Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 520 #564)

 How to set that amp!!!

Joe took time last night to talk about the controls on amps, how they interact and what is most harp-friendly.

Working from the small class amp, he demonstrated how volume, gain and tone knobs each work and how changing them relative to each other yields different sounds.

Put simply, turning gain all the way up and volume all the way down gives you an extremely distorted sound. Turning them each the other way gets you a clean sound. Then of course there are various points in between for more or less distortion.

Regarding the disadvantages of heavy distortion, Joe points out that you are much more prone to feedback with a distorted setting...and feeding back on stage is a clear "amateur" label, so you want to avoid that.

A distorted sound also has no dynamic range. Your palette of tonal choices, volume choices and use of changes made through hand technique will be extremely limited. It is also a sound that does not allow you to "cut" in a busy, noisy band setting.

The tone knob allows you to turn to a brighter sound, which cuts more, but notice too that a brighter tone setting also gives you more perceived volume.

Get your amp out and run through these knob changes and see what you hear. Remember too that playing with an extremely wide range of sound and tone qualities (think Walter Horton) is possible when you work at your head tone, work at your hand technique and then set your amp clean to allow all that to shine through!

Class Notes

  • There's still time to register for the new Old Town session.
  • Psst! Madcat Ruth is going to be stopping by B1 next week. 

Harmonica Hoedown
Don't miss the Harmonica Hoedown March 13 at Martyr's. Curated and hosted by Bob Kessler and Graham Nelson, this year's show also features Peter "Madcat" Ruth and Joe Filisko. Tickets are available here.

And check out this great podcast interview Bob Kessler did recently with Madcat.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

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