BlowsMeAway Productions
Custom Wood Harmonica Microphones
"Art you can play"

You wouldn't play a cast zinc violin, would you? A steel piano? A pewter guitar? Of course not. But a harmonica microphone is part of your "instrument." Why play through a metal microphone? Experience the warmth of wood! My rare wood mics have a slightly smaller diameter than a JT30, with none of those uncomfortable bumps and ridges on the grill. And these mics are considerably lighter than their metal counterparts. A JT30 weighs between 8 and 10 ounces depending on configuration. A Shure 520D weighs a whopping 13 ounces! My wood mics weigh as little as 4.5 ounces including element and connector.

The result is a mic that is comfortable to hold, easy to play, beautiful to look at and, best of all, sounds GREAT. Guaranteed, or your money back.

Each mic is a one-of-a-kind work of art. Although I occasionally have wood mics ready for sale, my preference is to work with each customer individually. I will help you choose woods and options and discuss any ideas you have. As I build your mic I will email you photos of the entire process, from raw wood preparation through finished microphone, to keep you informed every step of the way. I price all the options in direct proportion to the labor involved in building them into your mic. Scroll down to the Design Your Own Mic section to learn more about these beautiful mics - with options, prices and photos. But first - meet a few of my customers.....


Internationally acclaimed stars Kim Wilson, Charlie Musselwhite and Mickey Raphael love their BlowsMeAway Wood Mics. To see them and hear what they have to say about my work, please visit the home page.

Now - here are a few other pros who use BlowsMeAway mics.

RJ Mischo

"Best Harmonica Player" award winner in 1996, with 10 CD's under his own name and apppearances on countless others. RJ Mischo endorses BlowsMeAway's Custom Wood Mics.

"I just plugged in my new beautiful curly maple mic from BlowsMeAway Productions. It has a 1950 Shure black label CR element with Killer Tone. I played the mic with my Bassman, Super Reverb & Concert amp sounds great with all of them. This outfit makes the highest quality harp mics, volume controls & cables, I highly recommend them!!!!"

RJ Mischo - November 2010

RJ Mischo's BlowsMeAway Wood Mic

Deak Harp

These Mics are a work of art ... And man the wood makes the tone just drip out ...Warm as the Sunflower River in Clarksdale Ms .. in July ..... And the Piano Finish is so smooth you can see yourself in it ..

Everybody should have one

--Deak Harp


Jimi Lee using his BlowsMeAway Productions wod microphone

Jimi Lee

“Like many other people, whether for harmonica or guitar, I have tried for a long time to get a good tone wireless. It took Greg Heumann’s knowledge and experience with elements, impedance matching, volume pots and more to accomplish the task. My new custom wood body harmonica mic is not only wireless, it has the best tone, is comfortably light weight and looks like a piece of art work. It is now part of my regular gigging set up. I’ve been spoiled and really don’t want a heavy bodied mic anymore, except maybe as a back up, but today I asked Greg to make me another one that isn’t wireless for a back up. I find myself prone to tell players about Greg's wood mics above all others. The wireless has become my hands down mic of choice.

Thanks for all that you have done for me. You are the one I recommend most and it’s an easy choice.”-- Jimi Lee

Jimi's mic is set up low impedance with an XLR connector so he can use it with his Samson wireless rig. You can see him use it in this video.

Jimi Lee's BlowsMeAway Productions wod microphone

Andy Just using his BlowsMeAway Productions wod microphone

Andy Just


I play with a BlowsMeAway Productions wood mic and it is my favorite mic! Super light, great tone and it fits in your hand WAY better than the stock mics. The coolest looks! And I love the volume control now. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this mic to anyone that is serious about playing electric harp... I'm sold on Greg's mics! -- Andy Just

Listen while you look....

Hear blues veteran, recording artist and pro performer Andy Just blowin' his BlowsMeAway wood mic and volume control through a Sonny Jr amp, recorded live at The Little Fox Theatre in Redwood City, CA:        

Struck By Lightning        Blue and Lonesome        Rockin' Boogie

“The first time I picked up this mic at the SPAH convention in Virginia Beach I knew I had to have it. It was lightweight, had great sound and looked really cool.  I have since put all my "antiques" away including my beloved green bullet and custom JT-30 aka "Shrek" that I used to adore.  Nothing can touch the mic Greg made; there is artistry involved in creating this mic. The fact that this is made from a single piece of wood “blows me away”.  The volume control has changed my playing; I love the ease and control it gives me on stage. The mic is extremely light and easy to use especially for longer shows.    Because I play it all the time the color has deepened and gotten richer. I can’t wait to get my next one with a custom grill!   I mention the microphone every show and I always take the time to show it to anyone who asks and refer them to the website. ”

-- Jake Friel


This video opens with RJ Mischo playing acoustic. At about 2:48 in the vid, he came over to me to try one of my wood mics - hooked up to my Sonny Jr Avenger. We ended up trading licks for quite a while - it was a hoot! RJ decided then and there he had to have his own BlowsMeAway wood mic. And now he does!

