This performance of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” was recorded live at Alpine Wines, Driggs, ID on the night of 31 August, 2013. The vocalist is Sue Berkenfield, with piano and harmonica by me (Richard Hunter, in case you’re confused about whose blog this is).

Sue Berkenfield at Alpine Wines 31 August 2013
Sue Berkenfield at Alpine Wines 31 August 2013

I play the chord structure once on (synthesized) piano, looping as I go; then I do a chorus with (live) piano over (looped) piano, then switch to harmonica, first for an “acoustic” solo through my vocal mic (which is running through the Zoom G3, with a patch designed for vocals with a slight amped edge), then for fills and a solo using a Digitech RP355 patch that includes a Matchless amp model coupled with a pitch shift of a perfect 5th up, and a delay line to add some mystery to the tone. (This patch is not included in the Huntersounds v16 RP355 patch set, but is included in the v16 RP500 set under the name MAPST5.) The harmonica is a Seydel Session Steel in C, played in second position (key of G).

Little Wing performed by Richard Hunter and Sue Berkenfield, 31 August 2013

The piano sound is created by a Roland JV1010 synth module, an aged but still effective device that includes a number of cool pianos. The harmonica mic for the RP setup is an Audix Fireball with V element. Everything, including instruments and vocals, is running through a Peavey KB2 keyboard amp, and is recorded by a Zoom H4 sitting a few inches in front of the amp grill. That’s about it for the gear.

A few notes on the harmonica blocked on the second solo; somehow I got them unblocked again. I think the sound and conception are cool enough to carry it through stuff like that, but there you go. We’re still living in a material world…

This is obviously a very cool song, and I love that it works so well with such sparse instrumentation, including an acoustic harmonica sound. Placed side by side with the heavily effected harp, the acoustic harp sounds every bit as otherwordly. The ending is a little abrupt, but up till then it’s very effective.