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Favorite harp

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OrthodoxBlues
Jan 22, 2009 6:50 AM GMT
I'm just wondering what harp is your favorite, and why. Although I've played for a long time, I didn't explore much in terms of harp brands and types until very recently. My favorite right now is a Hohner Special 20 modified by Steve Webb. I find that harp not just easy to bend, but easy to modulate in and out of bends, and very fluid in terms of tone. I've got some new and different (for me) harps on order.


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Comments (54)

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Jan 22, 2009 8:24 AM GMT
Kingley Replied:

It's Hohner Marine Band for me. I just love the tone they produce.


Jan 22, 2009 9:58 AM GMT
HARPMAN Replied:

My favorite harp is "LEE OSKAR HARMONICA" and "DELTA FROST".


Jan 22, 2009 1:43 PM GMT
Sarge Replied:

Soul's Voice


Jan 22, 2009 4:30 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

My Brad Harrison MB. Damn thing's alive.

b.


Jan 23, 2009 2:06 AM GMT
Kingobad Replied:

I have a bunch of Suzuki's (promaster and bluesmaster). A Lee Oskar which is ok. A Hohner Blues harp which I do not like. My favorite is a Hohner Big River. After a little modding I can OB the hell out of them and they are very loud and gritty. I never hear anyone say they prefer them, but I do. I'm very anxious to try a Delta Frost however, and maybe someday a Seydel.


Jan 23, 2009 1:28 PM GMT
Shawn R Replied:

I used to prefer "Lee Oskars" as a "Pucker" player, but now I play "Marine Bands". The Shape of the covers works better (for me) as a "Tongue-Block" player. Also the design of the comb brings the reeds closer and I find them to be very responsive.


Jan 23, 2009 3:48 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

too new to know. I have both lee oskar and hohner.. for some reason i mostly practice and carry the hohner sp 20 "C".


Jan 23, 2009 7:07 PM GMT
J.L. Frinks Replied:

I'll second that Mr.Moose--Harrison Harps are the bomb.
Joe Spiers really nice,too.Ben Bouman's Beta Harps are cool.
Waiting on some Buddhas.For stock harp I like M.B. Deluxe


Jan 24, 2009 12:51 AM GMT
Patrick Replied:

Haven't tried custom harps or any other harps past around the $30 range, but out of the delta frost, seydel soloist, bluesharp MS, proharp MS, lee oskar, marine band, and special 20 I'd have to say my favorite is the Special 20, although I love the tone of marine bands.


Jan 24, 2009 1:55 AM GMT
Dan M Replied:

Delta Frost - gives me best results of all of the ones I have bought on this short journey. Have a couple of Special 20's and a Golden Melody I like. Not a Marine Band fan. Have a couple of Suzukis, a Lee Oskar, and a Seydel which are OK. But I am new so what do I know?

Wife took the silly photo - we were watching Blues Brothers movie.

Dan


Jan 24, 2009 5:28 PM GMT
Pat P Replied:

Like the Seydel 1847. Did not like the Seydel 1847 "Silver". I played Suzuki Promasters exclusively for many years. The last 1847 "A" harp I had lasted almost a year before the #4 went south. Also like the Suzuki "Hammond" harps (I don't know why it sounds any different than the Promaster, since it is the same components). Just my $.02.

p


Jan 24, 2009 5:59 PM GMT
Oldwailer Replied:

I guess I'm in a transitional phase on this question. I have gone through many phases. Sometimes I like the DF best--sometimes the SP20--lately it's the MB in low D. Never did care for the LO much, although it is a good, durable harp, it just isn't tuned right for me. The Blues Harp is cool if I work on it enough--and even a Big River can be great and durable as hell if I micro tape it and gap it well.

I haven't even scratched the surface on trying all of them, but lately I've been starting to think that it ain't the harp--it's the tuning that I fall in love with. There isn't enough difference between playing a SP20 or a MB to really matter to me--the MB will be a little less comfortable to play--but sound a hell of a lot better.

