Johnny Ace Harp Mics

hThe Harmonica Microphone SeriesJohnny Ace Harp Microphones

It’s been a while since we posted anything technical from the Harp Surgery, so pull on your overalls and let’s hit the grease pit. We’ve been busy refreshing our harp rig and look forward to reporting on all the fantastic hardware we’ve assembled. Customised harp mics, harp effects pedals and tuning equipment; they’re all here. So let’s start with some real harp mic cheesecake.

Turner Yellow AWe stumbled upon Johnny Ace through the social media. He specialises in refurbishing vintage mics – predominantly Astatics, Turners, Biscuits, and the occasional Sure Bullet. The finished items are the microphone equivalent of Betty Page, Marilyn Munro, Jane Russell or Cyd Charisse. They’re stylish, curvy, and red hot.

Turnet yellow 2Johnny advertises many of his customised jobs on Facebook and two items recently caught our eye. The first was a yellow Astatic JT30, the other was this pin-up cutey. With the Astatic snapped up almost instantly by another buyer, we went for the Turner and we’re very pleased that’s the way the mop flopped. We already have a couple of Astatics anyway, so it was time to try something new.

Blondie as we now call her – in tribute to Our Monica, the Surgery’s gorgeous cleaning lady (above), is a Turner 254C HI-Z ceramic, from the classic 250 series. She comes with a signature ridgeback shell, customised volume dial (which glides beautifully to the touch), sure ceramic element and screw-on cable jack. We therefore have the choice of connecting her to an amp using a ¼ inch jack lead or a microphone screw cable.  Under the hood is a vintage Sure 99A86 controlled magnetic transducer from the early 1960’s. More here.

Turner Yellow BThe cost for our new arrival was $280.00 USD, plus UK import duty of £35.12 GBP. Prospective buyers from these fair isles are looking at an investment of around £200.00 GBP all in. And that’s great value! It’s important to note, this price includes a very high level of personal service and a very imagespeedy delivery time. Blondie was boxed and on our doorstep in one week!

As soon as she arrived, we took her into the recording studio and played her through a Lone Wolf Harp Attack pedal, direct into the recording desk. She blew like the QE2 in a fog bank. So much so, that she was instantly our microphone of choice for the session that followed. She has crunch, punch, presence and cuts right through to where it counts. A real heart breaker!

The Turner family originally ran an undertaking business in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was so successful that they needed to install a PA system to make announcements to the assembled mourners. Their first efforts were unsuccessful however, and Turner struggled badly for many years against Shure, ElectroVoice, and Astatic. But by the mid-1960s, they’d paid off their investment costs and become a market leader by specialising in communication mics for CB radios and PA systems. More here.

Turner Yellow Turner logoTurner MicrophonesContacts
You can find more about Johnny’s stock through his website, or on Facebook. You can also email him at the address below. You won’t be disappointed.

  • johnnyace55@comcast.net
  • http://johnnyacemics.wordpress.com
  • Johnny Ace on Facebook

4 thoughts on “Johnny Ace Harp Mics

  • August 30, 2015 at 8:31 am
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    I love the Turner 454 how van i but one?

  • March 30, 2017 at 6:04 am
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    Blessings,
    My name is Hoot Gibson, I’m an M.S. patieat,who’s tring to find life again. I no longer am able to play guitar tjr way I have been able to in the past. Im blessed to have moved to the Colorado scene where my more serious symptoms of have settled down, i.e,.
    I was legally blinded and averaged about 3-5 seizures a week.
    I am avle to play. My harmonica, but as I have been asked to play out, I have no idea what my basics as farvq s gear should. Would you guys have any kind of 2nd hand up program for folkessl like me,who never rhought blessings would rain on us again?
    I have A-G lee oskar major harps and thats it. Was hoping you’d be able to help me with an assistant group about that might help with getting my life in gear again.

    Blessings and than.
    Hoot Gibson

  • April 8, 2017 at 9:48 pm
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    Hi Hoot. Thanks for getting in touch. It’s great that the harmonica is such a rewarding part of your life. When you say that you’ve been ‘asked to play out’, I’m imagining this is a chance for you to mix it live with other local musicians? In which case you have three options.

    The first is to play acoustically in an unplugged scenario. If the setting is intimate enough, and the audience is quiet, then the harmonica will hold its own in terms of volume. Some players use a small, hand-held tin can, which acts as natural resonator too.

    The second is to play semi-acoustically off a vocal mic. Some venues/bands will have a spare stand and mic, but in my opinion this is the minimum any itinerant harp player should own. Whether you buy new or second hand is down to your budget, time and resources.

    The third option is to start the quest for your own harp mic and amp combination. At which point the variables are almost endless. What size venues will you be playing? Do you want a valve or solid state amp? What pedals do you need? Do you have cables? Then there are endless debates about optimum amp and mic parings. The solution is as subjective as it is practical.

    I’d suggest spreading your net wider on a local level. Or maybe through Harp-L or some of the social media groups on Facebook. While there is a very healthy, friendly and helpful worldwide harmonica community, you’re probably surrounded by a good number of harp players in Colorado itself who could help you in getting established. In the UK we have the National Harmonica League who are good at putting harp folks in touch with one another. I’d imagine SPAH may be able to help you in this respect also in the US.

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