micing a harmonica

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by sswaffer, Mar 1, 2001.

  1. sswaffer

    sswaffer Guest

    Any suggestions on micing a harmonica for a solo?
  2. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Don't know if this is textbook, but I avoid any mic with a presence boost like the plague for this sort of application if I can, and if I can't, I get heavy handed with the eq. I haven't tried a Sennheiser MD409 for this application, but its smooth sound and high frequency roll-off would make it seem worth trying. If you're stuck in SM-57/58 land, take advantage of the directional nature and mic off axis to control the highs. And giving some distance will help a *lot*, as the highs will blend into a more unified sound if the player isn't righ on the mic. And you'll probably want to compress the bejesus out of it and be generous with the reverb.

    If the harmonica player does the green-bullet-into-small-amp thing, I'd probably just mic the amp and be done with it. The compression and tone shaping are probably done more effectively through that signal chain than I could imagine doing with standard home or project studio gear. You might want to supplement the processing, but it'll be mostly there.

    Naturally, YMMV enormously. I might have left the parking break on or something.

    da Bear
  3. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Depends on the mics you already have. Start with the cheapest stage mic you have and go up from there. Most harmonica players usually have their own mic. I like to run a cheesy mic (with limited response) thru a really small guitar amp, and then mic the amp. There ain't a whole lotta range to a harmonica so unless you really want a hi-fi solo, go for the grit.
  4. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Bloomington, IL
    If you're going for a folky Dylan type thing, use a large diaphragm and some space. Also have the player hold the sides of the harmonica, not "the blues guy cup around the thing"
  5. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    I believe allot of cats use an astatic mic with their microphone.


  6. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Near Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    Every blues/rock harp player I know uses an Astatic mic. They are cheese in the extreme and add tremendous overtones to the harp. I usually record using a large diaphragm condenser (like my Rode NT1) about a foot away from the speaker of a Pignose or other smaller amp and get a great "in your face" harp sound. A 57 or 58 will work but not like an Astatic.
  7. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    And the Astatic has a volume control on the mic, I believe. That makes it easier for the player to adjust his/her level while playing.
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