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Custom Harmonica Microphones        
 
 
The Colonel's Custom Harp Mics
WHY SHOULD I BUY A CUSTOM HARP MIC FROM THE COLONEL ?

 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH A NEW BULLET MIC

Eg. HOHNER BLUES BLASTER OR SHURE 520DX?

 

These harp mics may look the same as the ones used by blues harp masters past and present, but they ain't the same on the inside, where it counts.

In 1996, Shure stopped making the Controlled Magnetic (CM) microphone elements that had been used in their green bullet mics since the 1940s.

The replacement elements used in the new Shure 520DX are shoddy Chinese dynamic elements, which give a tinny shrill sound and are prone to feedback.

Older mics and elements can still be found (eg. on eBay) but costs are escalating, and you need an experienced mic builder to get them in good shape for reliable use.

 

At about the same time that Shure stopped making the CM elements, the Astatic company discontinued the JT-30 and its crystal element the MC-151 (The Hohner Blues blaster is just a re-badged JT-30)

For the past ten years, Hohner Blues blasters have been sold with a smaller Japanese crystal element which most players agree is significantly inferior to the original.

Although much prized for their sound, the old MC-151 elements were fragile, and few have survived. The ones that are still around are ridiculously expensive.

For someone who likes the retro look of a JT-30, a better option is to have it fitted with an old Shure CM element (they are almost indestructible).

The combination of a JT-30 shell and Shure CM element is the preferred harp mic for many experienced players these days.

 

WHY CAN'T MODERN MICS BE USED FOR HARP?

 

Well, they can, but you won't get the gritty Chicago blues tone you want. Most players agree that an old style HiZ mic and a valve amp give the best sound.

Modern vocal mics are LoZ, designed to work with PA systems, not guitar amps. They are also designed to give a clean accurate reproduction of sounds, over a wide frequency range. They will give you a clean 'acoustic' harp sound, not a gritty blues sound.

For that, you need an old school mic, designed in the 30s or 40s, with built-in grit and a limited frequency response. Modern versions of these mics are made with plastic components instead of metal. They don't sound the same and they don't last.

 

WHY ARE CUSTOM HARP MICS SO EXPENSIVE?

Well they ain't. Not if you compare them with modern mass produced vocal mics, and not if you consider that they are a specialist item, using quality vintage parts, which are becoming more scarce as time goes by.

The colonel has been collecting old mics and mic parts from the US for over seven years, and has assembled a limited collection of custom harp mics, all completely overhauled and customised, so that each one is highly individual, yet each is guaranteed to deliver reliable, gut-busting blues tone.
 
Here are some examples of the Colonel's Custom Harp Mics:
 
JT30 Gold Ceramic JT30 Blue JT30 yellow JT30 CM element Turner silver Astatic 200
 
These custom harp mics typically cost around $300 depending on features such as condition, age and paint job. They can be supplied with or without a volume control. All come with screw-on connector and switchcraft adapter that allows you to use a regular guitar cable to connect to your amp.
Please contact the Colonel to find out what mics he has available. There are very limited quantities of these mics, as the vintage parts are in short supply.