The Bottle o’ Blues (also known as BoB) mic has a very distinctive sonic character–in particular, lots of low frequency response, with a reduced high end. The mic’s element breaks…

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The Bottle o’ Blues (also known as BoB) mic has a very distinctive sonic character–in particular, lots of low frequency response, with a reduced high end. The mic’s element breaks up strongly when the built in volume control is maxed out, which makes it a very bluesy mic, less suitable for smoother material where a clearer tone is desired.

Bottle o' Blues mic The mic also has a unique look, mainly because the body is made from a plastic spice jar. This unique approach gives it great ergonomics, meaning that it’s light weight and easily held. Build quality is solid; the mic can easily survive being dropped, though it’s unlikely to survive being squashed.

It occurred to me recently that I had never tried the BoB through my Digitech RP355, so I decided to record a piece or two for this review. The mic and RP turned out to be a very good match. No mic sounds great with every amp, and an amp modeler lets you easily try a mic with a dozen (modeled) amps or so to see which ones work best. It turned out that the BoB sounded very good with several Fender-based amp models and a wide range of sounds and FX, from clean to amped blues and even metal. It lacks the glowing richness that you can get with a Fireball V, which sells for more than twice as much (though not expensive as mics go at about $125), as well as the Fireball’s high output level, but it’s a sound with satisfying depth, and you can always turn up the amp for more volume. It’s pretty feedback resistant too, at least with the RP.

I made a recording of this mic with an RP355 patch that uses a Blackface Deluxe amp model, and you can hear it here: Bottle o’ Blues mic with RP355 Blackface Deluxe. The BoB is running straight to the RP355, which in turn goes straight into a Peavey KB/A 100 keyboard amp with EQ set flat. I recorded into my Zoom H4’s builtin mics from a distance of about 3 feet. There is no other processing on the recording. (This RP355 patch also includes a slapback delay and reverb.) You can hear the mic breaking up in several places. It’s a very authentically bluesy sound.

The BoB is versatile enough for lots of styles and very strong for blues in particular. I don’t think this mic is the only one I’d want in my collection, but you could do a lot worse, and in the price range (about $50 new) I’m sure you can’t do better, especially for amped blues. If you’ve got a smoother mic already, like a Fireball V or a Shure 57, and want something that does dirty blues well, this might be it.

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  1. Great mic to start! Surely for the price, but I think you must change mic if you want a better tone because I think the bottle o blues doesn’t have exactly the Chicago bluesy tone which every harmonica player want to have.

  2. Well, every amped BLUES harp player wants that Chicago tone. I’d rather not sound like everyone else out there. I think the Bottle o’ Blues works great for an occasional touch of Chicago. I own an Astatic JT30 and a Calrad, too, but the Bo’B just seems to do the trick with less feedback than most.

  3. Sure! I own a BoB and a pignose hog 20 amp and I think it sounds great, surely it sounds better than a lot of new mics, I have also the new hohner blues blaster with the crap japanese element inside and it’s terrible comparing with the bottle o blues. So at the moment I’m satisfied to play with this mic but in the future I’d like to change equipment.

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