Hunter's Effects, Reviews, Interviews, Testimonials

A few user testimonials for our patch sets

The testimonials on this page are all unsolicited, unedited, and published with the permission of the people involved, all of whom are patch set licensees. Where available, we’ve included a URL for the bands these musicians play in so you can hear what they sound like. We’re proud to say that our patch sets are inspiring musicians playing blues, rock, jazz, Celtic, and even heavy metal!

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Ryan Bannister, (USA)

“I am nearing 2 months now since my conversion from Fender Bassman to RP350. I am still loving the transition and have no regrets. The only issue I have (as I stated to you before) is the varying output volumes on different patches. Other than that I am enjoying the INSANE variety of sound. I eagerly await any new patches you create. Especially the DIRTY, HONKING gritty blues sounds….but I use everything. I play with such a variety of bands that I am making full use of the RP350. So, that is all. Just wanted to tell you I am nearly 2 months in my conversion, and no regrets. Thank you for all you do!”

Doug Cole, (USA)

“Purchased your patch set a few months ago and am really digging it. I play through a very clean Roland keyboard amp and a Shure 58, and it sounds great. It’s so much fun to go through all the patches and experiment with different sounds. It has definitely reinvigorated my harp playing and added a new dimension of creativity and versatility to my musical life! I play a lot of local jam sessions and folks really like the sounds I’m getting!”

Nigel Evans, (UK)

“I have to say how absolutely delighted I am with the whole RP/Huntersound patch setup. I’m a dilettante harp player who has spent the last 25 years or so occasionally jamming acoustically with some of my favourite musicians via my CD/MP3 collection and I’ve never amped beyond a Bottle ‘O Blues mic and a Smokey practice amp.
However, earlier this year a bunch of old school friends decided to “put the band back together” and I was invited to contribute some harp. We all have impending 50th birthdays and thought it would be fun to play at our respective celebrations. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t justify the expense of a nice valved rig but after a little research I came across your site, listened to some samples and read some of the testimonials. It seemed to be the perfect solution so I decided to take the plunge. After a little hunting around I managed to persuade someone to part with a brand new (still sealed in the box) RP355 for £80 and I picked up a Marshall 8015 150W keyboard amp for £40 on eBay. Total price £120 (that’s about $192 in US funny money). The first time I played through it I managed a few bars before I had to stop because I couldn’t stop giggling to myself. The sound was so good, man it REALLY honks! Thanks for providing such a great, economical and versatile product for getting great sounding harmonica.”

Neil Warren, 2011 National Harmonica League (UK) Rock and Blues winner

“Well, I just bought the DigiTech RP355 plus the patches from Richard Hunter, and I got to say I’m impressed. Some great blues tones from the amp models, plus some very nice reverb and delay effects for chromatic.
I actually bought the pedal for the express purpose of improving the tone of the chromatic, which it does quite nicely, but it’s the diatonic blues that is really served well by the pedal.
Only a few months back I invested quite a lot in a not inexpensive small tube amp. Now I’m thinking the pedal sounds better! (going through my clean Roland AC60).
The real advantage of the pedal is the versatility it offers. At the press of a button you can get a new sound. With a tube amp you pretty much get the same sound (all the time).”

Jon Eriksen, Soul Sauce, (USA, jazz)
“I tried (hrs & hrs) to program a model of a bassman to get that Little Walter etc sound and never got it. YOU GOT IT! like I said before, many thanks. I knew it was in there and with your patches I now have it… the keyboard player I work with loved them. Sounded like the real deal bassman/Chicago blues harp to him.”

Ross Macdonald, Sassparilla (USA, Americana)
“Richard Hunter’s RP patch set is one of the great bargains in harmonica electronics today, and he is awesome at answering questions about the set up and use of the RP units.”

Gary Mulholland, The Watchsnatchers (UK, Irish music)
“Well I’ve loaded the patches and played with them through a clean amp with my Fireball V and couldn’t be more delighted!! Your hall patch is perfect for me, all I did was take a little bit of treble off at the amp and wow!! I’ve finally got the sound I’ve spent 10 years looking for. I actually swapped a Peavey Delta Blues tube amp set up for harmonica for the clean amp, so I gave away a lot, but boy was it worth it.”

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Alistair Russell, Swamp Donkey (Australia, Hard Rock/Metal)
“Alistair here down under. Just wanted to wish you a happy new year, and also let you know that I am really enjoying the RP. It has been a wow factor to a number of audiences, and players who have asked what ‘rig’ I am using. Always tell them about R.H. and to Google Youtube to see for themselves. Thanks again for teaching an old dog some new tricks and licks.”

