I have the choice of buying either a Peavey Micro Bass Amp for $50 or a Fender Frontman 15G for $89. Are either of these good for playing/learning harp amped?
I’m not sure about either of those. But, if you’re looking to spend that kind of money, you could consider a cheaper Pignose one: http://www.pignoseamps.com/index.php?disp=master&subcat=portamps .
I’ve never used an amp yet, myself, but there is a group of folk musicians that play in my local area and the guy in the group who plays the harmonica told me that’s what he uses and he’d recommend. The group’s been playing for 10+ (15+, maybe?) years, so I’m guessing he knows what he’s talking about…
Thanx! I am shopping at the local pawn shop and these two are in my price range. I wasn’t sure if the regular guitar amp or the bass amp was better for harp playing. I know this isn’t a great price but they are in the ballpark and look in good condition. I still don’t have a mic yet either, I am trying to figure out what to tell Santa I want.
Honestly, neither of those amps are much better than you would get playing harmonica thru your computer sound card. The amplification in your computer is solid state (same as either the Peavey or the Fender) and the mic in computer is a tiny element (think “Eggstatic” mic).
If you want louder that is all you’ll get. Amplified tone comes from the players acoustic tone, if you have good acoustic tone then louder might be better. If on the other hand your accoustic tone suffers, so shall your amped tone (just louder suffering). A tube amp is what you are looking for to ENHANCE tone, I’ve never heard a solid state amp accomplish this. Save your money, when you can afford to buy a tube amp. I know this sounds like a far stretch for someone who wants that amped tone. But, in this economy to throw good money after bad isn’t the best bang for your dollar. Buying either of these amps even if you have great accoustic tone will be a disapointment, buying these amps with a so-so tone will only make the so-so louder NOT better. The Kalamazoo (by Gibson) is a great little amp that is all tube, point to point wired class A power. Coupled with a decent mic you have a killer harp rig that will serve you for many years. I am trying to hip you to the fact that amplified harmonica doesn’t come from the amp, 90% comes from the player. Spend your money wisely, the alternative is to buy a bunch of crappy amps and continue to search for the “Holy Grail” of amped tone.
Good Luck, Soup or President (I’ll take the soup!)
Thank you! That is the information I was looking for! An idea as to what I need to look for in my first amp . I have learned my lesson about buying just to have the gear, and it not be what I really need or want. Thanks for keeping me from wasting my money.
Yeah save your money, practice your accoustic tone, then when you are ready get yerself a tube amp. There are many out there, but for a small (5 watts) amp the Kalamazoo model 1 is hard to beat (check 'em out). Class A circuitry refers to the tube/s pushing all their power at once. I am sure you’ll do more homework come time to buy. One of my favorite little amps is a Garnet I picked up for a song 22 years ago. It has a ten inch speaker and pushes between 5-7 watts depending on the power tube, and sounds like a ton. Keep checking pawn shops and garage/estate sales for a small tube amp. These are the ones that have glass tubes (usually visible when you look in the back)
the large tube is the power tube, and in small (5-10 watts) amps there will be only one. I personally prefer 8"-10" speakers, which are easier to drive. A driven TUBE tone is what I think you are looking for. Good luck on your gear quest, shop wisely, check with me if you need, I’ll be more than willing to offer any advice I can.