Friday, November 6, 2009


Casually I was asked about the harps I use on a forum today.  I use almost all Golden Melodies.  I have four Suzuki Firebreaths that I use as well.  I have a lot of "backup" harps that are typically GM's, but I also have a set of Suzuki Bluesmasters and Lee Oskars.

I am an overblow player, so the reeds on the GM's are sweet.  I like the out of the box feel of the FB's, but I've found I have to dampen the reeds to OB.  On fast runs, there usually isn't an issue.  If you listen to Leave Your Light On the end of my solo has a 6OB held with a "Chris Michalek" vibrato.  I have a tricky time doing that on a FB without dampening.

I do take time to work on my harps.  Tuning and reed replacement has been tricky, but I am getting better.  I try to tune to 443khz.  Draw reeds tend to flatten as you play, and the 443khz is what most my harps have been stock. I emboss, arc, and gap all the reeds, however, I've typically could get away with just tinkering with a few reeds. 

When I play, I don't blow too many harps last a long time.  I think this has to do with breath control.  I play some fast stuff from time to time and like to have the reeds be quick.  I feel that my tone and playing is much better when I don't breathe with a lot of pressure.  When I did the gig minus guitar, I noticed a huge difference in my technique.  The air pressure I played with was an all time low, and it really made playing a lot smoother and toneful. 

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