Marcos Coll
“Hi Richard!!! How you doin! I’m cool, still with my RP200 and happier than ever ha ha ha…now I don’t care about takin’ an amp for touring, this is totally cool for me, I got different blues sounds, plus the freaky ones…i love it!!!”

Glenn Woodhouse, ColdRail Blues Band (USA, Blues, Rock)
“I am set up with the RP350 and Richard’s patches. I play mostly diatonics into a black label CR, through a Lone Wolf delay pedal, and into a SJ Cruncher for most of our blues tunes but I am adding more and more organ backing on some of our songs using a Fireball V, through the RP350, and into the PA. We also do a couple of Zydeco tunes and I use a chorus/rotary effect on diatonic with the RP350 to emulate accordian and it works great.

“We are adding William Clarke’s “Greasy Gravy” to our catalog and I am using two RP350 effects with chromatic for the song. For the melody I use a Fender Champ with Reverb effect and for backing the guitar solo I just hit the “up button” to go to the above mentioned organ patch and then “button down” to come back in with the melody. Basically these are the only two patches I am using so I have located them next to each other on the pedal so I can alternate back and forth quickly and easily.

“We are also adding Booker T’s “Time Is Tight” that I am playing on chromatic with the RP350 chorus/rotary effect. Playing chords on chromatic (versus the split octaves I typically play) with this patch is incredible, if not “organasmic”!

“I have reached a level of comfort and appreciation with the RP350 that I will consider using only it into our PA for smaller venues. It will save my back and some time not having to lug and setup my amp. I still love the Cruncher though………”

Reviews, Interviews, Testimonials

How to get the most from a jam session

Originally published in GuitarSam eZine Vol. 23

Finding Jam Sessions

Most local papers now list jams and open mics by style (folk, blues, rock, jazz, etc.). Signup times are usually pretty early, like 7:30-8:00 PM. Some places provide a backup band; usually you find out by calling ahead (which you should do anyway to verify the protocol for signup, how many tunes you’ll be allowed to play, etc.).

When I travel, I usually check the Internet for a website related to the local scene. The Association of Alternative Newspapers (AAN) lists websites for members at http://aan.org/smartconf/members_websites.phtml. I check that site every time I travel for the local alternative press weekly in the city I’m visiting.

Also regarding the Internet, I recommend joining a mailing list for musicians; there are lists for harp players (Harp-L; see the links at my website), bassists, guitarists, folkies, etc. You can then query other members on the list. I found a bluegrass jam in Salisbury, MD on my latest trip there by posting a question to the Harp-L list; it was a lot of fun, too.

Making the most of the jam

The most important objectives in most jam situations are:

1) to meet other musicians
2) to establish oneself as someone that the other musicians will be glad to see again.

Both objectives are accomplished by making the whole band (as opposed to oneself) sound really, really good. Usually that means not playing anything that really sucks, as opposed to playing something really great. (Sometimes it means not playing anything at all, if you can’t think of anything that will improve what’s already going on.) Ultimately, it means listening very carefully, and playing whatever makes everyone ELSE sound really good. If you make everyone else sound great, they will think you are really, really great, and you will be invited to play in lots of different situations.

Common Mistakes Made in Jam Sessions by Novices Include:

1) Playing in the wrong key.

Make SURE you know what key the band is playing in. When asked for the key of the song by a harp player, lots of guitarist will try to show off in a subtle way by telling the harp player what the key of the HARP is (in cross harp position), NOT the key of the song. Ask the guitarist what key he or she is playing in; let them know (gently, of course, and only if necessary) that you’ll figure out which harp to use.

2) Playing too loud or too much.

Harp players usually have to fight to be heard, so playing too loud isn’t usually an issue; but playing too much is a real danger. Listen carefully for the holes left by other players, and fill those, instead of filling up everything in sight. As an alternative, focus on one of the other instruments–guitar, bass, drums, keys, sax, etc.–and play something that reinforces that player’s parts.

3) Playing the same thing on every song.

If you only know two licks, play the first one on the first song, and the second one on the second song; then sit down and listen for a while, so you’ve got a chance to learn some new licks.

4) Playing a style that doesn’t fit with the style of the other players.

It may be exciting to some people to play their heavy blues licks over everything from bluegrass to modern jazz, but it basically stamps those people as hopeless amateurs to the people who came to play at a non-blues jam. Every style has boundaries, and when you play that style, you should respect those boundaires. (That doesn’t mean you have to stay within the boundaries all the time, but you should know what they are, and you should make it a point to step over the boundaries only when you really mean it.)