So I'm learning to tune them--I just got my Richard Sleigh tool kit yesterday and I have some tuning software on my computer--and I'm starting with crappy harps. I hope to get to where I can tune a DF, for instance, exactly like a well-tuned MB--with the chords that melt my brain--then I might be able to answer the question of "favorite Harp" in less than 500 words--if the harp itself is even the real question--maybe the real question should be "What is your favorite tuning."


Jan 24, 2009 7:50 PM GMT
Kiwi Harper Replied:

I like the Sp20 at the moment because the slightly smaller size seems to work for me better than the newer chunkier MS harps.
My favorite harp is one of the old pre MS Cross harps, the thicker reed plates are nicer than the SP. It was the first harp I really used frequently to practice on so I guess It just works better. As the CH's die I use the gold chrome combs on a new SP and they look nice with the gold/silver, look better in my case with all the new CH's.
I have a dozen or so modern Cross harps but some need working on to loosen them up. Also have Melodys, blues harps, rivers, MB's, L O's and some nice Dannecker hand tune Meisster classes. If you want a cheap hand tuned harp try this guy-

http://www.southx.biz/dannecker/shop.htm

I have a seydel 12 hole limited edition boomerang harp that is to nice to use and are pretty valuable to collectors and a couple of the 1950's Hohner Hoosier boys with the gold cover plates and red/ blue writing. These are the my favorite looking harp.

Fancy trying some Seydels or Dfs, but the Danneckers are to good value to buy anything else.


Jan 24, 2009 10:30 PM GMT
Mike L Replied:

If you haven't tried the Seydel Solist Pro, get one. Not expensive, real tight, great tone. I like my Special 20's, but this is what I buy now.


Jan 28, 2009 9:57 AM GMT
Tim Birdman Replied:

The suzuki bluesmaster is my fave, very airtight,everyone i have brought sounds great right out of the box,


Jan 28, 2009 2:06 PM GMT
Elk River Replied:

My favorite harps are a Low F Seydel Solist I built and a Jason Ricci custom Marine in A.
The F is pretty sweet and I love the growl of the chords. There is no Low F Solist technically, the lowest that model comes in is a G. Joe Spiers actually turned me on to tuning those down, when you take one of those and tune it down (even if you tune it back up) it makes it awesomely responsive, especially if you flat sand the comb.

The Jason Ricci Prewar Marine Band is the most special to me because he made it for me and spent a lot of time on it. That and the response is unreal. Jason made that for me, I think, a year ago, and he continually improves his skill. He rounded the corners so the ends have this half moon shape. he did that by hand, which I know takes forever. When somebody gives you a gift like that, something they made, it's worth more to you than the sum of its parts because there are these intangible components therein. It is a Prewar harmonica, it is a custom harmonica and it plays very well... and... Jason worked all through the night on that one, so there is a day of a man's life in it as well. That makes it a very special thing.


Jan 30, 2009 12:47 AM GMT
AirMojo (Ken H) Replied:

The Seydel 1847's are my favorites now, mainly because they are great right out of the box (at least the ones I have), and the seem to last. I'm pretty easy on harps for the most part, so they should last.

I use to mainly like Lee Oskar's because they lasted along time... earlier ones seemed setup much better than the later ones, which needed some futzen with.

I have some custom Marine bands that are nice from a few different customizers. Rupert Oysler's were the best of them! Bob Meehans's are really good too.

Steve Webb is a friend of mine from the Buckeye Fests. I'm gonna have to try one of his harps.

I use to play Special 20's years ago until Lee Oskars came out. Never bought another Special 20 until a few years ago when I built my AirMojoFied Turbo harp using a S20 Low F. The S20's have improved, since I played 'em.


Jan 30, 2009 6:41 AM GMT
Fredrik H Replied:

My two favourites are my Sjoeberg Custom Marine Band with snake wood comb in A and my Sjoeberg Custom Golden Melody with Snake wood comb in Bb. Also quite fond of a Hering Vintage 1923 in G that I have but that one needs a little bit of modification to become perfect.

