier in medium & large amps, only use a tube recto in my champ. 95% of the amps I know are gigged with SS rectifiers.

    Kim Wilson's most used gigging amps are Super Reverb, Brown Super & Brown Pro. I think that the GA 90 may have been used at a session (never confirmed) but a feedback monster to gig with. He has also claimed to use a champ for recording...he owns plenty of amps, so you can never be sure.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    Yeah, it was a little opened ended but when I ask the locals around here, (and there are a few good ones) I get two or three different answers from each of them!!
    In other words, there doesn't seem to be a solid general consensus about what makes a great harp amp except it has to be loud enough to be heard over the guitar player or drummer and needs to be feedback resistant.
    I have about 20 chassis and 1X12 tweed cabs I must to use up as over stock inventory and have been wanting to do another harp amp but... man!!!
    Some of these suckers are about as hard to work with as wanker guitar players! ha ha

    My plan so far is; 25 watts, two 6L6s and two preamp tubes.... a mix between a Masco 18, tweed 5F4/5E5 and a GA 6 Gibson and with a variable line out.

    Any others?

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    I believe youre on the right track Bruce. 5E5 is a nice circuit.
    Mixed speaker sizes give the best of two worlds. If you not have enough room for 1x12 speaker in combination with 1x10 you can try 1x10 and 1x8.
    i dont think i can recommend one size of speaker cause one amp works fantastic with a 12 and another is better with 2x8 or 2x10. It depends on how efficient the speaker is and how much you have to turn the amp up before it begin to breakup in the preamp.

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    Perhaps consider converting a 1x12" baffle to a single 10" and use a cleaner speaker like a Fane AX/AXA if 10" & 8" won't fit together? I have found the Emi Alpha 12" to be reasonably feedback resistant...but that was at cooler plate currents, 15-20mA (if you just really, really had to go with a 12"), the stock Blues Deluxe ceramic 12" Emi isn't too bad either.

    If the amp is for gigging I'd seriously consider a global NFB loop. For a pair of 6L6 in a mid-sized gig amp (drums & restrained guitar & bass), I'd really be looking for 440-470v on the plates.

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    My experience of a fane axa12 is that they have significant power compression, more so than a celestion gold. Even though they have high sensitivity at low power levels, they start to lose efficiency at about 20 watts and plateau out at about 30 watts, ie higher power input doesn't result in higher sound level.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback, I really appreciate any and all comments.


    I want this to be affordable and fairly simple.
    Most of the players I talk to really like the cathode biasing but with respect to many of the harp amps I've made... some have both cathode and fixed bias.
    I think the hard Chicago boogie players like the colder fixed bias tone.
    I'm thinking of trying "cold" cathode bias with the zener diode mod talked about in the other threads.

    I have tens of thousands of vintage carbon comp resistors and boxes and boxes of 200v to 630v Paper in Oil caps, from 680pF to .33uF.... I'd like to use some of them too.
    The PT I'll use (that fits this smaller chassis) is 680CTvac@160ma.
    The OT will be my custom wound tweed +30 watt 6L6 OT.
    Any tweed Deluxe iron fits too so I can make a 10w, 18w, 30 watt version with combination's of power tubes, trannys and rectifier tubes.

    I really want to use up the last of the "5F11" tweed cabinets.
    These are all made with the 12" baffle board though. They are almost the same size as a 5E3 narrow panel tweed Deluxe, but the 5F11 does not use the same size chassis... 5F11 is a bigger chassis. Hence th reason I can get Vol, Treble, Bass and Line Out on the top face.
    I do have a couple spare 1x10" baffles that would fit, but I don't think I want to try anything smaller then the 12" in there right now and there is no way two 10"s would fit right.
    However, the next step will also be a larger tweed 2x10 Super sized cabinet (since I have more then a half dozen of those 5F4 cabs left too)... then I could make it up with the std 2x10s or a new 12" and 8" combo which I really like too.
    No sure if I could get a 10 and 12 in there.