Here's a recent review - November 1, 2010:

Just want to share my experiences with a wood bullet mic made for me a couple months ago by Greg. I've had the chance to gig with it a few times and feel like I now know it well enough to review it. I bought it as a treat to myself, not because I needed a new mic (I have several lovely harp mics). I supplied the white CR element and had him build me a mic out of cocobolo wood with a stealth volume control. I had previously been using the element in the original GB with a volume control that I added. Greg built the mic to my specs and emailed lots of pics of the process as it went from a hunk of wood and metal to the final product. Visually it is a work of art.

The mic has far exceeded my expectations. I figured it would sound the same, be a little more comfortable to hold, and be pretty to look at. But the reality is that it feels Perfect to hold, sounds better than the element sounded in the GB, and I feel like I have much better control of my volume and sound. It's hard to put into words without sounding like a pitchman for Greg's company (never met the guy). The only thing he did to the element was to disconnect the built-in resistor in the GB (which I never thought was a problem), but otherwise the element is the same. But I guess it's the combo of the wood, the right gasket, the proper match of volume control to the element, and a better fit in hand (and whatever other mojo he added). Whatever it is, I keep getting complements on sounding better and playing better. I've been busy with new responsibilities at work and haven't been practicing much, and am using the same old amps, so it's quite striking to me that just a different mic with the same old element is making such a difference. In addition to being lightweight and feeling good in the hand, the stealth volume control is great--turns easily and very smooth transition in volume all the way up with no abrupt jumps.

It ain't cheap but to me has been well worth it. Thanks Greg! ------ Harpdoc



Design your own mic!

The base price for a BlowsMeAway custom wood mic is $279. That includes a shell turned from a single block of your choice of wood, a billet aluminum grill with straight slots, screw-on connector, natural finish, black foam windscreen, custom gasket - and of course a wonderful vintage Shure single impedance controlled magnetic element - 99A86 or 99B86. (These elements are considered to be among the best available for harp - and have been out of production now for about 40 years. They are far superior to the elements that come in the current Shure 520DX Green Bullet or any other mass-produced harp mic. I buy them used from a variety of sources.) I also have other elements, or will make a shell for your element if you like. See "Elements Available" below.

SO - start at $279, choose your wood(s) and consider the following pro options.

New! I have many more photos in my Customer Mics photo album on Facebook. Start here to understand the options and their prices - but look there for a broader selection of woods.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone

This mic is made from Kingwood

Pro Options:
Lamination: Some woods aren't available in blocks thick enough for me to start with so I laminate multiple boards together. This results in some beautiful color and grain combinations as you can see from the pictures here. Lamination takes lots of prep and time - add $29 for a standard 3-piece lamination, $39 for 4-way. BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone

Zebrawood and Macassar Ebony.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone

Cocobolo and Purpleheart, maze grill

Multilam woods: I have some prelaminated woods- these are thin layers of birch that have been dyed, then pressed together in large sheets under huge pressure, bonded with a special resin. Add $10 for these woods.



Upper left: BluesBerry
Upper Right: Desert



Middle Left: Blue Bayou
Middle Right: Tropical



Lower left: Blue Sunset
Lower Right: Fiesta

Finish: My standard finish is a natural looking hand-rubbed finish with a satin sheen. Your skin oils will react with these mics and they will get richer/darker/duller over time. They can be restored with furniture polish and/or furniture wax.

A more durable finish uses nitrocellulose lacquer. This is the same material used to finish fine guitars and pianos. Here there are two levels:

Piano finish takes at least 8-10 coats of lacquer, lots of sanding, a couple extra weeks, and fills all the grain for a mirror like finish. (Look at the text reflected in the shell.) Add $89 for this finish.

I don't have a spray booth and an army of polishers. I don't guarantee perfection, but it is close.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone

Violin is glossy - however the wood grain is not completely "leveled". The wood is completely sealed and protected. Add $39 for this option - the most popular choice.