/F


Jan 30, 2009 9:49 PM GMT
Hammik Replied:

I haven't played many but my favorite so far is my special 20 Bb. I also like lee oskar but I find that it takes a little more air which makes things difficult when I switch between the 2.
I have a hohner blues harp in G which I love the sound on, but the way that the metal hangs over the mouthpiece rips up my lips after playing for a while.


Feb 03, 2009 10:26 AM GMT
Branislav B Replied:

Although I have 1 MS Meisterklasse and a fewProharps and Blues Harps


+1 for what Kingobad said about sound of Big Rivers. My 2 cent:


- BR are cheap


- with Replacement reedplates you do an upgrade ('though I haven't blown one yet) and


- come in full range of keys(from Low D to F)


Feb 25, 2009 5:29 AM GMT
spud Replied:

Drew.. I'm glad you like that harp. Special 20s are pretty good without any mods, but that particular harp really turned out good. I'm using Sp20s and a couple of Bushman Delta Frosts in the band I'm in. I've tried every kind of harp there is, almost, but keep coming back to those. For some reason, I'm not comfortable with Marine Bands, but have played a couple of Golden Melody harps lately and I might explore that a little further. It all boils down to personal preference and playing style. I have a friend locally who plays hard and was blowing out lots of harps. I made him a set of Delta Frosts and he's still using them after many months of gigging. If we like our harp, we will play it more often and probably better.


Feb 27, 2009 4:32 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Spud, what are your impressions of the Delta Frost compared to the Special 20?


Feb 28, 2009 6:01 PM GMT
Bulldog B Replied:

Ranking all the harps I've owned and liked in the order that I like them: Bushman Delta Frost, Suzuki Hammond, Suzuki Promaster, Suzuki Bluesmaster, Hohner Special 20. The ones that I don't like: Seydel Blues Session (almost impossible to get a note to bend), Lee Oskar (it seems to have been set up specifically for Lee, and to get it to play right you have to learn to play like him), and the worst of all, Hohner Cross Harp (I would have to grow a 3rd lung to have enough wind power to play it).


Feb 28, 2009 11:37 PM GMT
Kingobad Replied:

I finally tried and LOVE the Delta Frost. It is now my favorite harp. Only one problem... since my last post of my favorite Big Rivers (which I still love) I find the responsiveness of the Delta Frost problematic. My vibrato was just starting to get meaningfull on my 3 hole draw bends (1/2 and full step bend w/vibrato). I found that the hard pull it took to do this on my Big River was WAY too hard for the Delta Frost. It is like strengthening your biceps when alll you need is your forearm muscles. Now my chops need rearranging because of my newly found favorite harp. I love to romp around on the Big Rivers as the use of that much breath is rewarding. However, the tone and responsiveness of the Delta Frost (not to mention the less than 5 min setup for OBs) have won me over and I feel a new set will be worth it.


Mar 14, 2009 1:25 PM GMT
HarpDog Replied:

Special 20s are my main choice, but I've been falling in love with the Marine Band Deluxe of late.


Mar 14, 2009 2:20 PM GMT
John P Replied:

i LOVE my Suzuki Hammonds. I have 13 in myperformingset. Metal comb, painted coverplates, ET tuning. Dark, thick tone that amplifies well. Very even tone hole to hole andacrossthe registers. Highcompressionand veryresponsive. Greatinstruments.

The spare set i carry are Suzuki Firebreaths (sealed rosewood combs). Also excellent instruments and maybe a little moreversatilethan the Hammonds. They are supposedly easier to overblow (I don't OB) because rhey have a longer reed profile. But I like Hammonds better for amplified tone and I'm an electric player.

Now, Suzukis have slightly smaller holes than most other harps, which takes a little getting used to. But these are without question the best harps i've ever used. Noteveryonelikes ET tuning, but i prefer it for my style of play.


Mar 14, 2009 2:37 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

I love Golden Melody and Special 20 customized by my. I want to try harmonicas from other customisers. Fast response, overblow/draw easy and stable, loud and great at all.

