Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

Okay, NOW the G3 set is nearly done

I’ve been working intermittently on a patch set for the Zoom G3, and it’s nearly done–just a round or two of setting relative patch levels and completing documentation to go.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Hunter's Music, Recommended Artists & Recordings, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

“Keepers of the Streak” Is Totally Cool, Whether or Not You’re All About Football

As readers of my blog know, just before the end of 2014, I did a couple of recording sessions for an ESPN documentary called “Keepers of the Streak.” To my surprise, the show, which I watched last night from start to finish, turned out to be a very cool piece about four very accomplished photographers who’ve collectively photographed every Superbowl from the start. The music included a lot of nice stuff that I didn’t know about when I recorded my own parts, and most of my favorite harmonica cues from the sessions ended up in the final cut, with the harp positioned nicely up front in the mix. I enjoyed every minute of it, which is saying a lot, because I’m not really a bigtime football fan. (Beyonce won the SuperBowl last year, right? I wish I’d seen that…)
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

Pumping Up the Organ Tones with the iStomp

Digitech RPs have a very nice single-line pitch shifter, and a very nice rotary speaker effect too. If you could use them both at once, which you can’t do on a single RP, you’d get some decent simple organ tones. (You can actually get decent organ tones with a rotary speaker alone, but a pitch shifter helps a lot.) But if you really want to emulate the sound of a Hammond organ, you need multi-timbral pitch shifting–the kind you get with an ElectroHarmonix POG or HOG, where you have multiple independent pitch-shifted lines running in parallel. Unfortunately, a HOG or POG costs $300 and up, and it takes up a pretty big chunk of space at your feet, too.

I decided last week to check out a promising alternative: the Digitech iStomp, an interesting device that’s essentially a reconfigurable stompbox. I bought my iStomp from guitarcenter.com used for about $60 shipped, a savings of close to 50% compared to buying new.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

Keepers of the Streak Part 2

I reported on this blog not long ago about a session I did for an ESPN movie called “Keepers of the Streak.” I spent Christmas in Idaho, and not long after I arrived there I got a call for a second session for this movie. The composer, Brian Keane, specifically asked if I could do acoustic tracks, and mentioned that he wanted something along the line of Toots Thielemans, meaning of course some cool-toned chromatic harp.

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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

RP355 or RP360XP?

With the new possibility that Digitech will retire the RP355, it’s important to ask again whether it’s better to get an RP355 or an RP360XP. Here’s my current thinking on the topic.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

Is Digitech Phasing Out the RP355?

I noticed something interesting in the last few days. First, the price of new Digitech RP255s has dropped to about $100. That’s a pretty good deal on a pretty capable device. Second, RP355s are listed as discontinued at Sweetwater, Musicians Friend, etc. etc. Put it together, and you’ve got to ask: is Digitech quietly phasing out the RP355?
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More RP355 Loop Jams–This Time, Rock

Here are a couple of new cuts from the same sessions that produced “On the Road Again” and the funky loop jam. “Dawn Like Thunder” is a slow, peaceful piece with some beautiful counterpoint. The patch I use to play it has an LFO modulating pitch–basically, flipping back and forth rapidly between a note and the octave below–with the level of the LFO, i.e. the volume of the effect, under expression pedal control. “Heavy Rock LFO” starts with a very hard-edged line played with the same patch as “Dawn Like Thunder,” and it’s soon joined by even hard-edged stuff.

Enjoy.

Dawn Like Thunder composed and performed by Richard Hunter. Copyright 2014 Richard Hunter. all rights reserved

Heavy Rock LFO composed and performed by Richard Hunter. Copyright 2014 Richard Hunter. all rights reserved

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

“On The Road Again” with the RP355

The piece attached to this post is a segment from a performance I put together using the Digitech RP355 loaded with my patch set for Digitech RP, plus the RP355’s builtin looper. The sounds include beatboxed percussion (run through a patch with heavy vibrato and delay), a double octave down patch with a wah wah set to low-pass the frequencies, a tenor sax octave-down patch, and a kind of psycho organ patch with heavy vibrato (the same one I beatboxed through, if I recall). All the sounds were created by me, and in most cases are versions of the patches in my patch set for Digitech RP that I customized for a particular song.

The Canned Heat version of “On the Road Again” that features Al Wilson on harmonica is a great classic from every point of view. I think it’s pointless to recreate it, but this arrangement borrows the spare, sombre tone of the original. The harmonica is a Big River harp tuned to a Dorian Minor scale (3 and 7 draw reeds lowered 1/2 step) in second position (G minor, in this case; the original key of the harp is C). Wilson used a harp with the draw 7 reed lowered 1/2 step, and I think it was a great choice, which I why I use it too. (Note: since this piece was published, I’ve been advised that Wilson tuned the draw 6 reed up half a step, as opposed to lowering the draw 7 reed 1/2 step. Either approach yields the desired effect to a point. Tuning the draw 6 reed up offers less in terms of harmonization opportunities than tuning the draw 7 reed down.)

In performance, I build these lines from the bottom up: beatbox, bass, tenor. It’s a big sound. Like I said in my previous post about jamming some funk on the RP355, I intend to do more of this.

You can hear a dog howling along with the music near the end. Dogs seem to find harmonica very howl-worthy. I don’t know if they’re enjoying it or not. I’m enjoying it, and that’s sufficient justification. The dog can always leave the room if she likes.

On the Road Again Richard Hunter, harmonicas and vocals

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