Advice?

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Postby kingley » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:09 pm

T-Bone,

Lee Oskars are great harps. I played them for years.
But now Hohner have the Marine Band Deluxe. It's a little more expensive than most harps, but in my opinion it's the best harp, except for custom built harps I have ever played and well worth the money.

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Postby jeffl » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:26 pm

It's always a matter of personal preference. I used to play LOs all the time,and then I jus' fell in love with SP20s. Part of my preference for the 20s was jus' how they felt to me: the heft and shape. I hardly ever blow harps up anymore,so I never looked elsewhere in search of more durability. I rotate my harps,so I have 3 or 4 in each of the keys that I play alot in. It's difficult to tell how durable they are when yer rotating 30-35 harps thru yer case. I try to break 'em in with patience,and don't play new ones too much at first. when I first started playin' LOs,they seemed to be looser at first than the Marine Bands I had been usin',and seemed easier to bend.
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Postby t bone bruce » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:28 pm

I've been tempted by the idea of getting the Marine Band Deluxe, I played a custom Marine Band by Wes Weston, and it was exceptionally sweet. I've been put off wooden body harps by my early experiences with the old style blues harp and marine bands with unsealed combs. Feels like playing a saw. But I'd give a new marine band deluxe a try...It might have to wait a while though!
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Postby bosco » Sat Jun 03, 2006 1:28 pm

Am I in a minority here? - I love my LO's, and have a full set

Little Mickey is way off base by calling Oskars crap. He may not like them, but he is exposing his inexperience by making such a statement. Oskar makes a quality, durable harp that is easy to play and bend. I own several but just never cared for the tuning.

The Hohner Golden Melody is EQUAL tuned as well. They have a great ergonomic shape. I own several of those but only use them as backups.

Some people say they can't hear the difference in tunings. If you play as much as I do...over 30 years...practice weekly....in a band that gigs weekly, you'll be able to hear it. EQUAL tuned harps are better suited to single note runs (as Bubba alluded to Lee's WAR days) and JUST tuned harps chord better which translates into smoother comping and octave playing for blues.

The tuning difference is subtle to be sure, much like the tonal differences of plastic vs wooden combs, but it is there.

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Postby Little Mickey » Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:03 pm

Bosco's right- I was out of line calling Oskies crap- truth be told, they're the main harp I play at the moment, I just find them too loose for my taste, and the bottom reeds blew out really quick on them, altough that may just have been me not treating 'em right. Anyhoo, I'm not the only person who thinks LO's are sub-par. Ask around, you'll find a lot of people (or at least I did, maybe I move in the wrong crowds) who don't like them either.

If I had money this wouldn't be an issue, I could just buy a full set of Sp20s and be done with it...
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Postby Little Mickey » Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:09 pm

bosco wrote:Lee Oskars, by the way, are branded as 'beginner' harps, because the reeds are tuned slightly sharp to compensate for accidental bending, so I no longer take the 'they're for beginners' argument into account.

That's not true.

Oskars are tuned to EQUAL tuning, which means that the individual notes will be in tune with other instruments, for example a piano tuned to 440 pitch.


Johnny Mars has lied to me! On Bluesweek he went on for ages about how Lee oskars were tuned slightly sharp to compensate for accidental bending by inexperienced players. Oh well, guess you can't believe everything you hear (he did spend most of the week trying to sell us his own brand of harps- which it turns out are pretty darn good! Although I'm not sure if they're available yet...)
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Postby jeffl » Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:22 pm

Little Mickey wrote:
bosco wrote:Lee Oskars, by the way, are branded as 'beginner' harps, because the reeds are tuned slightly sharp to compensate for accidental bending, so I no longer take the 'they're for beginners' argument into account.

That's not true.

Oskars are tuned to EQUAL tuning, which means that the individual notes will be in tune with other instruments, for example a piano tuned to 440 pitch.


