Reply To: Amplification for Melodicas


Hi Melodica-Me,

Amplification is a huge issue with me and I still don’t have it resolved. The main problem is I can never hear enough of the amplified sound over the acoustic sound because the melodica sound is so in my face. I may be moving to headphone or in-ear monitors.

First let me say, that is one bodacious amp. I am keeping my eyes open for one of those 60s tube amps myself. There are several brands that could work. A tag sale is probably a good place to find one at a reasonable price. However, I am not sure such an amp would be my primary amplifier.

After having tried a very high quality modern tube preamp, a borrowed Fender Blues Junior and a five-watt, beat up Fender Champ, I have come to the conclusion that most of the time I prefer a really clean sound. So I now use a high-quality solid state microphone preamp with a built-in compressor and parametric EQ. I run that signal through a Lexicon multi-effects processor and into a solid state JBL 12-inch, two-way monitor pointing up at my head from floor. Jeepers, I thought I wanted a dirty sound, but after months and months of trying, I realized I like a clean sound most of the time. A tube amp just does not do it for me, but that is a highly personal thing of course.

But at times I want a warm, dirty sound too! So I start clean with the aforementioned setup, then dirty it up using the Lone Wolf Blues Company effects pedals that I have mentioned in the past (a better recording of these in use is to come this weekend I hope); or I overdrive my Lexicon digital multi-effects processor—which by all reasoning should not be done and should not produce a pleasant dirty sound. But yet, it actually gives me a great warm distorted sound.

So for me, the problem is not the tone, as I can shape it the way I want, but getting enough volume to hear my tone and effects over the acoustic sound coming from the keyboard harmonica.

The other problem is sometimes to hear my amplified tone and effects, I am too loud when playing with an acoustic bass and guitar, even when they are amplified. The melodica is so loud, I can’t turn up the amp to hear the amplified tone because I will overpower the acoustic bass and guitar.

I have to go now, but let’s keep this discussion going, because I am interested in learning what other people do. Everyone else makes it look easy, but I still struggle with amplification.



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