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Just bought a Beta-harp

Back to the Gear Room

Jun 10, 2009 9:44 PM GMT

Anybody else got one? What do you think? With the greatest respect for Ben Bouman's expertise and dedication, if that's the best a Seydel 1847 can get I'd rather have bought six Hohners and set them up myself. This isn't buyer's remorse - but I won't be playing it, if anybody wants to make an offer..!

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Comments (9)

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Jun 11, 2009 1:34 AM GMT
Zack P Replied:

Maybe you should send it to Chris Michalek? He works on Seydel's, he could help you out. There is his e-mail. I've heard LOTS of good about his harmonicas, and I know he's done stuff for Rupert Oysler.

Jun 11, 2009 10:37 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

1847 seems to me very close in feel with Big River MS (((: Wide reeds, overblow is hard, squeeze. Reeds need wax to avoid it. I have two 1847 (G and Bb) and dislike both although I customized both hard (embossing, arking, gaping, waxing). My custom Golden Melodys and Special 20s response and sounds much better.

My opinion is 1847 are good for hard blues playing with occasionally overblows, but not enough good for fast jazz/classical players.

Jun 11, 2009 7:56 PM GMT
blogward Replied:

I'll probably wait until the shock of the cost of it has worn off and take it to bits for a look. He's managed to eliminate the usual Seydel reed squeak on overblow hole 6 and made overblow 5 on a descending scale reliable, but that's about it. No hole 1 overblow, no overdraws on 8, 9 or 10, which I can get on all my GMs no trouble. And to me, all the Seydels I've owned seem out of tune - it can't just be the difference between equal temperament and justified tuning - not chords, but single notes seem off. Whatever, the difference between the Seydel and a well set-up GM (by me) is not worth that much money. Twice the cost of an XB-40, for that matter. Rant ends.

Jun 12, 2009 5:59 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

I can overdraw my custom 1847s, but feel uncomfortable, and the sounds not half as good as my GMs.

Jun 12, 2009 6:37 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Squeaking on overblows on all stock harps is not uncommon and takes a ton of work to eliminate and that's whysome customizers won't do overblow harps. Just tuned harps are going to have certain notes tuned either sharp or flat so that you get a good, smooth sounding chord, and it sounds like you're clearly used to playing equal tuned harps, which totally favors single notes.

Jun 14, 2009 9:50 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Squeaking on overblows is easy to fix by proper arking. I rare have a squeezes at GM's and Sp20, sometimes overdrow, but waxing helps.

Allmost all reeds on hohner MS and 1847 need wax, to awoid sqeueeze.

Jun 15, 2009 4:34 PM GMT
blogward Replied:

All the unmodded Seydels I ever bought invariably have a bad squeak on 6OB, and waxing isn't enough, they need varnish spots or whatever. A little bit of wax usually cures the GMs.

@BBQBob - I specifically told Ben that I wanted it tuned for single note playing; it still 'sounds' out to me. Anyway I've Paddy tuned it now:)

Jul 02, 2009 2:17 PM GMT
Bruce W Replied:

I've a Beta in D and have no problems. I play mainly 1847's however l have other harps I like to play as well. I played the old Blues Harp for years and the SP20. I have come to like the 1847. Have you spoken to Ben about your problem? I am sure he will repair any problems you have. Give him a shout.


Jul 05, 2009 12:04 AM GMT
blogward Replied:

@Bruce - I wouldn't say the Beta-harp is problematic, just not as good as I can achieve with any Hohner myself, literally for a fraction of the cost. From the hype (I'm talking about you, Christelle and others:)), I thought it would be a revelation. It's OK, that's all, and still has the inherent Seydel weedy reed issues. The best I can say about it is that the top octave is very slightly more mellow and reliable than a Hohner, but by no means enough to make it a regular harp for me.

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