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TOPIC: Pre-Amp help needed

Pre-Amp help needed 1 year 11 months ago #1632

Hi all. So I've been playing 6 years and have been to lots of jams. Most of the time I show up with my shaker mic with 1/4 plug and get plugged into the mixer and off I go. The jam I play with weekly changed their PA system. Now even when I'm on max volume and the mixer is max volume the output volume is really low. I plugged into a DI box they have and that helped some. They suggested a pre-amp. I am learning by reading about pre-amps. I need/want something small and easy to transport. The most important item is that it will boost my signal for a louder output.
After research, I seem to like/think the Hartke VLX Bass Attack pre-amp direct box will work for me. I would love any and all comments and suggestions.
I am also looking into a small amp for just practicing at home. I was thinking a Pignose or Orange.
Help me please!!! Thank you everyone.
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Pre-Amp help needed 1 year 11 months ago #1633

  • Reed Smith
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Sandy,
I recommend Lone Wolf Blues Company. When I decided to try some FX pedals I looked
at everything I could find. Lone Wolf builds FX pedals "dedicated" to harmonica tone.
The company is a mom and pop operation out of Baton Rouge, Randy the owner is
the main tech and builder and works with harmonica players (Jason Ricci, Johnny Sansone,
Ronnie Shellist, to name a few) to produce pedals that truly do for harmonica what is
intended. They don't kill tone like a guitar pedal might, and they actually allow for much
more volume before feedback. The mic you have is a high impedence mic, most all FX pedals
are high impedence. You can run your mic cable 1/4 jack directly into the pedal and then use
an instrument cable out and into whatever you use, P.A. or amp. Randy also sells a harp
dedicated amps at a very fair price. Everything comes with a five year guaranty against defects
and all are returnable for a full refund within sixty days. I am in no way affiliated with Lone Wolf,
but I do play amplified electric harmonica in one of the bands I play in and the Lone Wolf stuff
does precisely what it says it will, and that is exactly what I was looking for. For what you are
doing (I did check it out) you could appreciate Lone Wolf products. Randy, his wife Missy, or
their tech Nathan are all super nice folks who I am sure would be more than happy to help you
out if you were to contact them. Here: www.lonewolfblues.com Or you can try one of the phone
numbers at the site and perhaps talk to someone direct. The pedals for the most part are in your
$ range, and, if for some reason you decide it isn't for you, return it within sixty days. As for a tube
amp in your $, I can't recommend the Pignose, I have personally owned a couple and they are
quite shoddily built. The Orange being a guitar amp tends to have a lot of gain, which translates
to feedback for a harp mic. Avoid amps that have a volume and master volume, gain boosts,
EQ, and FX loops. A reverb tank and a tremolo circuit are fine, just avoid too many frills. An
amp I hear and read good things about as far as it being inexpensive and friendly to harmonica
and harmonica mods is the VHT, made in California. Good luck, and keep at it, you are gettin'
something going. BTW I have worked with Bill Wharton on a couple of occasions, (see, I was lookin).
Regards, Reed
Last Edit: 1 year 11 months ago by Reed Smith.
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Pre-Amp help needed 1 year 11 months ago #1634

Thank you Reed for the GREAT info. I think I am going with one of the LW products. I will talk to Randy about the Harp Attack and Harp Break. I will check into the VHT amp. I don't mind spending the $$, but I really want to make sure it's what I need/want before I invest. Thanks for checkin me out. I have been fortunate to have played with some great musicians and everyone has been helpful.
Thanks again.
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Pre-Amp help needed 1 year 11 months ago #1635

  • Reed Smith
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@Chicago-Sandy,
Glad to help. My personal journey for amplified harp tone started 34 years ago, I have
spent much time and money, I bought a Lone Wolf *Harp Break because of what I heard
it providing for a cat on YouTube playing a Bassman re-issue. Since I play thru an older
model Super Reverb on larger gigs, and the two amps are virtually the same layout the
Harp Break would do the same for me. At a bit less than $200, I took a shot, WOW is all
I can say 'bout that. I got the delay because I wanted just a bit of "slap back", same sentiment.
Yeah, on the VHT, I have never played one so I can't quantify any type of opinion, but from
what I have heard, and the specs I have read they are harp friendly. Randy at Lone Wolf does
amp mods and all type of electronics, he learned in the Navy, so he may even have suggestions.
I build custom harmonicas for an aftermarket company here in Florida named Blue Moon Harmonicas
we specialize in building diatonic harmonicas on custom CNC milled combs of various materials.
Check out what's happening at www.bluemoonharmonicas.com
Regards, Reed Smith aka Another Name
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Pre-Amp help needed 1 year 10 months ago #1751

  • george
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I wasn't looking for a harp pre-amp, but needed more inputs for our band. I was "given" a Radio Shack power mixer with three 1/4 inputs. The power then acts as a pre-amp for my wife's mountain dulcimer and brings that soft instrument right up to equal with the guitar. You said you weren't concerned with the price, but I'm sending this as the unit is so small and light that it can be attached to the side of an amp with velcro and no one doubts it was meant to be.
Geo.
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