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Beatle-ey Harmonica sound?

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Anonymous
February 11, 2005 6:32:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hi all,
I'm working on a mid-tempo early beatles-meets-nirvana-unplugged song
which will feature a harmonica solo or three. I'm thinking early-to-mid
Beatles/John Lennon sound, or perhaps "Laugh Laugh" by the Beau
Brummels (if you remember that one). Sad, but *not* bluesy *not*
country, warm, but clean. I don't think my Green Bullet or Hohner will
work. I WILL be trying different harps, but I'm curious if any of the
Beatles tech books say much on how Lennon's harp sound was recorded.
Mics & pre's available:

AKG 414 TL, 451E (w/CK1)
A-T AT 4031 mic (2) ATW-T28 Wireless, ATM-35 Lavalier Mic
Beyer M600, M 500
Gefell UM70
Hohner Blues Blaster
Lawson L-47MP
Numark HM 6000A Headset mic/headphone
Oktava MC012 w/-10dB pad (2), 3 capsules
Rode NT-1 (2)
Royer R-121
Sennheiser 441 (2), 421 (2)
Sescom MC-325 Condenser Lavalier (Silver)
Shure SM57x4,SM58,Green Bullet,918 PZMx2
Soundelux U195s

Preamps:
API 512b (2), API 312 (2)
Neve (Vintech) 1272 Dual Pre/DI
Demeter VTMP-2a Dual Tube Pre/DI
FMR RNP (Really Nice Preamp)
Old School Audio 312s (2)
Peavey VMP-2 Dual Tube Pre/DI

Yes,yes,yes, I *know* the player & harp are most of the battle.
I'm thinking tube pre at this point. I tried the Royer for the demo &
it was OK, but no knockout. Any ideas appreciated.

Thanks,

Mikey Wozniak
Nova Music Productions
This sig is haiku

More about : beatle harmonica sound

Anonymous
February 11, 2005 9:49:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

novamusic wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm working on a mid-tempo early beatles-meets-nirvana-unplugged song
> which will feature a harmonica solo or three. I'm thinking early-to-mid
> Beatles/John Lennon sound, or perhaps "Laugh Laugh" by the Beau
> Brummels (if you remember that one). Sad, but *not* bluesy *not*
> country, warm, but clean. I don't think my Green Bullet or Hohner will
> work. I WILL be trying different harps, but I'm curious if any of the
> Beatles tech books say much on how Lennon's harp sound was recorded.
> Mics & pre's available:

I have the so-called tech books, and the info on recording harmonica is
almost non-existent. But we do know they used the analog equipment at
Abbey Road including the tube-based REDD 37 console and BTR wide-format
recorders. How to simulate that is a-gonna be difficult.

I would try using a dynamic mic (I'd use one of my old Sennheiser
MD421s) into a tube pre as the Abbey Rd equipment was tube-based. Those
EQs on the VMP preamp might be interesting to try if you choose to use
that particular preamp.

However, there is a picture of the Beatles, during Sgt Pepper, recording
harmonicas (albeit bass harmonicas) into one the old Neumans in a figure
eight config (John and George on either side). In any of the pictures
I've seen they always used large condensers on the studio floor
(excepting drums) so I see no reason to believe the harmonica on Love Me
Do, et al, was recorded any differently.

But I assume you are recording to digital format: it seems to me that
recording a harmonica via a large condenser into that format might bite
your head off.

As far as I know, Lennon used a Hohner.

I once recorded a harmonica where the guy had a special pickup and sent
it to a Fender Twin. It sounded great. You might want to try miking,
sending to a guitar amp and then re-miking - even though that is a blues
harp technique.

These comments are probably not much use to you, but since you asked for
"thoughts"...

It sounds like a fun project - but time is always an issue, of course.

-Naren
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 11:34:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Just a hunch, but it sound to me like the harp was soaked.
Try soakeing any harmonica in water sortly before playing
and you'll get that really 'wet' sound. NO PUN INTENDED.

Just dunk it in water and shake the water out well. You'll
get several minutes of really thick sound.
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 11:52:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Oh... but a warning..
On wooden core harps this will tend to swell the wood over
time. It's hard on the harp but sounds fantastic. I works
on the plastic core ones as well and doesn't have the same
negative effect. I think it's the remnant water on the reeds
that lubricates them a bit.. (total speculation)
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 4:43:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

novamusic wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm working on a mid-tempo early beatles-meets-nirvana-unplugged song
> which will feature a harmonica solo or three. I'm thinking early-to-mid
> Beatles/John Lennon sound, or perhaps "Laugh Laugh" by the Beau
> Brummels (if you remember that one). Sad, but *not* bluesy *not*
> country, warm, but clean. I don't think my Green Bullet or Hohner will
> work. I WILL be trying different harps, but I'm curious if any of the
> Beatles tech books say much on how Lennon's harp sound was recorded.
> Mics & pre's available:
>

You've got a nice selection of gear to choose from. I'd
try the Lawson or Royer into the 512C with the mic about
a foot away from the harp. A little room sound and some
plate reverb would be nice. See how that sounds and
adjust accordingly.