    Speakers:
    We've been messing with a few speakers here and found that the generic Eminence hemp coned Cannabis Rex 12" actually sounds pretty darn good... but only if the actual preamp is tuned a ways down from the 3Khz to 4Khz spikiness of that speaker and not with a tone control.
    That speaker is just a bit heavy for what I'd like to do in a 3/8" baffle board though.
    The other option is a custom made 12A125/P12Q from Weber with a smooth cone. I did not like the 12A100 at all.
    I'm not a big fan of those nor the Signature series but others like them a lot.

    Please, keep those suggestions coming.

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    Senior Member ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    I don't know many harp players personally, butd oes the desire for simplicity outweigh the flexibility you could get through a couple switches?

    As an engineer, it seems like you could cover a lot of ground using a fixed/cathode-bias/cathode-bias-without-capacitor switch, as well as a switch for tube/SS rectifier. Ditto for a TMB+Presence tone circuit.

    Since each harp player seems to want different characteristics, I think it would be well nigh impossible to design one amp that would satisfy a large number of them.

    - Scott

    P.S. Anyone tried pairing a 15" speaker with an 8" or 10"? In theory, it seems like it could combine good thump and body with attack, but perhaps there's a reason you don't see much of that combo. (Hey, how about wiring one of those resistive attenuator circuits in with the smaller speaker to "dial it out"?)

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    "as well as a switch for tube/SS rectifier" Could do, but most guys in a gig situation can't really tell if they have a SS rectifier or not, as long as the amp sounds good with SS that is...subbing a tube for the Sovtek SSR is quick & simple enough. In cathode bias especially, a SS rectifier might not be misssed at all (again, assuming amp is designed with SS in mind).

    I haven't heard any amps with a 15" for harp, that really have good "thump & body", tend more towards, brassy, middy, hornlike tones...it's big cone for a harp signal to move...probably best to keep it on it's own.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnenym View Post
    I believe you're on the right track Bruce. 5E5 is a nice circuit.
    Mixed speaker sizes give the best of two worlds. If you not have enough room for 1x12 speaker in combination with 1x10 you can try 1x10 and 1x8.
    i dont think i can recommend one size of speaker cause one amp works fantastic with a 12 and another is better with 2x8 or 2x10. It depends on how efficient the speaker is and how much you have to turn the amp up before it begin to breakup in the preamp.
    Well, Rick (Davis) who has been giving me some input too, also wants me to try a 12" and 8" combo in the 5F4 cabinet as soon as I get the chassis up and running.
    I'm pretty sure Gary's (Sonny Jr) Cruncher is another tweed 4x10 Bassman, made by MOJO musical supply for him and I really don't want to do just another harp tuned tweed Bassman.
    The 3x10 tweed Bandmaster format might be interesting but it is only a little smaller then the Bassman...
    Al Chesis uses one that I made for him... I do a lot of amp refurbing and tweaking for Al

    http://www.deltasonics.net/fr_index.cfm

    I have a 30 watt 5F4 amp with two Weber P10Rs in it, tuned for harp.
    I sent that one down to the Handy Awards a couple years ago for a back line amp.
    It got used a lot and was fairly well received. Unfortunately, it ended up going out on tour with a couple other players I barely even knew and not coming home for about 8 months! sheesh. It is well used now.

    But, what about the actual speakers...
    Some players like the Alnico way better then ceramic but I think the only
    three makers of Alnico speakers are SICA (reissue Jensen), WeberVST and Eminence. I don't know if I like very many of those.
    I've modded a few old brown face Concerts for harp and they sound killer with two ceramics and two Alnico speakers... same thing with a 3x10 tweed Bandmaster.
    BF 4x10 Supers do not sound as good though.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnenym View Post
    I believe you're on the right track Bruce. 5E5 is a nice circuit.
    Mixed speaker sizes give the best of two worlds. If you not have enough room for 1x12 speaker in combination with 1x10 you can try 1x10 and 1x8.
    i dont think i can recommend one size of speaker cause one amp works fantastic with a 12 and another is better with 2x8 or 2x10. It depends on how efficient the speaker is and how much you have to turn the amp up before it begin to breakup in the preamp.
    Yeah, I could get a DPDT switch in the bottom for fixed or cathode power tube biasing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce / Mission Amps View Post
    Well, Rick (Davis) who has been giving me some input too, also wants me to try a 12" and 8" combo in the 5F4 cabinet as soon as I get the chassis up and running.
    I'm pretty sure Gary's (Sonny Jr) Cruncher is another tweed 4x10 Bassman, made by MOJO musical supply for him and I really don't want to do just another harp tuned tweed Bassman.
    The 3x10 tweed Bandmaster format might be interesting but it is only a little smaller then the Bassman...
    Al Chesis uses one that I made for him... I do a lot of amp refurbing and tweaking for Al