All that said, remember that this stuff is supposed to be fun. You’ll have maximum fun when the whole band sounds great, so spend at least as much time listening to the band as you spend playing. It’s amazing, by the way, how much respect you get from other players when they notice that you’re listening. I make a point of listening through the first 12 bars or so of every piece, every time I sit in, and the other musicians never fail to notice.

Finally, when you’re done for the night, don’t forget to get names and addresses for the musicians whose playing you really liked, and don’t forget to give them yours.

Reviews, Interviews, Testimonials

Performance Review: Hunter at the Buttonwood Tree, March 1997

By Pete Brunelli
Reprinted unedited from the Harp-L Archives by permission of the author

After a near miss last year, I finally saw Richard Hunter, live and in person, at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, CT. The Buttonwood is a reading room/performance/exhibit space and as was immediately apparent, has one of the most “live” rooms around. Stone floor, Big windows, hard walls, and high ceilings all contributed to an excellent room sound. I don’t know if I would want a rock band in there, but the natural reverb was just about right.

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Reviews, Interviews, Testimonials

Here's what the critics have to say about Richard Hunter's music:

“Hunter seems to have an uncanny instinct for judging just when to stop or start a harmony, when to bring out an inner voice, when to drop it, and when to change texture completely. . . One cannot have this kind of control without technique, and Hunter has it with gallons to spare . . . the effect is electrifying.”
Peter Muir, The Free-Reed Journal (a publication of the Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments, the Graduate Center, City University of New York)

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Reviews, Interviews, Testimonials

Hunter at SPAH 1997

Photo Courtesy: Michael Will

The SPAH (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica) Convention is an annual gathering of hundreds of harmonica players; it typically includes more than a few of the greatest harmonica players in the world. This year’s convention, held in Detroit, Michigan, USA from August 19-24, featured a seminar and performance by Richard Hunter, plus seminars and performances by jazz greats Pete Pedersen and Mauricio Einhorn, classical virtuosos Alan “Blackie” Shackner and Douglas Tate, blues great Jerry Portnoy (who has worked as a sideman to both Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton), West Coast blues star Mark Hummel, ex-Brubeck sideman Peter Ruth, session pros Rob Papparozzi (Cyndi Lauper, Bernard Purdie) and Kirk “Jellyroll” Johnson (the Judds), and many others.

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Reviews, Interviews, Testimonials

An Interview with Richard Hunter, May 1997

This interview was conducted by Pete Brunelli, and was published in the American Harmonica Newsletter in August 1997. The interview is presented here in its entirety without editing by permission of the author.

Over the past few years I have learned many things, and relearned even more. One big relearning event happened this winter. I can tell you straight, I know where I was when I heard Charles Mingus for the first time; when I heard Jaco Pastorius for the first time; when I heard Eddie Van Halen for the first time. They were all eye openers. I never knew music, or the bass guitar, or the electric guitar could sound like that. And the music was just pure. In January of 1997 I had the chance to see a local Harmonicist, Richard Hunter. I had not heard a note of his music. I saw his gig on Danny Wilson’s list and talked my wife into going with me. All I knew was a note from a Harp-L friend “He’s great, see him if you can”. I know where I was when I heard Richard Hunter for the first time. It was a little performance space called The Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, Connecticut. On a cold New England night in January I found out what the little 10 holer I had come to love could do. The room at the Buttonwood is an acoustic miracle. About 30’x30′ with a stone floor, hard walls, a 20 foot wide wall of windows and an 18 foot celilng. My wife and I sat in the reading room waiting for a sign of the impending show. The sign came in the form of a wail from a chromatic. I have to say that this only confirmed my preconception that I would be seeing a chromatic player in the “Toots” mold. Nothing prepared me for it. No amps, no tux, no chromatic, no intro….. no kidding. About 8 bars into “Peppermint Life” my brain slapped me like a baby’s bottom. Wake up! Stand Back! Take Notes! The next hours were like a trip to MOMA. Just when I thought that I had heard his “bag”, up popped another view. Swinging blues, tone poems, two part baroque soul, and so it went. All coming from a little Lee Oskar harp. And for the kicker, he’s a really nice guy. So open to the audience, in fact, that he appeased the few harp freaks in attendance with the key and tuning for his harps before each number of the second set! That show led to a short review that I posted to Harp-L. I tried in vain to relate what I heard to my Email compatriots. A month later at a performance/clinic conducted by Richard, he mentioned the review. I must have been in some kind of fugue, because I blurted out “Maybe we should do an interview….” I should have known the answer would be “yes”. I met Richard at his home and we ended up with a rambling conversation about life, music, art, and the harmonica.

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