Charlie Roth - early adopter of the Harparatus!
Charlie Roth is an extremely talented songwriter and entertainer and an early adopter of the Harparatus. He makes his home in St. Cloud, Minnesota, but he tours and performs all over the U.S. and across the pond. Charlie recently heard about the Harparatus by word-of-mouth, checked out the website and immediately ordered one. After using the Harparatus for a few weeks he's sent me a very nice letter to tell me about his experience with it.
Charlie's full letter is posted at the bottom of this page.
Mike Bethke sends us this great Harparatus review!
"I play guitar in the worship band at a church in Mpls, MN. There are times when I need to "fatten" the sound behind the singers or play a instrumental interlude. Enter the Harparatus. It has made adding harmonica very easy and elegant. The old rack system was too cumbersome and made me feel self-conscious. With the harmonica going into a dedicated mic I can add effects to it and blend the volume- the result is nothing short of amazing. Its almost like having a string section.
Changing keys takes seconds and is so discrete that I don’t think anyone is even aware that I’m doing it. I’m really happy with this purchase. It’s one of those things that just doesn’t make sense not to have.
- Mike Bethke
I heard about the Harparatus from my friend Ric who was in a band back in the 80s with Sal the inventor. The website showed Sal navigate the thing quite well but I was not so sure it would work for me. I have played guitar and harmonica on a rack for over 40 years now. I have made my entire living as a musician but these days I work mostly as a one-man band.
When I got the thing out of the box I was impressed with the clamp mechanism and the general design of the device. The magnet is plenty strong enough to hold the harp firmly in place. My harp player/percussionist friend Dennis comes out fairly often to hear me play with my band and solo. Dennis has told me that sometimes my harp playing gets buried in the mix and that I should get it up more towards the microphone. The Harparatus is designed to do just that so I ordered it as a leap of faith.
I wondered if I would lose some of my dynamics. Well I have to say that I found that after just a few solo gigs, and one with my band, I have adjusted my technique blowing softer when it was time to just lay down a pad under someone’s vocal or solo. That is still a work in progress.
The other thing is that I was afraid that it would feel weird and it did at first. Playing strait harp melody was easier to adjust to than cross harp and I still have not gotten all my usually licks in cross harp together as of yet but it is very similar to switching to electric guitar after years and years of playing acoustic. I am actually playing way more harp on my gigs lately because I am enjoying the challenge of it. I know that eventually I will get all my licks back and might even find a few more.
Perhaps the best thing about this device is the problem I have problem I have had as a bearded guy was always pulling hair out of my face while playing the harp on a rack. The Harparatus is held in the same position depending on how you adjust it of course. I like to adjust mine about and inch back from the microphone with the plastic plate almost parallel to the floor. This seems to help with the harp catching hair from my face and prevents also with your reeds filling with saliva. I have also taken to putting a foam cover over my microphone to help eliminate some of the breathing noise.
All in all I think the Harparatus is a brilliant device and I would not hesitate to recommend it to other rack harp players.
- Charlie Roth