    Delta Sonics - index

    I have a 30 watt 5F4 amp with two Weber P10Rs in it, tuned for harp.
    I sent that one down to the Handy Awards a couple years ago for a back line amp.
    It got used a lot and was fairly well received. Unfortunately, it ended up going out on tour with a couple other players I barely even knew and not coming home for about 8 months! sheesh. It is well used now.

    But, what about the actual speakers...
    Some players like the Alnico way better then ceramic but I think the only
    three makers of Alnico speakers are SICA (reissue Jensen), WeberVST and Eminence. I don't know if I like very many of those.
    I've modded a few old brown face Concerts for harp and they sound killer with two ceramics and two Alnico speakers... same thing with a 3x10 tweed Bandmaster.
    BF 4x10 Supers do not sound as good though.
    I modded a old PA head to a friend and he wanted a threeknob tone control. I found a very good circuit-mix of 5F4 and 5F6. It sound gorgeous.
    Its a bassman style preamp with bass, middle and treble control and a cathodyne PI and a cathode biased 2 X 6L6 final.

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    "I'm pretty sure Gary's (Sonny Jr) Cruncher is another tweed 4x10 Bassman, made by MOJO musical supply for him and I really don't want to do just another harp tuned tweed Bassman." Gary makes a 4x10, but the Cruncher is (1x12" + 2x8"), with the 5F6A circuit, built by Keith Robb (his own layout) AFAIK at present.

    "Some players like the Alnico way better then ceramic but I think the only
    three makers of Alnico speakers are SICA (reissue Jensen), WeberVST and Eminence."...and Fane, but I'd only use 1, or 2 tops for punch. Otherwise, every player I know who has A/B'd the SICA (crap in a tweed, too scooped in the mids, no body, not so bad in a tolex amp though)/Weber/Emi has preferred the Emi, fuller, meatier tone with a less clanky, metallic character than the others...Kinder used them & many harp players looking for an RI opt for the older version equipped with the Emis. No real preference between the blue (25W) or the black (35W).

    In a 3 or 4x10" I too like a mix between a couple of Emis for character & 1 or 2 smoother, darker, punchier ceramics to round out the sound. Gary O uses the Emi 105, not my favourite (middy, bitey, shelves the low end a bit early).

    3x10" Tweed Bandmaster - would you keep the choke input filter? I'd be tempted to place the choke between the screens & main B+ like on later amps.

    Kendrick built a (1x10" + 1x12") amp based on the 5E# circuit.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWJB View Post
    "I'm pretty sure Gary's (Sonny Jr) Cruncher is another tweed 4x10 Bassman, made by MOJO musical supply for him and I really don't want to do just another harp tuned tweed Bassman." Gary makes a 4x10, but the Cruncher is (1x12" + 2x8"), with the 5F6A circuit, built by Keith Robb (his own layout) AFAIK at present.

    "Some players like the Alnico way better then ceramic but I think the only
    three makers of Alnico speakers are SICA (reissue Jensen), WeberVST and Eminence."...and Fane, but I'd only use 1, or 2 tops for punch. Otherwise, every player I know who has A/B'd the SICA (crap in a tweed, too scooped in the mids, no body, not so bad in a tolex amp though)/Weber/Emi has preferred the Emi, fuller, meatier tone with a less clanky, metallic character than the others...Kinder used them & many harp players looking for an RI opt for the older version equipped with the Emis. No real preference between the blue (25W) or the black (35W).