I can't understand why so many people loves marine band and seydel 1847. MB is unplayable for me before costomizing (hardly overblow), and uncomfortable after (swelling comb), 1847 is ok before customizing (much better than other stock harps), but it hardly gets better after arcing and gapping, as overblows squeeze, reeds need waxing, response is not enough fast for my fast playing.


Mar 14, 2009 9:56 PM GMT
John P Replied:

I don't understand the love affair some people havewiththe Marine Band, either. I find them unplayable and extremely uncomfortable, too. So many other harmonicas are so much nicer. Go figure.


Mar 15, 2009 7:06 AM GMT
shaunh Replied:

I bought a Suzuki Hammond H20, about 4 weeks ago. I've only been learning for just under a year but this is the easiest and nicest sounding harp I've bought. Only problem is that their price has almost doubled in the last couple of months. I was lucky and got one at the old price. Shaun (UK)


Mar 17, 2009 5:27 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Kingobad, the slot tolerances on the Delta Frost is tighter which means you need to use less breath force. If anything, learning to use much less breath force will work out better in the long run for agility, tone, as well as overall control, plus the added benefits financially of not blowing out harps so fast and allowing them to last longer. With any brand/manufacturer/custom harp, you do need to make adjustments, most of them being subtle.


Mar 18, 2009 5:52 AM GMT
Tony W Replied:

A response to John P, I here ya bro. I just don't get it. To this beginner/maybe intermediate player, I cannot make those MB deelies do squat except hit the garbage can.

Tony


Mar 18, 2009 2:38 PM GMT
Arnoud D Replied:

My best harps are two seydel 1847 "Betaharps" (in the key of C & A) customized by Ben Bouman.

I also like the Hohner Special 20 ; Golden melody; and Solist Pro from Seydel.

For Irish tunes I us a Suzuki mr 'valved' in Paddy tuning (D)


Mar 19, 2009 4:02 AM GMT
spud Replied:

Drew.. I don't think I answered your post about comparing SP20 and Delta Frost. I think both are very good harps right out of the box. The Delta Frosts seem to have stiffer reeds and they do play a little different. I am currently using 3 of them on a regular basis. My DF 'A' is my favorite harp. I have always had problems getting a D harp that I like, and after a lot of adjusting, I'm using the DF. I also use a C DF, but it's starting to go a little out of tune. I still think SP 20s are the best out-of-the box harp, at least for the way I play. You would probably notice that you have to adjust your playing style a little for each one, but they are similar enough that it's no big deal. The SP20s are not as "crisp" sounding, in my opinion, which can be a good thing. The DF's are a little too "bitey" sometimes.

Steve


May 11, 2009 9:08 AM GMT
Bart L Replied:

I tried many many serial diatonic models from Tombo, Suzuki, Hohner, Hering, Bushman.

I played Golden Melody mostly, but equal tuning is not too good for chords.

2 years ago I found SEYDEL 1847 Classic. It's my very favorite harp!!!

Why?!

+ very long life (stainless steel reeds)

+ compromized tuning (I play many kinds of music)

+ great for overbending (I prepare gaps by myself)

+ amazing wood comb (lips friendly, moisture-proof, swelling-free)

+ very LOUD and really rich tone

+ great cover's profile

+ many different keys

+ give me a lot of inspirations !!! :o)

Everyone have to find favorite model for yourself. I found one, the best for me 1847 Classic from SEYDEL!


Jul 02, 2009 4:41 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

I have only been playing for maybe 2-3 weeks(could be less.Time has been passing strangely lately) and I started out with some used Special 20 MB and a couple Lee Oskars.

From what I can tell they are in tune and the reeds are not blown out. I like the tone of those.

However,today I bought another used Harp,yes another used one, from a harp player who plays in a small local cover band.

I Golden Melody.He got it from a band member as a gift and didn`t like the shape and how it felt in his hands so he sold it to me for a mere $15 bucks.

