The H-Clamp is a novel extension of traditional instrument maker's clamps which can attach a short boom, and hence a microphone, to the majority of stringed instruments. The range uses aerospace-class materials and manufacturing techniques to provide a rigid mounting for microphones up to 500g in weight and beyond, without damage and without impairing the tonal quality of the instrument. The microphones are not only useful for picking up the sound from the instrument. With appropriate positioning, a vocal microphone can also be mounted on, say, a guitar, offering a new degree of freedom during a live performance.
Stringed instrument makers, obviously, have a need to clamp the edges of the sound box while the glue sets. The clamps (or, technically speaking 'cramps', as in 'sash-cramps') must hold the parts together extremely tightly, without damage to the materials. Exploraudio, after many trials (and, no doubt tribulations...Ed.) have developed a variation on this. A short boom is mounted on a modern version of the traditional cramp, with a sliding and pivoting joint adjusted by a single thumbscrew.
The clamp consists of two discs, with embedded nitrile rings to cushion and protect, which are drawn together by a thumbscrew to acquire an extremely tenacious grip in the edge of the instrument, where it is strongest. The boom has a standard 3/8 inch thread for attaching microphone clips or shock mounts, not included, to suit the chosen transducer.
The discs of the Light versions are machined from black acetal plastic, an aerospace-grade polymer, appropriate for use where added weight might alter the balance of the instrument, particularly when using miniature microphones on lightweight instruments. The metal shafts, booms and boom clamps are either black or silver.
The Spirit versions have discs machined from aluminium, anodised in a variety of colours. Shafts, booms and adjusting screws are clear anodised. Slightly heavier, they are more appropriate where larger microphones are used or when, for example, on stage, visual style and impact is desired. The minor increase in weight is unlikely to affect the balance of an instrument but more care is needed when throwing it into a kit bag to avoid damaging other equipment.
Other than the materials and finish, all the models are essentially the same, apart from differing in the length of the shaft which holds the two discs together. Single-shaft models are intended for use by a user who has a particular instrument type. Multiple shaft models, which can be used singly or in combination, are intended for use on a variety of instruments and may be more appropriate for purchase by studios or sound rental companies.
The range may seem a little complicated but the shaft lengths have been optimised to make it simple for those using 'standard' instruments, more than 90% of guitar, cello and bass instruments, while also allowing a seamless adjustment range from the smallest instruments for which the H-clamp is a practical proposition to beyond the largest double bass. Hence, the product range covers all relevant instruments but has standard models for the majority of guitar, cello and double bass players.
LiveMount Mini - Adjusts 43-76mm
With a single shaft, this suits electric guitars, mandolas and many banjos, ukuleles and mandolins.
LiveGuitar- Adjusts 84-116mm
With a single shaft, this is intended to fit standard acoustic guitars.
LiveGuitar Plus - Adjusts 52-228mm
Supplied with three shafts, this fits a wider range of instruments, from extra-thin acoustic guitars to the largest acoustic bass guitar and even most double basses.
LiveCello - Adjusts 114-144mm
This will fit the majority of cellos. It is supplied with a single shaft.
LiveBass - Adjusts 198-228mm
The majority of double bass instruments should be accommodated by this single-shaft version.
LiveBass Plus - Adjusts 195-258mm, also 84-144mm with included shafts
This is aimed specifically at double-bass players who may want to play oversize basses, but has the added attraction of also fitting smaller instruments, so may be suitable for use by studios or sound crews rather than individual musicians. Three shafts are supplied, which may be used singly or in combination, to fit instruments from standard guitars to 'beyond any bass known to exist'.
This package contains all four shafts necessary to cover the entire adjustment range for all H-clamp versions, from the narrowest LiveMount Mini to 20mm more than the longest LiveBass plus. It's ideal for any sound technician who may be faced with a range of difficult instrument or vocalist applications both in the studio and on location, where it can even be used for attaching microphones to furniture, beams and flat pillars or columns.
Writer's note: This short description, necessarily, cannot explain the attention to detail, finish and sheer design excellence of these products. The term 'clamp' does the product insufficient justice. It is not Canford's practice to endorse products, but the sample in front of the writer of this entry, having tried it on a real guitar, tempts him to do just that.