    In a 3 or 4x10" I too like a mix between a couple of Emis for character & 1 or 2 smoother, darker, punchier ceramics to round out the sound. Gary O uses the Emi 105, not my favourite (middy, bitey, shelves the low end a bit early).

    3x10" Tweed Bandmaster - would you keep the choke input filter? I'd be tempted to place the choke between the screens & main B+ like on later amps.

    Kendrick built a (1x10" + 1x12") amp based on the 5E# circuit.
    I like the B+ rail but it's not actually a choke input filter... it's a brute force PI filter.
    What I don't like about it (and I change it) is that the screen voltage node is take from the center tap of the OT.
    I use a 2k7 2 W resistor there with another node cap.

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    Member Hurricane's Avatar
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    Cool 56 Years OF Harp

    Hello Lovers If Harp Amp Heaven :


    When I finally got around to a harp amp my first was a little Gibson Skylark , took out the old 8"Jensen ( still have it ) and stuck in a 8" JBL and man what a beautiful difference .
    Sure the squawk and stuff diminished , personally I like that . The harmonics were affected too in my opinion again in a favorable manner . Over all performance was great . I like the jazzy side of harp's sounds , the warm sweet side .

    My style is rather eclectic ...

    .......With 56 years of music it can be no other way , don't care who you are .

    Horizons broaden one's palette with more color so's to speak . I'll do Ellington and turn around and do Dixon jump to Hank Williams and then to Van Morrison for some jazzy rocking soul blues . Then I rock-a-billy it some too and am sure glad I did and do cause 12 years ago I hooked up Chan Romero ( go ahead and google his name ) my rock-a-billy living legend , I get to play with him regularly .

    I had a great big @$$ X2 12" Celestians in a 60 watt Marshall - same over all sound as the little Gibson Skylark . Loved it used it - abused it - it was perfect save the fact I'm getting older and it appeared to be gaining weight and would not go on a diet .

    Then .......

    Coming home form San Diego after gigging I passed the Carvin factory when it was in Escondido ( now it's in San Diego ) and stopped in and asked if I could come back when I had time and audition my Marshall next to a X-60 tube amp ( 60 watts ) and was told sure .

    I came back a week later side by sided them and spent a whole afternoon ( yep from about 1:00PM till they asked me to leave at 5:00PM ) and sold that fat @$$ Marshall ........

    It's now 17 years since that occasion and that Carvin is still cranking serious stuff .

    Some where a few years ago I ended up with a Gretsch OLD TIMY Electrophonic - - Oh Yeah - - Class A with a electromagnet and not a ceramic or anilco wrapped around the speakers voice coil !

    This is one serious squawk and raunch to the max , in a league of it's own . Love it as much as the Skylark for different reasons .

    All these tube amps really give out the vintage vibe for real in the audio spectrum that they excel in . Big difference is the physical punch that diminishes from going down in power and speaker area size and that's about it . I can get feedback Doppler waves ala Jimi Hendrix on them all .

    After years at it and going pro in 77 on a harp I have played through many amps - Bassmans - Supertwins - with any and all the so called must have's in tube designs and wattage's and they are all good and wonderfully great .

    But in the final it's the lips - lungs - and love - that make it happen .

    I can be comfortable with a great P . A . too and rip Paul Butterfield's Mojo , and then jump on a jazzy piece like Howard Levy on a 10 hole doing chromatic chops to get the notes on Lady's A Tramp or nuances to Hoagy Carmichael's " Giorgia " all on a P . A . and get it done right and tight .

    I can ( I know some are reading this and will say " ¡ no way ! " ) get Doppler feedback on a P . A . too heh heh heh .

    I think amp makers these days are turning out fantastic stuff , the kind of stuff that is showing up in younger harp player's quivers and that truly is a great and good thang because it means the music is not only being played , it also being taken to new territory's and that I really love .

    Besides the amp thang .......... I love acoustic harp amplification too and have only these types of recorded examples to demonstrate and since this is about amps I won't post them .

