James Waldron lives on Plum Island, designs web sites by day, and plays harp in a blues band on weekends. In his spare time, he tears apart old old microphones for parts and builds new, custom microphones for other harmonica players, like that guy in the Who. I profiled his business/obsession for the Boston Globe.
“You want to cup your hands to control the sound,” he says, demonstrating. “A bullet-shaped mike is easy to hold when you’re cupping your hands. And if you make a tight container around it. . . ”
He begins to blow. The sound blasting out of the speaker is part wail and part bellow, with a ragged edge of distortion. It’s James Cotton, Little Walter, or Junior Wells, mojo fully workin’.
After a few bars, Waldron puts down the harmonica and says mildly, “That’s the sound people want.”