I was in San Diego last week, and on the recommendation of John Frazier, a harp player based in SD, I went to the blues jam hosted by Chet Cannon and the Committee at the Harp bar. I brought along 14 harps, half of them standard tuning and the other half various alternative tunings, a Fireball V mic, and my Digitech RP355.

Cannon agreed to let me set up the RP355, which I ran straight to an open channel on the PA, and it sounded great on all sorts of blues material. For those of you who use my patch sets, here are the patches I used most frequently, all from the version 14c MIXED set:

FBAROT: Bassman amp model with rotary speaker effect. This band had harp/vocals, guitar, bass, and drums–no keys–so an organ sound for harp fitted in perfectly. I also used this patch as a straight amped blues patch by putting the RP355 into Stompbox mode, and then turning off the rotating speaker effect. With the effect off, the patch makes a big, honking amped blues sound.

FBDW2D: Blackface Deluxe amp model with Whammy effect set to major second down. I used this patch as my basic amped blues patch for the night. It has plenty of guts and plenty of cut too, and it’s a great amped sound for lots of material. I left the pedal alone, essentially using the patch without the whammy. I also used a variation on this patch that has no whammy effect, and has a much different delay setting, with delay level under footpedal control.

FMA8DW: Matchless amp model with low octave, octave mix under footpedal control. I used this patch for the swing number in the set–it makes the harp sound like a horn section.

I also played one set through Chet’s bullet mic with a Fender Deluxe amp, and that was a great sound too. Finally, I played a few songs with the Fireball straight into the PA. It wasn’t really the best sound for amped blues, but it cut through well enough.

This gig was a long way from home, and I was traveling light, so I only brought one RP pedal. Whenever I can, I prefer to use 2 at least, with the RP355 input to an RP255, and if there’s time and space I like to use 3. But even one RP gives you a lot of options for great sounds.

The Harp bar is a fun place, with Guinness and a lot of other good brews on tap, decent food, and a mixed crowd. Chet sings great and plays solid blues harp, and the Committee does all the right things behind him. It’s a good bet for a Tuesday night in San Diego.