    One is a patriotic ditty written and sung by my man Chan and the other 3 examples are unplugged live youtube vid's with Cesar Rosas from Los Lobos - Eric Burdon WAR & Animals - Mark Guerrero (got me da gig heh heh ) friend and guitar man extraordinaire and me .

    Any one want a listen say so

    Well that's a little of my experience(s) I hope some one finds worth wasting time reading heh heh heh .

    I had a little miracle after waiting 36 years - 3 months and 11 days and now all my harp amps double up for guitar amps now ! I love my tube amps !

    Easy Blood Brothers Of Wind Power :

    Hurricane Ramon

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    I like the Kendrick "So-Lo" theory on his guitar amp. Switch to cut power down for private practice. Headphone jack,I know it is hard and maybe darn near impossible uness you also provide the headphones, but you ask for the ideal amp. Mine would need headphones to keep the dogs quiet during practice.

    Dave


    " Is anything easier done than said?"

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    Gerald describes a head phone hook up for a tube amp in his book "Tube amp talk for guitarist & tech". But for harp, you have to consider that it is an acoustic instrument, even if you can't hear it with headphones on, everyone else can. After a point there's not much need for a super quiet harp amp, because it would be overpowered by the instrument.

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    I feel sorry for you Bruce. It may not be easy to have the harmonica world's best-known troublemakers as advertisement. I know several players refrain from buying a good harmonica amplifier to a nice price from you because of him. He has written their speeches as if he had been an important part in the development and calls it "our amp".
    Its no good for your business.

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    I'm not sure what you mean, "even if you can't hear it with headphones on." Even when I practice acoustically, the sound I hear is diffferent than someone standing in front of me. I like to practice with the bullet mic in my hand and if it is not turned on it is weird sounding, in my head. So, if I run the mic into my solid state Fender, add a little delay, and listen to myself through the headphone, I get a better idea of the sound I project.
    I think!

    I may be all wet here but since I like the headphone sound of stereo SO much better than open air, it makes since to me to have a headphone option on the tube amp as well.

    I just saw a YouTube with Kim Wilson in a studio setting and all the musicians were wearing headphones while they were playing.

    The Kendrick "So - LO" not only has the headphone jack (admittedly for guitar) but it also has the selectable output wattage.

    DynamicDave

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    I don't think I would ever offer a headphone output... it's just never asked of me but line out jacks are and I do a few of those kinds of mods to existing amps too.

    Mission Harp Amps - home

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    The So Lo 7 headphone jack doesn't care whether you are playing a harp or guitar, selectable outut wattage is common on high end practice amps, usually via a switchable resistive attenuator, or "L" pad.

    My point was that you are better getting used to what you sound like, without an amp & developing your tone without anything "flattering" the sound (which may be difficult to replicate on stage/at jams/through other players gear - if you get it down "at source" you'll still make a goodsound through other gear), when I practice (& most folks I know), I might cup a mic but it won't be plugged in. Headphone jack is more understandable for say a strat, because there is very little acoustic sound from the instrument. Even if you play cupped into an amp with a headphone jack, your dogs will still hear your harp, if not what's coming out of the phones.

    It is usual for studios to supply headphones so performers can monitor themselves, especially when using powerful stage type amps in a confined space (like they are in the Wilson clip - looks like a brown Super to me). Back in the day at Chess Malcolm Chisolm, however, stated that they avoided headphones at all costs because it made the singers sing flat.

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    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWJB View Post
    Back in the day at Chess Malcolm Chisolm, however, stated that they avoided headphones at all costs because it made the singers sing flat.
    As far as I know this is true. Back in those days they couldn't just patch in a digital reverb, but nowadays, adding reverb to the singer's headphone mix helps a lot. It doesn't work for every singer, but it worked for everyone I've ever recorded with, which isn't saying a lot mind you.

    If you have a singer that can't use headphones, multitrack recording gets tricky.

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    Doing a "Van Gogh - one phone on, one phone off - usually helps me.

