Are you curious about harmonica innovative accessories? Are you looking around on the internet, trying to find a right gadget to use with your harp? This article is for you.
Today we introduce you before Battle Plan Harmonica, a manufacturer that designs and makes a range of specialised mic clips, stand mounting harmonica holders and ‘hands free amplified harmonica’ solutions for working harmonica players who are unable to find what they need elsewhere. Here is the story narrated by Ben Reese, the Chief Tactical Officer @ Battle Plan Harmonica.
Necessity is the mother of invention and at Battle Plan Harmonica it started a few years ago when I bought a Shure 520DX ‘Green Bullet’ harp mic. When I had previously owned one some years before,I found it frustrating that I had to put the mic down on the floor when it was not in use.
After a break of 15 or so years, I was fronting a rock covers band again and playing harmonica on only a few of the 40+ songs in the set. When not playing harp, I wanted to be able to rock-out cable free, and I needed somewhere to put my harp mic that looked cool and wasn’t risky, i.e. balancing on an amplifier where it would get knocked off or kicked around on the ground. What I needed a specially designed mic clip for it so that it could go on a stand.
I looked online and asked around but found nothing that fitted my specific needs. As it happened, I had also recently acquired access to a 3D printer so the obvious choice was to try and make something for myself.
I educated myself in some basic online CAD software and made my first mic holder which I named the ‘Ammo Clip’.
The first iteration was quite simple, little more than a crude cup shape that the mic rested in, it didn’t hold the mic too well, but when I took it along to band practice the other guys were really impressed with it.
After refining the design to hold the mic more securely they suggested trying to sell it on eBay. I took a punt and was pleasantly surprised that one had sold within a week and more followed steadily afterwards. I began to think that this was something that there was a real need for and a gap in the market. I resolved to keep on improving the design taking on board feedback from customers.
Many prototypes later (learning more about CAD techniques and fine tuning 3D Printer settings) I had something very close to the Ammo Clip 520 that is available today.
People seeing the Ammo Clip 520 began to ask me if would also work with similar mics to the 520DX such as the Superlux D112/C and Peavey’s ‘Cherry Bomb’ and if there was a holder for other types of harp mic, e.g. An astatic JT-30 and the Bulletini®.
Well I had not really thought much about other types of bullet mic before this, but my microphone buying addiction was seeded and there are now Ammo Clips for 5 different styles of Bullet mic shell; Shure 520, Astatic JT-30, Bulletin®, Turner 254 and the fabulous new Hohner Harp Blaster by SE Electronics which is currently the one I am actively using.
Following the creation of the Ammo Clip, I began to have other ideas for gear that I wanted but had not seen anywhere. Namely a harmonica holder that would attach to my mic stand. Hey presto! The V2 Harp Launcher was born, and the stage was set for the ‘Battle Plan Harmonica Accessories’ brand.
I began to post pictures of my increasingly elaborate looking mic stand on some of the harmonica gear groups on social media and was contacted by Chris Fosbrook who runs the ‘Harmonica Gear UK’ Facebook group. Chris has a hand disability which makes it difficult for him to ‘cup’ the mic and he reached out to me to help design and develop his idea for a device that would both grip his harp and fix it to his Bulletini® mic.
A few rounds of prototyping and a couple of skype calls later and we had created the device now known as the Bullet Buddy. Other similar solutions to the Bullet Buddy exist but they tend to be either specifically designed for a single type of mic, have their own mic permanently built into them or be elaborately carved out of wood and super expensive.
The great and unique thing about the Bullet Buddy is that it has an interchangeable adapter that can be designed specifically around the mic of your choice.
To date a single Bullet Buddy can be used, not only with the harp mics mentioned earlier that have Ammo Clips, but also regular vocal and instrument mics such as the Shure Unidyne 515SA, SM47 and SM48.
These mics will still fit a regular universal mic clip with the Bullet Buddy attached and it is a great solution if you want to play guitar and amplified harmonica at the same time. No neck brace or Gaffa Tape required!
So this is the way Battle Plan Harmonica currently operates… People see what we have to offer and often have a different idea for what they need. Perhaps they are using a different type of mic, have need of a different type of box, or have some other bizarre device in mind. Whatever it is, they can contact me with their idea, and I’ll do my best to help design and make it. In some cases, people have even been prepared to lend me their precious mic to make the process easier.
We don’t have access to sophisticated manufacturing facilities, just some online CAD software and 3D printers. 3D printing is an excellent way to rapidly design and make items at a low volume for a speciality market that would be impossible or prohibitively expensive to do commercially. Almost everything in the Battle Plan Harmonica Accessories range, except the original Ammo Clip 520 and V2 Harp Launcher, has been made in collaboration with the person who asked for it.
If you have an idea for something you need, please feel free to contact me through the website:
or through our Facebook page
Keep on Harpin on!
Chief Tactical Officer @ Battle Plan Harmonica
harmonicalearning.com is proud of having these innovative products and ideas on our pages.
®Bulletini is a registered trademark of BlowsMeAway Productions, visit the website to have a look a this great harmonica microphone.