Spotless inside and out.In tune and the reeds are fine.

I played a few notes on it and played what I knew,some bends and such and it had my heart right then and there.


Jul 02, 2009 6:21 AM GMT
Ricardo Replied:

I like my Hering 'Delta Blues'in C, Suzuki 'Fire Breath' in C, Tombo Low F, Hohner 'Proharp; in Bb, Hohner 'ProHarp' in A,


Jan 14, 2010 5:23 PM GMT
skullShaker Replied:

Love my Lee Oskars



Jan 15, 2010 2:57 PM GMT
Andrew T Replied:

Special 20s really ARE the most smooth bending harps I have ever played. You're definitely on to something there! I still think Marine Bands boast undeniably intense tone. What an amazing sound! It's just too bad their manufactured so inconsistently in terms of tuning, leakiness and overall construction. I'm going to learn to set them up and seal them up, tune them, and seal them. Then my answer to your question will be(like most players in the world),1896 Hohner Marine Band.



Jan 15, 2010 3:00 PM GMT
Andrew T Replied:

Yeah I'm hearing more and moreinthis forumabout Delta Frost harps. I'd like to get more players' take onDelta Frost. Are they good? What stands out about them? How are they priced? Where are they available?



Jan 16, 2010 2:26 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Andrew --

I bought my Bushman Delta Frost directly from the manufacturer (www.bushmanharmonicas.com) if I recall correctly. It seemed to be a better-made harmonica than the Hohners, but I'm afraid that I've played Special 20s for so long that they just always feel right to me. The Bushman has good bends and a nice full sound.



Jan 17, 2010 7:19 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

This is good, almost a year later and my brand has changed.

I wrote

Jan 23, 2009 11:48 AM
blueyesReplied:

too new to know. I have both lee oskar and hohner.. for some reason i mostly practice and carry the hohner sp 20 "C".

This has all changed. My hohner sp 20 was lost attempted at gapping and opening up the back. I dont use the Lee Oskar any more, for some reaon I don't care for the sound or the light weight. this is just me.

My carry around harp has become the Turbo harp in "C" The reason is simple because it comes in its own hard case. My every day ( right ) is the Suzuki MR 350 i love the sound and the heavy feel of it. it would be nice if other would post from a year ago and see if things have changed.

lets see what happens in a year.

abner (BluEyes, change is inevitable )




Jan 21, 2010 9:04 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

2Andrew T

Do you try some custom harps? Most stock harps seems to be almost unplayable when you get used to customised harmonicas. This is the place with really smooth bends and overbends.



Jan 28, 2010 12:40 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Just saw my initial reply here was 7 months ago. Seems i`ve been playing longer.

Since my last reply I have become a full time Golden Melody player and have barely touched my Special 20s and the one Lee Oskar I have. I am supposed to be trading them to someone for a mic.

My first Golden Melody was a C and I have since added an A,G and D. I have to say the G is my favorite now.



Jan 30, 2010 7:26 PM GMT
Carl M Replied:

Would some one please explain what a beta harp is ,and what the difference is to a regular harp,advantages???..Carl


flyinga40


Jan 30, 2010 7:30 PM GMT
Carl M Replied:

I like to play single note using tongue blocking and also play cross harp,Can some one tell me if the new Manji by suzuki would be a good choise for a combo of both styles??Carl


flyinga40


Jan 31, 2010 5:55 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Carl

Beta harp in 1847 seydel (with steel reeds) customized by Ben Bouman. I dislike 1847 no matter customized or not and I don't want to buy one for myself. However I have some specific playing style that this harps don't fit. So you can try them, it very possible that you'll like them, look at the websitehttp://www.beta-harps.com/



Jan 31, 2010 6:07 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Carl

Taste for harmonicas and fitting to your style is so personal thing. I'm trying to buy almost all stock harmonica models and look for advantages and disadvantages for my style. I use tongue blocking, overblow, overdraw, fast playing, 12th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and sometimes 5th position, i'm working on 12 key playing (still not all keys) and I have a lot of demands to harmonica quality. As I mention earlier there are two models I actually like. It's Hohner Special 20 and Golden Melody (i customize them hard). Any other hohner models have some diadvantages for me, the main disadvantage for hering is reeds blows out too often, regular seydels too, seydel 1847 has good but slow response, old suzuki and tombo squeezes at overbends etc... So I just almost happy with my GM and Special 20.

