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Date: Sat, 11 Mar 1995 11:45:57 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re:gutair pickups on harpstrings (fwd)
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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 15:45:02 -0500
To: Har–(at)–IT.EDU
Subject: Re:gutair pickups on harpstrings

John Howarth asks :” does anyone know about attaching electric gutiar pickups
to a harp ?” Sarah Voynow has a soild body electric-single string
band-chromatic harp that I built for ,her that has magnetic soapbar Bartolini
pickups installed behind the strings. The special pickups she used are ones
that she had patened. They worked well in the studio ,but due to the
disharmony feedback from the 1/2 step strings she has not played it live
very much. I am
currently working on a new solid body electric for her with the R.M.C.
pickups, which work equally well with either a solid-body construction ,or a
acoustic body ,and work perfectly with Loveland levers .. Tina Tourin is
currently recording with one of my acoustic-electrics, and Sylivia Fellows is
going to get hers next month .The problem with the magnetic-gutiar type
pickups is that with steel strings ,[which is what you use with them ], is
seperating out the signals from the various strings. [Too much input] The
solution is to use indiviual string pickups. Rmc does also in addation to the
disc-harp pickups ,have little bridge type pickups that are used on acoustic
gutairs, this type could be more easily retrofitted to an exsisting harp
,but the string angle is rather crutial to proper installation. These pickups
are very small 1/ in by 1/8 in. in size, with a gold plated bridge, where the
string goes over it . The other type Rmc pickups , that Lyon Healy and I use,
come in various sizes ,1″ ,7/8″ ,and 3/4″. They require a specialy modifed
Forstner bit ,and a string spacing of Pedal type. Gary Garrington , and Sarah
Voynow have both installed ,or had other `s install sets of this type on Salvi
Daphne`s. The nice thing with both of these pizo type pickups is it makes no
diffrence what type string material is used with them .They work equally well
with steel ,bronze ,gut, or nylon ! In a solid body application they still
work just as well, because it is the actual vibration of the string itself
that is vibrating the crystals in the pickup .Thou in a acoustic harp ,they
also do pickup the sound generated in the soundboard .
Also they donot pick up any background noise or even the sound of a pair of
headphones banging on a harp`s neck ! [a recent studio expierence confirms
this last item , ask Tina Tourin about how they work in a studio setting ] .
I hope that no one thinks I`m blowing my own horn ,or harp too much here with
this info, I`m just trying to be helpful with information . Glenn


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I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Learning Harp

Picking Up Blues Harp

A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

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Harp Amps

I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.

Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


Harp Frequently Asked Questions