Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Harp Train 10 Update

Thought that while my blog seems to have straightened it's wonky posting problems I'd update my Lone Wolf Harp Train 10 amplifier experiences since a reader or two posted comments on the original post (search for Harp Train 10 for that one).

Last time out, I mentioned that I substituted the 12ax7 preamp tube for a 12ay7 to lower the gain just a bit and give the amp more headroom and be able to crank it a bit more. A blog reader asked about that swap and I'm repeating some of my answer. It came in especially useful at a frequent outdoor jam I participated in and at which the stage volume began to rise considerably each time out. The 12ay7 changed the tone somewhat, but not in a bad way and the HT10 held it's own. Eventually, I chained my Kalamazoo 1 into the mix using the Lone Wolf Terminator pedal for extra punch. I ran my Lone Wolf Reverb through one amp and my Lone Wolf Delay through the other. Eventually, a dude with an overkill sound system began setting up and miking up all the participants. My instructions were to lower the volume on my rig, so I used just the HT10 with the Balls knob and Loudness knob both just a notch above 3. That is what this post is all about.

I found that if I turned the HT10 Balls knob and Loudness knob below 3, the fine tone of the amp dropped out to dull. Not really a problem until I brought the amp to my regular gig at a small venue. My bandmates insisted that I needed to turn down below 3 and the tone was just not cutting it. I did stick my Lone Wolf Harp Break in front of the amp and recovered a decent tone--somewhat.

Listening to a FB clip by the fantastic Australian harp master, Ian Collard, solved my problem. In the clip (pretty sure it was a Little Walter number), he's practicing with his new lineup for his group, Collard Greens and Gravy. First thing I noticed is that he's blowing through his HT10 sitting on a shelf directly behind his head and getting a fabulous tone (of course, a lot of that is from Ian himself). I commented on the post asking whether or not he was playing a first generation HT10 and whether or not it was stock. He answered that it was stock (with the 12ax7 tube) and that he had the Balls knob and Loudness barely cracked. And that he had both his Lone Wolf Reverb and Delay pedals in line. So, if I had left things as was I would not have had the low volume tone loss. Once I swapped the 12ax7 back in, I discovered that, indeed, a nice tone could be achieved at low volume. And barely above 1 on both knobs proved to be perfect for the venue and a perfect blend with my bandmates. Of course, I had to stick my reverb and delay pedal in front just to emulate (or get somewhere close) to what I heard that Ian was putting out.

I've played with the same guys now at much larger venues and outdoors a couple of times. The key there has been that our lead guitarist knows how to mike us all up properly and I needn't push the amp above 3 on both knobs hear myself

Bottom line is that Randy Landry and company over at Lone Wolf knew what they wanted out of their amp. I'm just one of those guys that likes to tinker around with amps and things, but I'll likely keep the 12ax7 in place...until I don't. 'Nuff for now.