Will Wilde Signature Harmonicaster
British harmonica ace Will Wilde rocks pretty hard. When he found out about the original Harmonicaster, he was excited. As a harmonica player fronting a rock 'n roll band, he was looking for a solution to a problem that has plagued harp players since Little Walter (or Snooky Pryor) first cupped a harp to bullet mic and plugged it into an amplifier, feedback. If you turn things up high enough, a microphone will produce feedback. Because the Harmonicaster uses inductive pickups, not a microphone, it is highly resistant to feedback.
Will immediately grasped the idea's potential so we sent him an original Harmonicaster for his evaluation. The good news was that he wasn't very happy with it. Some bends were not accessible and that pitch was off on the higher register. Why is that good news? Because we took his constructive criticism and completely redesigned the Harmonicaster to make it much better.
We discussed Will's concerns with another world-class harmonica player, Brendan Power, who also happens to be a very clever inventor. Brendan has graciously let us pick his brains as we've developed the Harmonicaster. The problem, he felt, was due to Helmholtz resonances introduced by using a mouthpiece. His suggestion that we have the reedplates custom configured meant that we were able to eliminate the mouthpiece entirely and play directly into the harmonica comb.
After the redesign, Will Wilde had an opportunity to try out the prototype for the Harmonicaster Mk II at the big SPAH harmonica convention held in St Louis in 2018. After first drawing a crowd playing through a little battery powered bedroom amp, Will recorded the video below using a small tube amp combo. As you can see and hear, Will was very pleased with the Mk II.
As a token of thanks to Will for his help, we've made a one-off Will Wilde Signature Harmonicaster Mk II. Will likes to wear black, with silver jewelry, so we made him a black and silver Harmonicaster Mk II, adorned with a silver version of his trademark harmonica playing skull logo.
While the standard Harmonicaster comes with a Key Cassette in A, Richter tuned, we've also made Will a couple of Key Cassettes in his "Wilde Tuning" that makes playing rock 'n roll a bit easier.
The Will Wilde Signature Harmonicaster Mk II is a custom job, a one-off, but we will be making Wilde tuned Key Cassettes in the near future.
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