This mic is burl maple, with ebony, a stealth volume control and "Ben" engraved on the side.

Inlay

The mic on the left is a lamination of Cocobolo and Zebrawood, Mercedes grill and has a turquoise granule inlay. Add $39 for an inlay ring.

The mic on the right is made of Redheart. When the wood was turned it revealed "checks" that had to be filled with something. I chose turquoise granules. I can add inlay material to engraving (see below) as well . Ask for price quote.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - inlay
Inlay colors/materials, L to R:
  • Aluminum powder (a byproduct of my grill manufacturing process)
  • Blue, gold, red metal flake - note the finished inlay is a combination of the core color and silver
  • Red, gold, blue and turquoise "granules"

Grip Shoulder: Adding a "shoulder" can make the shell even easier to hold, for players with arthritis or other disabilities. Add $19

The mic on the left is a lamination of Cocobolo and Macassar Ebony. The mic on the right is a lamination of Macassar Ebony and Purpleheart.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone
Engraving: Laser engraving adds a personalized touch - good for your initials or .... Also see the "anodized grill" option below - that's Steven Tyler's mic and has some nice engraving on the side. Add $89

The mic on the left is made from rosewood and marblewood. The mic on the right is made from Zebrawood

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - engraved BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - engraved
Stealth volume control: The end of the shell IS the volume knob. I set it up so that the wood grain lines up perfectly when the control is at full volume. Add $89, specify smooth or click action.

The mic shown on the left is made from a 4-part laminate of Kingwood. You can just barely see the line between the rotating rear and the main part of the mic. The one on the right is Zebrawood, Tripoly grill.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone- stealth volume control BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - stealth volume control
XLR Connector: Mickey Raphael and Jimi Lee wanted low impedance mics with XLR connectors for different reasons. Mickey wants to unplug his acoustic mic and plug this in for a few blues numbers during Willie Nelson's shows. Jimi Lee wanted to use the mic with his low-Z wireless mic rig. I can also set your mic up for high impedance/XLR like a Blues Blaster (Pin 3 hot) or ready for the wireless transmitter (Pin 2 hot) if you like. I have to fabricate several parts to make it work. Add $59. BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - XLR connector option
Curved/Radial Slot Patterns:

Curved or radial slot patterns require a lot more setup time and machining work, but they are beautiful and unique. Add $39.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone -
"Mercedes"
BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - maze grill
"Maze"
The mic on the right is made with Marblewood
BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - tripoly grill
"Tripoly"
BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - Starburst grill
"Starburst"
From here down, these grills are shown with Optional Grill Screen shown, see below.
BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - Turbine grill
"Turbine"
BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - Turner grill
"Turner"
BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - Waves grill
"Waves"
BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - Smiles grill
"Smiles"
New!

"Eighth Note"

"Yin Yang"
I have other new designs too. You might too. Dont see what you want? Contact me!
Personalized Grills - add $89

Now you can have your grill personalized like Kim Wilson's and Charlie Musselwhite's. I recommend you use your own initials, however :) I have a couple different designs and will work with you to help you decide.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - Initials
Kim Wilson's mic. "Right Initials"
BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - Initials
Jay Sawyer's Mic - "Upper Initials"
I love working with customers to come up with new grill designs. Before you get too excited, though, no, you can't have your face in there. The slots are 1/8" wide and must leave about 1/8" between them. The circle in which they live is 1.85" in diameter.

Bill Noteman's Mic - "centered initials"
This the the best "B" design yet, new 2/12

This one was made for country sensation Heidi Newfield. This is "single initial center"
And like the stencils they use to paint signs in the street, there has to be connective tissue to hold the middle bits in or they will fall out. That means you don't have much resolution to work with. So get creative!

Arcs w/ 3 Initials, Vertical

Arcs w/ 3 Initials, Horizontal

This grill shows a newer "A" design - I like it better than the one above.

Horizontal slots, 2 vertical initials

Horizontal slots, 3 vertical initials
Anodized Grill:

All grills can be anodized - black, blue, red, purple, gold - other colors too. Add 2 weeks and $75 (the cost is high because the anodizer has a minimum charge - no way around it. )

and yes, that IS Steven Tyler's mic.

Brass Grill:

Brass is a little heavier but gives a warmer look. Standard aluminum shown on left for comparison. A brass grill adds 2 ounces to total mic weight.
Add $29

Grill Screen:

All grills are provided with a black foam wind screen. A metal grill screen, shown on the right, adds a nice look. Add $10.

