MAXIMUM ACOUSTIC Biography
MAXIMUM ACOUSTIC is Shawn Helsel and John Harding. We've been playing variety music in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex together for over Ten Years since 1997. Formerly from our critically acclaimed and locally legendary rock band SLEEPDRIVER, we've continued our musical exploits with the current acoustic guitar duo format as MAXIMUM ACOUSTIC, entertaining the masses at private, corporate, and public events. Not your typical acoustic guitar and vocal duo, we are at our best playing a variety of rock, pop, blues, country, and crowd requests. Check our Schedule for the latest engagements.
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MAXIMUM ACOUSTIC Video Clips
MAXIMUM ACOUSTIC Home Video was obtained from a performance at The Flying Saucer on Sundance Square in Downtown Fort Worth on April 20th, 2006. Check it...
Here's some excerpts from our performance of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Couldn't Stand the Weather", also performed at The Flying Saucer on Sundance Square in Downtown Fort Worth on April 20th, 2006...
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Talking About The Talkbox
Q #1: What is that tube thing on your mike stand?
Q #2: Are you singing into that tube?
Q #3: What was that ungodly noise?
Q #4: Are you guys gonna play that Frampton song?
Q #5: How are you making your voice sound like a guitar?
Q #6: Is that thing hard to play?
Q #7: Can you play “Haitian Divorce?”
Q #8: Play “Man In The Box” dude!
The most commonly asked questions at gigs in all the years John and I have played together pertain to my usage of a ‘talking guitar’ effect known as the “Talkbox". This crazy effect has been around for a long time and is featured on quite a few famous songs. John and I have played just a few tunes featuring it since we started together and people continually enjoy and request to hear them. I am certainly not the only guitarist/musician that plays a talkbox in our fair Metroplex. Nonetheless, we are repeatedly asked about it from people who seemingly have never seen or heard anybody play one. Those people that have heard a Talkbox are always very curious about how it works.
I actually started playing the thing way before John and I were in the band Sleepdriver. I was in a Blues/Rock group called “The Onlookers”, whose members shall go nameless at this time to protect the guilty. These great friends of mine, knowing the huge guitar-effect freak that I am, realized that amongst the zillion guitar-pedals littering my garage I did not yet own a Talkbox, so they took it upon themselves to purchase and present me with one at our rehearsal one day. Within a half-hour we were playing the famous Talkbox solo section of Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” and the rest is blessed/cursed history.
It wasn’t that hard for me to play it so soon and here’s why:
The Talkbox is a pretty simple device. Normally one plays a guitar or other instrument through an amplifier and speaker. We hear the guitar notes regenerated by the speaker through the air to our ears. The Talkbox includes a smaller version of this same system contained within a metal box at the player’s feet with all the other gadgets, or ‘effects-pedals'. The player activates the Talkbox by stomping the switch on the metal box. This switch reroutes the guitar sound from going through the regular big amp/speaker to the little ones inside the box, as long as you keep playing. There is a hole in the box and the guitar sound just blares out of it. So then a tube is attached to this hole so the guitar sound is captured and it travels up through the tube to the player’s face. Now you hear the guitar sound just pouring out of the tube. If you put the tube in your mouth, you will instantly hear how just opening or closing your mouth affects the guitar sound. There is no singing required, it is as if the guitar notes you play are replacing the sound your vocal cords normally make. You shape or ‘mime’ the guitar notes, and they go into the microphone through the PA system. That’s all there is to it. Play one of these and you become an instant public spectacle.
If you want to experience this fascinating phenomenon for yourself, play an iPod or CD player, etc. through some decent medium sized headphones really loud. Thick, sustaining music might help. Don’t put them in your ears - Maximum Acoustic shall not be liable for any losses or damages (including without limitation consequential loss or damage) whatsoever from the use of, or reliance on, the information in its website. Now, without singing, stick one of the small speakers up close to your lips and manipulate the sound with your mouth. Same principle, instant talkbox.
Getting back to the day I played one for the first time with the Onlookers, it was fairly easy to play DYFLWD because I already knew the guitar solo from listening to it a million times growing up. That’s the hardest part of playing a talkbox; you still have to play your instrument half decently. Sticking the tube in your mouth and making stupid faces is the easier part.
If you’ve read this far you must really be interested, so check out this site totally dedicated to the Talkbox: http://www.blamepro.com/talkbox.htm
No, I haven’t learned to play “Haitian Divorce” yet, but it’s a real favorite of mine. Feel free to still ask questions.
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