Harmonica Stage Equipment - Easy Ways to get a great Harmonica Sound

Getting a great harmonica sound on stage is not so hard (or expensive). This simple harmonica stage equipment setup will give a good clean sound through a PA. The microphone connects to a delay pedal, and then a preamp (the black box). The output of the preamp (the green cable) is then connected to the PA, or a DI box on the stage.

The microphone is a Shure SM58 (shown above), a common vocal microphone, often used by harmonica players.

I use a delay pedal, shown above, to improve the sound of the harmonica. This is perhaps the most important effect for harmonica players, and is often the only one you really need. I use an old Ibanez Delay pedal, however many other manufacturers make delay pedals as well.

This photo shows the end of the delay pedal. The small hole is for a DC power adaptor (not shown). It is important to have simple sound equipment, which is quick to set up, as bands often have little time on stage to get ready before playing. The other three holes are input, output (with delay), and output with no delay.

This picture shows the setting which I use on the pedal. It is important not to use too much delay, otherwise your harmonica will sound muddy. The mode switch, on the bottom right hand corner, is set to three. This is the setting for slow tunes. For faster tunes, I set the mode switch to 2, which gives a smaller delay.

The delay pedal connects to the preamp, shown above. The preamp gives a nicer sound to the harmonica, and also allows you to adjust your volume level on stage. Be sure not to make sudden big changes, otherwise the sound person may remove you from the mix entirely..

This photo shows the preamp connections. The small hole is for the power supply. There are two input connectors, so that you can use either a microphone lead or a guitar lead. There are also two output connectors.

This photo show the preamp setting. None of the buttons are pressed. The input is set fairly high. I then adjust the output control to give the correct sound level

This is what the preamp sounds like with the delay pedal turned off.


This is what it sounds like with a short delay (that is, with the mode switch set to 2).


Finally, this is how it sounds with a full delay, that is, with the mode switch set to 3. With this setup, the short delay is around 150 msec, the long delay is around 300 msec.