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Messages - jzinmass

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Recording Tips & Tricks / Amp gain, I gain, we all gain
« on: August 04, 2014, 08:13:07 AM »
In recent comment on my posting, Bob astutely noted: '..Something is really wrong with your recording, like you left a high gain amp on accidentally.'  Very helpful, except I've never really understood what 'gain' was (indeed, sounds like the more you add, the more you gain..good thing, right?).
Looked it up :  Gain:
In electronics, gain is a measure of the ability of a circuit (often an amplifier) to increase the power or amplitude of a signal from the input to the output. It is usually defined as the mean ratio of the signal output of a system to the signal input of the same system.   
Amplifiers generate random voltage at the output even when there is no signal applied. This can be due to thermal noise and flicker noise of the devices. For applications with high gain or high bandwidth, noise becomes a very important consideration.

It looks like when gain is increased noise is introduced.....
This is not security trading, here, less gain is better.  I also had a floor fan running next to the mic when recording (hot day) and high gain amplified it.
Thanks Bob

Harmonica Playing Technique Q & A / Loopers
« on: May 24, 2014, 12:40:51 PM »
Just posted a looper based song (Solo 1).  I have spent (wasted?) about a year working with my RP255 & have loads of questions.
Anybody out there loop?  ....wanna talk?  I started after hearing SODave, Branden Bailey and other nonharp loopers.  I think Bailey offers Skype lessons.  He recently posted on MBH a very useful YTube instruction segment.
Some questions
1)My RP 255 has one loop channel.  Thus, can only stack which means once a loop is recorded, there is no getting rid of it.  this limits song structure options.  Anyone work with more sophisticated devices?
2) RP limits 20 seconds  on recording length- this makes chord progressions  difficult unless you run thru them real fast.  I am left with modal songs.  Bailey advises very short loops as not to bore audience.
3) Rhythm is a b**tch in several ways:
     a)  If you try hand rhythm - SOD does some of this with Marcas and the like, it is difficult keeping the rhythm ( which I believe most songs need-Beat boxing may be best solution) and this is further complicated because of:
      b) loop cut off.  Unless it is timed perfectly, rhythm gets off at each cycle.   Very hard to both get and stay in the groove when every 20 seconds or so, there is an unwanted rest.  Bailey addressed this in his brief MBH post.     

Enough.  I like working with it and envision performances not always dominated by our guitarist colleagues.
keep it

The type of computer is important but put that aside for a moment.
It's a good idea to have music editing software - Audacity (free) will work fine.  That will allow you to record your track over the mp3 you download from this site.
You could squeeze by with just that but you'd be well served to buy a usb microphone plus splurge on a set of earphones.
If your computer processor isn't too old, you should be set.
If that approach does not work there are many, many other ways to go that involve more $, digital recorders, etc.
Good luck.

Gear Lust / Re: Plastic comb vs hot water for cleaning
« on: May 06, 2014, 09:05:58 AM »
Maybe monthly (bi-?), I run my Spec20s through the dishwasher and then an ultrasonic cleaner (with little fizzy tabs). I finish off the wash with my coup de grace - a Vodka soak and then hair dryer treatment.  I do not, however, drink the vodka afterwards.  That soak  washes away the ultrasonic cleaner fluid and makes initial playing tasty.

I don't know if this prolongs harp life or helps maintain tuning.  but it doesn't take too long nor degrade the instruments.


Hello Room / Re: Hello from Arlington, MA
« on: March 10, 2014, 08:54:49 AM »
Yo Lazy Lew-
The Johnny D jam faction is increasing on Harm Boogie.  We have another Mass Bluesman on site.
You know your instrument & definitely know your blues harp history. Can't wait to hear a posting from you.
Glad you followed up.

Jeff Z

Hello Room / Re: Just wanna stop by and say....hey.
« on: March 05, 2014, 05:39:25 PM »
...oh, so we don't have to donate $100 each time we post ... what a relief...

