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Suzuki HarpMaster vs Turbo Twenty vs Lee Oskar.

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Darrell H
Nov 09, 2010 4:28 AM GMT

Trying to figure out which way to go here. I have a Special 20 in Bb that I just put TurboLids on, verdict is still out on weather I like it or not. Had to modify my hold because it's so much longer then normal but it does cup and mute nicely and it's nice not to have screws on the cover plates. Guess I'll have to sleep on it. I also have a HarpMaster in C that I really like. I want to pick up a G,A and D to replace the set of Big Rivers that I just sold. I sold them because I wanted something a bit "higher end" but I'm not sure what. I've read a bunch of great things about Lee Oskar harps. I'm thinking that maybe I should give them a try then when funds allow get a Bb and C so I'd have a basic set of LO's to play.

So, between the HarpMaster, Lee Oskar and Special 20 w/TurboLids which do ya'll like better and why?

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Nov 09, 2010 4:16 PM GMT
AirMojo (Ken H) Replied:

My experience is that you can get any 2 same brand harps, even the same key, and they may play differently, mainly due to gapping, and air tightness. So you really need to be able to do this any harp. If it plays great out of the box, all the better !

I have a few Special 20's in Turbolids, but they are all low keyed (Low F, Low Eb, Low E), and I really like them ! I didn't have to set these up at all, so maybe I just got lucky, but I think I ordered them along with the Turbo Lids, so maybe they were hand picked or tweaked. I think they are comfortable to play and more mustache/beard friendly than any other harp out there.

I use to buy nothing but Lee Oskars when they first came out in the early '80s because Special 20's sucked back then, and the Lee Oskars played great and lasted a long time. Some of the later ones that I bought (in the past 8 years) needed more tweaking and gapping to get them to play properly.

I have a bunch of Lee Oskar alternate tunings (Natural Minor, Harmonica Minor, and Melody Makers). But again, I bought these years ago before other companies like Seydel started to offer them. I also like the Lee Oskars for getting Paddy Richters and Country Tuning harps by switching reed plates on the Melody Maker and regular major (richter-tuned) harps.

I only have one Harpmaster and that's a PowerBender from Brendan Power. It seems like a real nice harp, but I haven't played it alot yet. Not sure if I can get use to this tuning without screwing up my playing on regular richter-tuned harps. I plan on spending more time with it when I get a chance.

I mainly play the regular wood-combed Seydel 1847's. I think they play great, for what I do (not much of an overblower yet, although I can get them on these). The Seydel Blues Sessions are nice too.

When I go to a harmonica festival/convention, I always try to get a few new brands to try.

The Hohner Crossover is real nice, and the Suzuk Manji's are really nice too. But I haven't played them long enough to see how long they last. I'm pretty easy on my harps, so they don't blow out very often.

I have a full set of the 1847's and some extras, and haven't had any problems with them.. some I have had since they first came out a few years ago. I like 'em best !

A harp playing friend of mine always goes back to Special 20's after trying other harps (I've gotten alot of reject harps from him (they played fine to me), and some extra 1847's for a good price).

I suggest you try one or two (whatever harp) in your favorite keys... or maybe to fill in some missing keys... I think you get a better feel for a harp if its a favorite key (mine are A, Bb, and G).

If you don't like them, you can try re-tuning them to some alternate tuning to play around with.

Nov 10, 2010 3:39 PM GMT
Darrell H Replied:

I just went with the Turbo Twenty harps from TurboHarp. Special 20's seem like pretty decent harps and with the "cash for clunkers" rebate the price was right. I appreciate the reply, lots of good info. The Lee Oskars were tempting but in the end I figured it'd be a safe bet going with the Special 20 bassed harp since I have one and like it quite a bit. TurboLids took a little getting use to but now that I'm more use to them I really like em' a lot. Talk to ya' later.

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