I didn't try suzuki manji and brazilian bends harmonicas yet. It's possible, I'll enjoy one of them. And if I enjoy one of them over GM and Sp20 I'll gonna buy them more.

Main idea of my comments is harmonicas are not too expensive (cheaper than amps and mics!) to just buy and try and decide are you like this model or not.



Jan 31, 2010 8:19 AM GMT
HarpSkunk Replied:

Have been playing for a few years now and find I use only Suzuki Overdrive for stage work and Promaster for practice, once I got used to the 'vents' on the Overdrive I found them to be the most responsive. I also like the Golden Melody (most have been great out of the box) and I have a few misc. Hohners and Seydels and Lee Oscars which are confortable at first play. I like the sound of the 12 and 14 hole Marine Bands but can't seem to get used to the differing quality of the bend reeds and the Steve Baker Special MB is a little too temperamental for stage work though it is great to play around with. Quality though, in 3 years my Suzukis have not had a reed go out or even de-tune and they are loud enough too!



Jan 31, 2010 3:38 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

HarpSkunk
Are you using coverplates vents of your suzuki overdrive? I never try overdrive, as I use regular overbends and I don’t need for such advantages as additional valves. I’ve heard some players use overdrive with another coverplates (from ProMaster or Hering) and they like them very much.



Feb 01, 2010 2:02 AM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

I hope this one goes thru. It seems im still haveing the problems with post's and comments getting lost or cut out.

Big Daddy Ray, I was wondering after 7 months how your doing playing wise. What has changed besides your choice of harps. same as me started out with Lee Oskar and Hohner SP 20 and now enjoy Suzuki.

What got your over any humps, things like that. Me I had a right knee replaced and just having a very hard time getting back into it.

abner (BluEyes, back in the saddle again.)



Feb 01, 2010 2:44 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

I think that understanding reeds before I even started playing helped. I understood harmonica reeds were little slivers of thin metal which could be fragile if bent too much/too hard. So I started out the proper way by using as little breath as needed and didn`t just start off blowing them with the force of a good cough or like I was trying to blow the reeds out the back side of the harmonica.

This being said I think that is what has helped me be able to get things easier. All humps I have are gotten over by practice.That`s the only way to get over them.

I also have to credit Jason, Adam, Chris and some others for their Youtube video tutorials.

However,,,,due to tooth issues and getting a root canal which took 4 visits itself kept me from playing for over 2 months. Mostly due to how long the process took but partly due to me being parnoid after the root canal was finished and I had a new crown. I was so worried the crown might come loose because at first even a puff on a cigarette can possibly make it come off.

The main reason I ended up liking GM over the MB is I liked how the GM felt in my hand more.

I am now at the point where I am confident to start doing some of my own basic reed work and I may open the back of one of my GMs soon. If I mess that up the worst that can happen is I would need to buy another set of covers.



Feb 01, 2010 3:20 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

I was playing for 5 years when I finally stopped with my models of choice. I started with Hohner MS, play hard (as any beginner) thanwent to cheap silverstar (not to spend too much fi harp is broken), than some enjoing of suzuki and lee oskars and now for last four years it's GM and Sp20 I'm almost happy. I seeking for anything tht can be better. I'm worried about Manji and B-Radical. It's normally I think, you have not to stick to particular model from thebeginning.



Feb 01, 2010 8:52 AM GMT
HarpSkunk Replied:

Boris, I keep the original cover plates on the Overdrive once you get used to them it is much more reliable than valves and just a small push will bend your note all over the place, they are really flexible I play blues by choice but the guys I play with play some jazz tunes and 3rd position sounds great with the Overdrive.




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