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    Back to speaker question...

    As I also hear and read much about speaker config in harp-amps since years, I'll try the "exotic" way too now, and mix speaker sizes in my 71' Fender Super Reverb.

    The amp is already "harp-modified" so it doesn't matter to be less original anymore...

    Instead or three of four 10" speakers I ordered one Weber 12A125-O, and two Weber 8" AlNiCo Signature, which I know from my HG2.
    So the Configuration will be: on 12", one 10" and two 8"s. I was satisfied with the sound till now, but I expect , that the Super will deliver and combine even more Bandwith of the Frequencies.

    After finishing that modification - I will report the effect here

    Greetz
    Spritty

    PS: please apologize my english - I'm from Austria

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    Spritty wrote: "but I expect , that the Super will deliver and combine even more Bandwith of the Frequencies." Well mixing 10"s of differing frequency responses (some dark, some bright) will do that, without changing speaker sizes. Going for different sizes of cones has more effect on projection & spread of sound.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce / Mission Amps View Post
    My plan so far is; 25 watts, two 6L6s and two preamp tubes.... a mix between a Masco 18, tweed 5F4/5E5 and a GA 6 Gibson and with a variable line out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce / Mission Amps View Post
    I think the hard Chicago boogie players like the colder fixed bias tone.
    I think you're right, Bruce. If my memory serves me correctly, there's reproduction of a tweed super that serves as the house harp amp at a local nightclub that's owned by a guy who plays a polka-dotted guitar. Its the fixed bias / 6L6 version of the circuit.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    I think you're right, Bruce. If my memory serves me correctly, there's reproduction of a tweed super that serves as the house harp amp at a local nightclub that's owned by a guy who plays a polka-dotted guitar. Its the fixed bias / 6L6 version of the circuit.
    Ha ha ha... OK, guess we know who that is.
    Done the harp modded tweed 5F4, 5E5 and 5F7 a few times.. this one is different.... 1x12.
    What I ended up doing is now called the Chicago 32-20. Some you older blues cats might rememebr that Robert Johnson song.
    It does have fixed bias and cathode bias switching and runs two 6L6s at about 420vdc.
    It makes about 30-32 watts in fixed bias and about 20-22 watts in cathode bias.
    The deep switching is really a plus but was very tricky to implement with out killing the very life out of the amp.
    I just recently started putting an spst on the first preamp triode stage's cathode bypass cap as I actually liked it with or without too much to not do it.
    I'm sticking with that 12" Eminence hemp cone Cannabis Rex for now ... it just seems to work really well with this configuration.

    Mission Harp Amps - Blues Harmonica Amplifiers - home

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    I know there are many great sounding amps for harp that have 12A?7 preamp tubes, but I have a Fat Dog Model 1a amp that is the sweetest sounding harp amp that I've heard so far, and it has octal preamp tubes (a 6SJ7 and a 6SN7). Also, the most coveted Masco amps (MA-17 and ME-18) have octal preamps.

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    Not disagreeing with you but, the trouble with octal preamp tubes (if they don't necessarily sound great in a specific amp) is that there are fewer plug in alternatives. With a noval socket you can sub four or five alternatives. Gary Onofrio's cathode biased SJ1 & SJ2 amps were based on a MA17 type topology and they certainly had that 50's PA vibe, he used 9-pin preamp tubes.

    No matter how much homework you have done on the circuit, it's still useful to have options, especially when faced with a selection of mics with differing outputs.

    The vast majority of stage amps used for harp have 12A#7 tubes.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    There's a good argument for using a multi-channel PA amp and scaling each of the channels differently.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    How much output power does the Fat Dog have?

    They certainly are priced well....

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    Bruce

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Single ended 6L6 in Class A pentode? Gotta be around 10-12 watts.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Yeah, bob p is right about the Fat Dog amp - 10-12 watts.

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    Will you be using a choke or a resistor in it's place? What about a switch between them, or between two different value resistors? It might be nice to be able to "brown" the amp out a little. By the way, thanks for your help sorting out the Proluxe. It's sounding really good.

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