Friday, March 27, 2009

Lone Wolf Harp Attack In Action

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned Lone Wolf pedals that are designed with the needs of the harp player in mind at lwharpamps and I just mentioned Stephen Schneider in the previous post (and several times throughout the blog). Stephen has been putting Lone Wolf Randy's pedals through real world stage tests and they have all met with his stamp of approval. The Lone Wolf Harp Attack pedal is designed to be able to plug directly into the p.a. (similar to the Harp Commmander) and get a decent amped up sound going on. Those who have bought this pedal have been impressed with its capabilities. Here is a vid of Stephen in Harp Attack action playing with Bobby Mack at Antone's during the SXSW. There was very little set up time and the sound man hadn't EQ'd his input initially when they took flight, but with his confidence in the pedal (and his playing), he was able to travel light and plug in and go. Sounds as good as an amplifier to me up there.

Stephen turned me on to Bobby Mack recently and let me tell you something. The man can SING the blues as well as any white man that I've heard. Darned fine guitarist, too. Shame is, I can remember see Bobby Mack's name featured at various club gigs back in the day and never checked him out before and then he sort of retire for awhile, but is back gettin' it. I will have to catch up with what he's doing out there. Anyway--Check out them pedals.


Speedman said...

Hey Rick--it would be more accurate to say the soundman hadn't EQ'd my *input* initially, rather than "mic," since the Harp Attack is patched into a DI box right in front of me. May be confusing to some otherwise, make them think there is a miced amp somewhere outside the picture. For the record, the amp is the red box visible just to the right of my harp box.

I do have the first song with the PA probably flat at first and it doesn't sound bad, but I don't want potential buyers stumbling onto that one first, so I will probably wait some weeks to put it up. Courtney added bass and put the reverb on. At least some adjustments on Antone's PA have to be made at the side of the stage, so the sound person has to walk over from the listening station in the back of the room to make them and it takes at least a couple minutes. Pretty reasonable approach if I am throwing an entirely new device at him and my name is not James Cotton, ya know . . . but a tad frustrating when the best harp song is the first one.

Ricky Bush said...

Got the copy corrected--I think. I get what your getting at. Great pedal power going on there. Anyway-

Texharp said...

Well now I'm confused with the comment posted by Htown. Is the Lone Wolf pedal a pre amp? He said the amp is the red thing off the the right but also that he is also playing the pedal straight to the p.a through a DI. Stephen are you playing some songs like this one with just the Lone Wolf pedal through the direct box and the others through the amp or is the pedal going through the amp into the p.a. off a mic? I loved the tone in the video and would buy that pedal in a sec if that was the ticket, but just need more gear clarification I suppose.

Ricky Bush said...

Hey Blue--
Click on the lwharpamp link in the post or just go over to and you will see the pedals on the home page and the RED one in the middle is the Harp Attack and there's plenty of info explaining things better than I can. It is a pedal with tubes aboard--direct into the direct box then into the p.a. He's using no amp. Anyway--

Speedman said...

It's all the HA pedal/DI box/PA rig, Blue. I said *just* to the right of my harp box: i.e., directly in front of my foot at 0:10. That's how small the HA is. The thing *farther* to the right is a black monitor with a red light shining on it. Sorry about the camera resolution. The DI box is actually behind my harp box from this angle.

As I understand it, the Harp Attack is technically a tube preamp but uses more of an output stage circuit, rather than an input stage one like we would expect. Apparently what we most want to hear for harp is the sound of an output stage overdriving, so Randy moved that to the input position in the chain if that makes sense.

That and Randy's choice of the subminiature pentode tube instead of the usual 12AX7 or whatever probably have a lot to do with why the pedal works well. He is not afraid to try a different approach and has a great ear for judging the result.

I already have developed a bad habit of waving the pedal at blues guitar players and saying, "Here's the harp amp" and watching them turn green with envy. But you're right, it's a preamp in this chain.

Texharp said...

Thanks so much for clearing things up. I also looked it up at their site which I should have done to begin with. I like the idea of it and just may jump on one in my next money surplus. I have a feeling it will solve some problems I have been having with a 30 watt amp that just can't seem to scuff its sound up enough for some songs.

Anonymous said...

I too purchased a "harp attack" pedal. (Rick has a profound influence on what I do with my disposable income). I've used it through my own PA and feel it runs circles around the other harp pre- amps I've used. The real test will be when I bring it to a jam, and sit in the audience, while others play through it.
One other thing of note. I usually play through a "Mini-Meat", and have been interested in Scotts trials using a 15" speaker, for more bottom end. It may be a bit premature, but I think this pedal will solve that concern. I don't dial in much drive (8:00), but have tone and volume at about 11:00-12:00. So far I really really like this addition.

Ricky Bush said...

Hey Scott--
Congratulations on adding a fine addition to your arsenal. You're right a good test will be listening from the audience--especially if you're familiar with the harp player's tone and playing that is working the HA. I have heard great things regarding the Meteor Mini-Meat. Matter of fact, Stephen S speaks mighty highly of them after blowing through one recently at a jam. Anyway--

Sian Reynolds said...

I'm less of fan of Bobby Mack than you, I guess. Based on this video, it seems like HE'S his biggest fan. Jesus, talk about filling every freakin' gap with notes. If he was a harp player, they'd hang him. Why do guitar slingers get away with that stuff?

Ricky Bush said...

Hey Sian--

Yeah, I like Bobby. I'm not a big fan of blues rock and Bobby leans that direction, but he came of age during SRV's era. Meaning--that he was developing his chops parallel with the Vaughan dude. I have some of Bobby's live stuff and his playing is pretty tasty, but what floored me on that set of recordings is his vocals. He can go from Magic Sam to Otis Rush to Bobby Bland and back again. Anyway--

Speedman said...

Afraid you missed a lot, Sian: the harp gets *all* the fills/responses on the slow sections, then guitar gets them on the fast parts--and the tune's got an actual guitar melody line that needs to be happening much of the time. I'm just not playing loud or complex stuff on my turns. Opinions no doubt vary, but some might call that good taste.

If you were really concerned about balance, you'd have remarked the fact that Bobby doesn't give the keyboards a solo. Reason Bobby did that is because I was only playing three songs with him so he gave me more solo space here: if anything, Bobby's generous to a fault. A three-chorus solo at a slow tempo is plenty of space, & you can see Bobby tell me to keep going.

Made me dig out a live Ford brothers version of the tune. All Mark Ford does is double part of the guitar line, response-style, doesn't play fills--I'm playing more here than Ford did, which surprises me.

This video was just me taking advantage of a sit-in opportunity at a renowned venue with a real soundman and a topflight (pickup) band; it wasn't planned to showcase harmonica or the pedal through the song selection. It's a guitar tune. Otis Rush wrote it, not Little Walter. If Bobby's name is on the marquee, it's fine if he steps up and takes over the last couple minutes of this song. But he leaves plenty of room for harp in the slow sections: watch 1:00-2:00, for example. That is *not* "filling every freakin' gap with [guitar] notes". It just isn't.

Zack said...

Hey, this distortion pedal, do you think it'll make me not want to use your HG50?