Johnny Mars has lied to me! On Bluesweek he went on for ages about how Lee oskars were tuned slightly sharp to compensate for accidental bending by inexperienced players. Oh well, guess you can't believe everything you hear (he did spend most of the week trying to sell us his own brand of harps- which it turns out are pretty darn good! Although I'm not sure if they're available yet...)
Equal tuning can have a sharp sound to the ears. I was told once that they were actually tuned to A441. They do have a brighter sound,and can be used thusly to keep non-blues crowds from fallin' to sleep on ya' if yer not playin' a buncha dance tunes. Maybe one of yuse guys knows the truth here,but I think LOs were on of the first,if not THE first, popular priced harp to have replaceable reed sets. Another feature of harps that affects my choices is whether or not the cover plates have supports on 'em,to keep 'em from cavin' in on the reed plate. When playin' mic'ed,I don't squeeze harps very hard,but when playin' acoustically,without cuppin' a mic,I tend to squeeze 'em too much; I've caved in all my Marine Bands doin' this,so I like the harps with lower supports or braces.
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Postby bosco » Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:01 am

I feel your pain Bubba...

Back in the 70's I caved in all of my Marine Bands and Blues Harps by sticking them in my back pocket and then parkin' my stoned ass wherever was convenient!

Before harp cases, before sensibility, before common sense...

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Postby zarleno » Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:07 am

I bought a set of Hohner Piedmont Blues harps, mainly for the case. As some have speculated, they are indeed made in China, as is indicated by stamped text on the lower cover plate. I have played a variety of Hohner harps, including Special 20s, Blues Harp, and Pro Harp, as well as Hering 1923s, a Lee Oskar, and a few Delta Frosts. Each has its own set of attirbutes. The Piedmonts, however. are not comparable to any of them. They are about half the weight of a Sp 20 and have thin plastic covers. While most of the holes on the set I purchased play, they are muffled and it is like wrapping a harmonica in an old t-shirt and then tyring to play it. Also, I frequently get a whistle when I bend. I'm happy with the case, but you should know before you buy that you will get what you pay for.
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Postby watertore » Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:01 am

zarleno wrote:I bought a set of Hohner Piedmont Blues harps, mainly for the case. As some have speculated, they are indeed made in China, as is indicated by stamped text on the lower cover plate. I have played a variety of Hohner harps, including Special 20s, Blues Harp, and Pro Harp, as well as Hering 1923s, a Lee Oskar, and a few Delta Frosts. Each has its own set of attirbutes. The Piedmonts, however. are not comparable to any of them. They are about half the weight of a Sp 20 and have thin plastic covers. While most of the holes on the set I purchased play, they are muffled and it is like wrapping a harmonica in an old t-shirt and then tyring to play it. Also, I frequently get a whistle when I bend. I'm happy with the case, but you should know before you buy that you will get what you pay for.


that is what I am talking about! Walter
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Postby bosco » Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:09 pm

and what I'm talking about...

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Advice.

Postby qtheblues » Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:46 pm

I refer you to the first reply to this post, and my first sentance.

BUT.....it has been a provoking and entertaining topic, and for that, I thank you, Mickey.

Whilst we're on the subject of what not to waste your money on, just to say that over a period of two years I spent a small fortune on Suzuki ProMaster harps, and it was just like throwing money down the drain. The sound was good, but they didn't last at all. Thin, far-East reeds that weren't good for more than 2 recording sessions or 3 gigs (and no, I don't over-blow my harps). Pity, I really liked the solid aluminium combs.......
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Postby Little Mickey » Mon Jun 05, 2006 7:58 pm

Well, at least it gave people something to talk about...

I found a Folkmaster in my draw today, man that thing is awful.
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Postby orb mellon » Tue Jun 06, 2006 1:40 am

With all due respect to Mr. Tore, who I think is a brilliant artist, I have to say I feel the Bushman Delta Frost is one of the the best harps out there. I've played MBs, Sp20s, Big Rivers, Hering Vintages, Lee Oskars. IMHO the Delta Frost blows them away with the SP 20 coming in a close second. Now of course, I'm into plastic combs. To me they are real easy on a neck rack.

If you want to hear an unamplified Delta Frost on a neck rack played by me, and I'm no Little Walter mind you, check out http://www.myspace.com/orbmellon or http://www.soundclick.com/orbmellon. All the harp you hear on those tunes are Delta Frosts played acoustic into a cheap large diaphram condenser mic. You can decide for yourself.
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Postby 601blues » Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:07 am

:? You guys will kick muh butt!! but I like my delta frost as well,
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