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Solo Harmonica Recording - Any experiences or tips to share?


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Good Afternoon All,


I hope everyone is well :-)


I have an upcoming location session with a solo harmonica player - quite a virtuoso player. I wonder if anyone has any experience or tips that you may be kind enough to share?

This player is not a "blues harp" player, but a very clean, melodic player who does the classic melodies as a solo artist. His sound is not the raunchier "harp sound", but more of a vocal like, pure tone delivery. He uses an interesting array of approx. 6 mounted harmonicas in various keys, in addition to the chromatic style harmonica with the "plunger" type device on the side. He doesn't use the typical close hand-held mic/amp combo like a blues player would - strictly an acoustic player.


His style is similar to this Toots Thielemans video :




I'm using my MixPre 10T and thought I'd use a large diaphragm condenser as the main close mic and record wider stereo tracks with pencil condensers to capture the ambience of the room (a church). There won't be an audience.


Thanks kindly everyone. Have a good evening :-)





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To capture the melodic voice I would use a solo neutral mic (U89, TLM170, etc.)  or a nice ribbon within the critical distance to focus the image, and a stereo pair farther out (spaced omni, fig. 8), placed to capture the amount of ambiance you want the room to contribute. From my locker I would use a Rode NTR as the main mic and a pair of MKH20 for the pair.


Although it is tempting to use a stereo pair for the main capture, I would advise against it. Even slight movements of a single instrument facing a close pair will confuse the stereo imaging.

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