BlowsMeAway Productions custom wood bullet microphone - Grill screen
Wet wood process

Add $49
Hardwoods are frequently sold with fairly high moisture content - particularly when in the 3x3x12" format I use to make a mic from a solid block of wood. It is very difficult for vendors to dry it without cracking Because it is so much thicker than typical kiln-dried board stock, the outside dries and the inside doesn't and so the unevenness causes tension and ultimately cracks. These woods are stored covered in wax specifically to KEEP them from drying until they can be turned because they would dry unevenly and crack. I like to get the moisture level down to 15% or less to make a mic. If I don't do this, the mic will shrink considerably after turning - enough so that the element/gasket can be nearly impossible to remove for service, and more importantly, after a few months the grill will be a larger diameter than the shell, not only causing it to be a loose fit, but also making it ugly and uncomfortable. There is also danger of cracking once you've taken posession. My process is mostly secret, but involves pre-turning the mic, boring out the inside and turning the outside but leaving it oversize. That will leave me room to get it nice and true once it has dried, because it will both shrink and warp in the process. Then it is dried in a controlled environment. That can take 2-3 weeks. Once it is dry I go back to work. Every inside and outside surface has to be turned to the correct depth and diameter - so in effect I've turned the entire mic twice.

With some exceptions, I can't predict when the time comes to build your mic what wood I will have and whether it will be dry or not. I recently received two pieces of East Indian Rosewood, for example - one was 12% moisture (8-10% is considered natural "resting" moisture level) and one was 24%. But if it is wet - you will have the opportunity to choose something else or have me proceed.

Elements Available:

A Shure singe impedance Controlled Magnetic 99A86 or 99B86 element is included in the $279 standard price mic. This element was in the original Shure 520 Green Bullet and is an outstanding value.

If you need to save some dough, consider a 99S556 Dual Impedance Controlled Magnetic element and Deduct $29. This element was in the Shure 520D and is a great choice if you're on a tight budget. A little brighter than the single-impedance elements but still has great tone and break-up - and way better than anything you can buy in a commercial bullet today.

Premium Shure Controlled Magnetic - like 99H86 white label CM - add $79

Shure Controlled Reluctance 99(H,G)86 white label - add $169

Shure Controlled Reluctance 99(A,G,H)86 black label - add $219

Brush Crystal - add $219

Supply your own element - deduct $79 from basic mic price

Others: Inquire.

Woods Available:
BlowsMeAway Productions Wood Inventory as of 2/13
This is a typical list but I just can't seem to keep it updated. I buy pretty wood when I see it - and sometimes I can't get any more of something for a while. I will help you through the wood choice process!
Solid Block Woods Available
Canary
Claro Walnut
Cocobolo
Ebony
Jobillo
Koa
Kingwood
Maple Burl
Olive
Rosewood, Burmese very similar to cocobolo
Rosewood, E. Indian dark
Sheeoak 1 left
Spalted tamarind
Wenge
Tamboti
Zebrawood
Specialty Blocks - prelaminated. Add $10, no lamination fee
purpleheart/maple/wenge/canary laminated on slight bias
Multi-lam "desert": orange/purple/brown see my BlowsMeAway facebook page for photos
Multi-lam "Blue Bayou" blue/lt. blue/purple/green see my BlowsMeAway facebook page for photos - almost out.
"BluesBerry" Multi-lam med blue, natural, red, burgundy
Tropical Like Rick Estrin's mic - see my BlowsMeAway facebook page for photos
Acid Trip see my BlowsMeAway facebook page for photos - red and blue
Board stock available (for laminated mics)
Bocote
Canary
Cocobolo large variety
Ebony dark, dark brown, dark brown grain
Kingwood (square stock - requires 4-way (2x2) lamination
Marblewood
Rosewood
spalted maple
Wenge
Zebrawood
The following board woods are good for the center section in laminations - contrasting color, but not much grain - which can conflict with side wood grain
Ash
Cherry
Padouk (orangish)
Purpleheart
Yellowheart

I have many more photos of mics in a wide variety of woods on my facebook page. Go here and head for the "Customer Mics" photo album. If that doesn't do it, I recommend that you Google these woods to learn more about them.

There's a lot going on here. I will work with you through every step of design and specification. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

Note - these mics are as much works of art as they are top quality musical instrumnts. As such I sign each one by burning my initials into the mic down near the connector, letters about 1/8" high. If you do not want this please let me know when you order.


Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 BlowsMeAway Productions