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Which amp should I go with?

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  • #77978

    Now that I have narrowed down a pickup for my pedal harp (thanks to the wonderful advise from the Harp Columnists!), I realize that I need to purchase my first amp. DHC has a Fishman Mini Loudbox that sounds just lovely with her electric harp, but would that be sufficient for a pedal harp? I am open to all suggestions, but I am hoping to find a nice amp for under $1000.

    My only requirements are that it sounds great and will be a nice “all-around” gigging amp…if I am ever so lucky to get a gig 🙂

    All the best to you,
    Christine~

    #77979

    I just went to Guitar Center and was told by two employees that it would be foolish to purchase a guitar amp for a harp. They both suggested that I need an amp made for pianos/drums. They didn’t have a Crate limo or a Crate Taxi or any Fishman Amps on display.
    Everyone has suggested I go to a guitar store and try their amps but 3 stores later, I am out of options and have yet to see a Crate or Fishman in person. But they do have a lot of Peaveys!
    Any thoughts on this?
    Christine, who is more confused after leaving Guitar Center!

    #77980
    kay-lister
    Member

    Christine,

    I have a Laney acoustic guitar amp that I am VERY pleased with. My Thormahlan Swan lever harp has an amp jac built right in that I plug into. Also, I use it for my pedal harp if I do an outside wedding and I am in a spot where the wind might carry the sound away from where I want it to go. I place a mic in the sound box with a wind cover on it so it won’t pick up bumps or sounds other than the harp.

    I am VERY pleased with this amp. I got it from Musicians Friend and when I talked with them about it, the guy was EXTREMELY helpful and suggested this amp for my harps.

    It just sounds like an amplified harp – period and nothing else. I had tried others before, and was not happy with them. Laney is a British made amp. and there are several kinds. If you are really interested, let me know and I will get the serial # for you.

    You can make lots of adjustments with this amp as well as far as bass, treble, sustain, etc. I think I paid somewhere around $300.00 for it + or -. As I said before, let me know if you are interested in more info., and I will find my paperwork on it and fill you in.

    Kay

    #77981
    Sylvia
    Participant

    So you use it without a pickup on your pedal harp?

    I wonder about inside the box because of pedal changes….don’t they sound?
    I always put the mic to the side of the harp on the ground (padded), but newer amps just won’t pick up the sound…then they plug a guitar into it, and blam, you can hear the guitar a block away.

    I don’t recall seeing a Laney when I was searching the guitar stores.

    #77982

    Hi Christine,

    I think it’s important to bear in mind that you’re gonna amplify a pedal harp and not a lever harp; a pedal harp is of course bigger and has more (low) strings, which means it has a wider frequency range. So Kay’s info can be useful, but is more or less narrowed down to lever harp amplification, considering the sound shape of those harps and the characteristics of the amp mentioned. Especially for the low frequencies of a pedal harp that means you would require a bigger amp of some sort and not an average guitar amp as it just doesn’t reproduce all the frequencies of a pedal harp well enough.

    So I would say that the employees of Guitar Center have a point there somehow.The only thing I don’t really understand is the part about the drum amp, because those are not meant for amplifying harp and I think they don’t really offer the EQ possibilities you would want for the frequency characteristics of a pedal harp.
    Regarding the suggestion of a piano amp: that could be an option, because a piano is also a string instrument, although electric pianos are technically not really string instruments but an electronically sampled version of it. But if the amp is not too small, you can check one of those out and see how it sounds.

    But since a pedal harp has such a wide frequency range and it is after all a string instrument, especially the low strings will sound more or less like a bass guitar when amplified, so a bass guitar amp is in my opinion be the best option for a pedal harp (I guess somebody mentioned that already in your other thread about the pickup). Also the high frequencies will be amplified very well (any maybe even too well) as bass amps usually incorporate EQ settings up to 3 Khz: high enough to reproduce the high frequencies of a pedal harp, I can assure you.
    I have experience with a Peavey Mark IV bass amp top with a 2 x 15 inch speaker cabinet which sounds great, also on a lever harp. But this is quite a heavy set altogether and I guess you wouldn’t wanna carry one of those down the stairs for a gig every week. Considering this, it’s better to go for a brand like Mark Bass; they make great quality bass amps which are relatively small and light weight but they sound really well. Since you’re going to amplify a pedal harp, my advice would be not to take the smallest model (they make em quite small actually), because a small amp doesn’t really fill the room when you play larger venues, and especially the bass notes would not be audible in the back.

    Well …I guess you just have to bring your pedal harp to a music store, with pickup installed of course 🙂 , have a go on some bass amps by Mark Bass and also try a few other brands to see how they sound, or you might wanna try a piano amp. But once again: I would suggest you go for an amp with a decent amount of volume, let’s say at least a 12 or 15 inch speaker with a horn tweeter, if your budget allows you to. Anyway, just try to get a good deal somewhere….best of luck Christine!

    #77983
    Jerusha Amado
    Participant

    Kay,

    How many watts does it have and how much does it weigh? If you do find the serial number, I’d love to have it!

    #77984
    kay-lister
    Member

    OK, here’s the scoop on the Laney amp. I got it from Muscians Friend and it’s description reads (from my invoice) Acoustic Range LA30C 30W 1X8 Acoustic Guitar Combo Amp. Price was $249.00 – this was in May of 2009. The item # at that time, was 481318000008000.

    The front panel includes: mic input, tape/cd input, gain, guitar inputs, volume, chorus, bass, paramid-frequency, paramid-level, treble, reverb, insert, line out, power switch, power fuse. The power connection port is in the back. It’s not too heavy, but I don’t know the actual weight, and it’s about 14 X 17 X 8. I was reaching over stuff in my music closet to measure so it might not be spot on, but REAL close.

    As far as putting the mic IN the soundbox of the pedal harp, I have a small tripod/mic holder and I just set it directly behind the harp (in front of me) and when I pull the harp back, the mic is lined up to go in the hole. I have a wind cover over the mic and I have had no problems with the sounds of changing pedals coming through.

    For my lever harp, I have a built in jack and I just plug in and there we go.

    I have used the amp a lot, and also I have placed it pretty far away from me (I have LOTS of line) in outside situations so the sound will cover a large area. I even had the Pastor of a wedding, plug his mic into my amp to do the ceremony.

    Hope this helps.

    Kay

    #77985
    Sylvia
    Participant

    So the mic actually goes into the hole, but it is not in contact with the wood?

    #77986
    kay-lister
    Member

    Yes Sylvia, that’s correct. If it is an outdoor event and I am on the ground, I just shove the tripod legs in the ground a bit. If I’m on a solid surface . . . well, that’s why God made Duct tape :-).

    Kay

    #77987
    Jerusha Amado
    Participant

    Thanks, Kay, for all of your help!

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