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.
We 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.
Johnny 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.
The 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 speedy 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.
- Johnny Ace on Facebook