Blog, Digitech RP Tricks and Tips, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear, Zoom G3 Tips and Tricks

Amp Modelers Really Do Sound Better Through Keyboard Amps

I jammed this weekend with my old friend guitarist Tom Gage. I brought about half of my rig: a Digitech RP500, iStomp running Swing Shift, and JamMan Stereo looper. I didn’t bring my Peavey KB2 keyboard amp because Tom had a Fender Deluxe Reverb available for my use, and I wanted to hear my rig coming through that amp. I’m glad I did, not because it sounded great, but because I know now that it doesn’t.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

Power Surges and Amp Modelers Don’t Mix Well

I own two Digitech RP500s, and it’s a good thing, because one of them might be about to die. The cause of death–if indeed it’s inmminent–is a power surge.
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Audio/Video, Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Artists & Recordings, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

Looping Setups Old and New and a Couple of New Loop Jams

I decided in the last couple of days to buy some new gear for looping. The main idea with this gear is to sync everything to everything: loopers to each other, loopers to drum machines, drum machines to sequencers–you name it, I want it synced up.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

Hot Jams at Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues

I was in London Sunday through Tuesday at Gartner’s Project Portfolio Management and IT Governance Conference, and as usual I made a point to get to either the Sunday or Monday jam session at Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues. The Monday night jam in particular, which is run by blues master guitarist Davide Mazzantini, attracts a lot of great players. I had something to do on Sunday, so I went to the Monday jam. It turned out to be a good bet.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

Playing the Regionals for the Inc. Magazine Battle of the Corporate Bands

I was contacted earlier this year by Mike Corso, who like me works at Gartner, Inc. to ask me if I’d like to play with a (mostly) Gartner employee band in the Inc. Magazine Battle of the Corporate Bands. Mike, who is a frontman in the mold of Peter Wolf–I actually like his voice better than Wolf’s–also recruited Ira Langstein to play guitar, Steve Danyko for drums, and fellow Gartnerite Bill Burkhardt for bass. We played the regional semifinal competition in Washington DC today (May 30, 2015), and we’re one of two bands from this regional competition (the other is Detached Retina) going through to the finals on September 12 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

So I’m going to play the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cool.
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Blog, Recommended Artists & Recordings

So many records, so little time

In the last couple of months, I have been privileged to acquire a huge stack of harmonica records from some of the best players in the world. Mike Stevens, the mind-boggling Canadian virtuoso, dropped a stack of 5 CDs on me that include styles ranging from bluegrass to rock to African. (Yes, I know there’s more than one style of African music, but I’m not knowledgeable enough about all those styles to name them accurately.) Peter Ruth sent me a couple of CDs; Scott Albert Johnson sent me his latest, which is truly a new, compelling take on rock harmonica. And acoustic harp monster Grant Dermody is about to drop his latest on me. Sheesh. Too many great records, not enough time to review them all at once.

So stay tuned for a batch of reviews coming soon to this site, starting with Scott Albert Johnson’s. By the way, if you like rock music and harmonica, just go out and buy Scott’s record right now. I’ve listened to it about 4 or 5 times straight through, and it’s one of the most original takes on rock harmonica that I’ve heard in years. My formal review will be more detailed than that, but that’s the advice.

Audio/Video, Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Artists & Recordings, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

Big Shimmering Textures: Comin’ Home Baby Looped Live

I recorded this performance of “Comin’ Home Baby” live, using Lee Oskar natural minor harps in G and F, an Audix Fireball mic, a Digitech RP500 running my patch set, a Digitech JamMan Stereo looper, a Peavey KB2 keyboard amp, and a Zoom H4 to capture the sounds on the night of March 7 2015.

I obviously like this tune a lot–I think this is the third time I’ve posted a live version of it to my site, and I recorded it live in the studio for my first CD, “The Act of Being Free in One Act.” I’m posting another version because I really think the sounds on this one are new and different, and very beautiful. The piece is a good example of how a multiFX device and a looper can produce some striking layers of sound. I wouldn’t mind if I’d played it a little tighter on the groove, but the feeling is strong. The harp sounds include a double octave down, a chorused sound with prominent delay, and a tenor sax sound that’s remarkably accurate in the lower register of the harp.

One technique is worth calling out. On the first 12 bars, I alternate between a bass note and chords. I use two natural minor harps, in G and F, to give me the right bass notes and chords (nice fat minor 7th and 9th voicings). I have the Digitech RP500 set up to shift the pitch between two octaves down and an octave down, and I rock the pedal from toe down to toe up to shift from one to the other, playing the bass notes two octaves down and the chords one octave down. That’s an example of how you can use the RP’s expression pedal to change the sound dramatically. (The RP500 offers lots of ways to change the sound instantly and dramatically. I’ve started programming all the FX for all my patches because I can turn them off and on so easily.) Of course, I could do the same thing by setting up an octave down patch and a double octave down patch side by side on the RP500, and in fact I’ve used that approach on occasion–it’s how I configured the bass layers for my performance of “Early to Bed.” But I think the sound of the pitch sliding by is pretty cool for this song.

It’s fun to compare this version of the piece with the duet I recorded live with Wim Dijkgraaf in a performance in Sao Paolo, Brazil in October 2014. The duet is more about lines, and the looped version is more about textures. Both versions make their respective emotional points.

Enjoy.

“Comin’ Home baby” recorded live by Richard Hunter 7 March 2015

Blog, Recommended Gear

The Seydel 1847 is getting to be my favorite harp

I recently blew out the draw 4 reed on my Seydel Session Steel A harp. When I ordered a set of replacement reed plates, I was shipped a set of Seydel 1847 plates by accident. I decided to re-order the Session Steel plates, and also to order all the rest of the parts I needed to assemble an 1847 A harp. All the stuff arrived today, and I now have a Session Steel with new reed plates and a 1847 with new reed plates, both in A.
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