--
--
John Noll
Retromedia Sound Studios
Red Bank, NJ

jn145_deletethisfirst_@verizon.net

http://www.retromedia.net
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 6:52:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

novamusic wrote:

> I'm thinking early-to-mid
> Beatles/John Lennon sound, or perhaps "Laugh Laugh" by the Beau
> Brummels

Whatever mic you use, I wouldn't set it too close -- get some room sound
into it.

--
Jonathan Roberts * guitar, keyboards, vocals * North River Preservation
----------------------------------------------
To reach me reverse: moc(dot)xobop(at)ggestran
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 3:22:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

novamusic Wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm working on a mid-tempo early beatles-meets-nirvana-unplugged song
> which will feature a harmonica solo or three. I'm thinking
> early-to-mid
> Beatles/John Lennon sound, or perhaps "Laugh Laugh" by the Beau
> Brummels (if you remember that one). Sad, but *not* bluesy *not*
> country, warm, but clean.

From the list you posted I would try the Beyer M-500 into the API
512... if you have access to a Coles 4038 and a Chandler "TG channel"
you might get a bit closer, but the M-500 and the API should do fine.

Best of luck with it.


--
Fletcher
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 3:28:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I've always wondered how they recorded the harmonica on "Love Me Too"
(AKA "I Should Have Known Better"). I've always assumed, apparently
incorrectly, that the song was recorded live with no overdubs, and that
John sang lead and played the harmonica. But I believe there are spots
where the two parts overlap. So I must be wrong somewhere. Anyone
know how this was done?
In all those songs, it sounds to me like the harmonica was recorded on
the vocal mic, probably while the vocals were being sung, but further
away from the mic so the part would be musically in balance with the
rest of the track. On some of Dylan's stuff the harmonica is painfully
loud, way out of balance.
Cheers, Rick.
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 4:06:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

It always sounded to me like the harmonica on the early Beatles' stuff
was recorded at the same time as the vocals, but further away from the
mic in order to keep the musical balance right.
On some of Dylan's stuff the harmonica is way to loud, painfully so,
also because it was done live between the vocals. Cool effect though,
going back and forth between singing and playing harmonica in one
performance. It does something to your breathing which can't be faked
in overdubbing.
Does anyone know which Beatle played harmonica on "Love Me Do" and
"Love Me Too" (AKA "I Should Have Known Better"). I'm pretty sure the
harmonica overlaps John Lennon's singing. Always wondered about that.
Cheers, Rick.
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 4:52:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 12 Feb 2005 13:06:17 -0800, "rickymix" <snovak2@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>Does anyone know which Beatle played harmonica on "Love Me Do" and
>"Love Me Too" (AKA "I Should Have Known Better"). I'm pretty sure the
>harmonica overlaps John Lennon's singing. Always wondered about that.
>Cheers, Rick.

It was probably overdubbed by John.

Al
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 6:02:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Naren" <naren99@aol.com> wrote in message
news:37591mF56eel3U1@individual.net...
> novamusic wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > I'm working on a mid-tempo early beatles-meets-nirvana-unplugged song
> > which will feature a harmonica solo or three. I'm thinking early-to-mid
> > Beatles/John Lennon sound, or perhaps "Laugh Laugh" by the Beau
> > Brummels (if you remember that one). Sad, but *not* bluesy *not*
> > country, warm, but clean. I don't think my Green Bullet or Hohner will
> > work. I WILL be trying different harps, but I'm curious if any of the
> > Beatles tech books say much on how Lennon's harp sound was recorded.
> > Mics & pre's available:
>
> I have the so-called tech books, and the info on recording harmonica is
> almost non-existent. But we do know they used the analog equipment at
> Abbey Road including the tube-based REDD 37 console and BTR wide-format
> recorders. How to simulate that is a-gonna be difficult.
>
> I would try using a dynamic mic (I'd use one of my old Sennheiser
> MD421s) into a tube pre as the Abbey Rd equipment was tube-based. Those
> EQs on the VMP preamp might be interesting to try if you choose to use
> that particular preamp.


IIRC, the mic preamps in those REDD 37 consoles were Telefunken/Siemens
V72s.

Predrag
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 9:22:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

From your (well-stocked) mic and preamp collection, I'd go with one of the
tubed preamps, and experiment with the Lawson, Gefell and Sennheiser 421
mics, placed about a foot from the player. And yes, do soak the harp.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 11:33:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Don't have much help to offer you in the short term, but there's a book
about all the Beatles studio recording gear and techniques coming out
soon. It's been "coming out" for a while, but as long as it DOES get
here, that's all I care about.

http://www.recordingthebeatles.com
!