Administration & Announcements / Re: Seven Good Years
« on: February 22, 2014, 05:42:38 PM »
I am very sorry to read of your ailment.  I recall several pieces of yours in recent years (since nostalgia seems strong on the forum right now) that were brilliant.  You posted a solo with a flute with a strong Eastern feel- sorta of a transcendent call/response- I really liked it.  Another piece - Grey Skies- was very sweet, sensitive.  I cannot imagine how tough it is for you to lose your playing ability.  It is sad and I hope you find grace elsewhere.  Those were good years, expect more.
- I look forward to hearing some of your 'greatest hits', reading your comments and Forum postings.
Hang in there.
Jeff Z 

Harmonica Internet Resources / Re: Amazon Suzuki Sale
« on: November 09, 2013, 11:39:44 AM »
Purchased and received today a Suzuki Promaster. Listed for $70+, paid $22. Never would have tried it were it not so inexpensive. Not a bad instrument (but will stick with Spec 20). Thanks for the heads up--always a month behind reading harp-L posts.

Administration & Announcements / Re: video up
« on: October 16, 2013, 08:24:47 PM »
Loud, sustained applause for the compilation...a number of players I have never heard before- all very talented.  You generated some good comments on MBH Forum as well.  Good idea to post it there. Interesting to see how many top notch players have passed through HarmonBoogie. 
--if you won't create a 'worst of'- how about a Google Hang out?--a reunion party (kidding). 
At any rate, a fitting tribute to the  online boogie harp institution.
thanks for all your contributions to the community.

Hello Room / Re: RRR says Hello Everyone
« on: September 20, 2013, 01:51:21 PM »
I was looking in the 10 watt range for tube amps and ended up with VHT Special 6 which sounds pretty good OOTB.  One thing that attracted me to it was the ease of upgrade. From what I read, swapping a few tubes will improve sound and, if you're up for it, a speaker swap is not too hard or expensive and helps the sound even more. These improvements can all be DIY and add maybe 20% to price. But, as is, I like the sound and it is reasonably priced.
If you want to endlessly research this topic, try searching on the Forum on the Modern Blues Harmonica website (linked to the left under "Adam Gussow").
Good luck

Harmonica Playing Technique Q & A / Re: Do you "Cringe?"
« on: September 03, 2013, 10:54:34 AM »
Is a bit quiet, isn't it?
I always re-listen/ re-record until I stop cringing, then post. Like writing, I put something aside for at least 24 hours and then re-listen (or re-read) to get a better taste of my cooking.
Feel free to take down your posts, but I wish would wouldn't. You have your own sound- distinctive- and you're improving for sure.  Although, I've learned to comment quickly when you post.
I also find it challenging to jam although I learn a great deal and don't ever recall regretting it when I have. But a big push is needed. I'd encourage you to give it a 'go'. I think people would like it.

Hello Room / Re: Hello from Germany
« on: August 01, 2013, 08:56:05 PM »
You sound like you know your blues.  Great list of harp influences - maybe we can start a list of favorite albums for each performer. 
You hit the nail on the head regarding developing your own sound/ your own blues style and the challenge therein.  First one learns from the masters  and then tries to figure out who S/HE is (i.e., what they want to express) - at least, that's the path I travel. Others, you may find, have different approaches.
Looking forward to hearing from you.  BTW, if the site technology (getting backing tracks downloaded, etc.) gets confusing/frustrating - just ask for help (or look into Forum history).  The more people that join in, the better this site becomes.

Hello Room / Re: Hello from Greece
« on: July 29, 2013, 10:10:07 AM »
Greetings & welcome.
 Would love to know whether there are  blues bars in Athens- places where you can jam.
Down and out in sunny Athens--could be an interesting mix-intriguing sound.
I can appreciate how tough it is right now ( e.g., see this week's BusinessWeek cover story)- so hope you are managing okay.
Cannot wait to hear you.
thanks for joining.

Hello Room / Re: Hi from Vermont
« on: May 30, 2013, 08:48:05 AM »
I agree with Rick- post on the Main Stage- trust me, you're ready.
Glad to hear you on the site. Think you'll find it challenging, fun and rewarding (plus, once you post a song, you'll start checking on regular basis).
So, let her rip. Cannot wait to hear your offerings.


You've helped create a stupendous international harping community, so now best wishes, postive vibes and prayers can be channeled back to you and Andrea from around the world. 
I wish you & Andrea the best during this difficult process.


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