beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Is using variety of harmonicas bad Idea
Is using variety of harmonicas bad Idea
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29 posts
Jan 27, 2018
10:22 PM
I have

Many harmonica

And I am just a beginner , Trying to learn the basic
OK now bending on the above harmonicas is different it needs different mouth shape and force .

My Question : Am I doing a right thing or getting more confused by trying to learn and using all those harmonicas?

I want to find the harmonica type that my heart accepts

Last Edited by Frankie on Mar 19, 2018 3:09 AM
5221 posts
Jan 28, 2018
1:26 AM
I don’t know any harp players who haven’t struggled with this question.
I think eventually you settle. It’s hard to force it. I reckon I spent 4 years sporadically thinking about which harp to commit to. I asked Dave Barrett whether he thought it was better to settle on one type and if I recall correctly he said no doubt it’s better but no big deal.
I thought I committed to play Crossovers and having made the decision I settled down, stopped worrying about it and now play a mix of Crossover, marine band, sp20 and marine band deluxe. Sometimes I pick up a Seydel 1847.
I’d play rockets but don’t have any.
All those harps are interchangeable to me, I barely even register the fact of the type of harp I’m playing if it’s one of those. I do register which actual individual harp it is though. I know each one on a personal basis, except for about 3 A Harps I have, any one of which is as good as another. Actually there may be a few others I don’t discern but I have picked my favourites out for my gig set and backup set so that’s what I play. I have many reserve backups. Mostly the harps which are out of circulation just could use a touch up in some way.
Type of harp: it’s easy to focus on and there ARE some differences which make a difference, depending on what you like and how you play and what you play. But as a beginner still discovering what you like and trying things out, I think you should play a variety of harps. No one agrees on what’s best although we all recognise the harps which are in the running.
Lee Oskar, Hohner MS harps, Suzuki Manji, Olive and the various n-Master types, Seydel 1847 and session steel, the Hohner ‘handmade’ range, the other Suzuki’s, the brass Seydels (soloist, session, favourite etc)
And then some of the Chinese Harps like kongsheng and easttop, maybe even Huang although maybe they’re in a next tier below with the Suzuki folk masters and such.
368 posts
Jan 28, 2018
7:07 AM
I think my first harp was a Hohner Blues Band C, followed shortly by Special 20s to complete a set. Over the early years (only been about 7 or 8 in all), I bought and tried LO and Seydel. I never could discern enough difference to favor them over the SP 20 that I was used to playing. So I concluded that I was wasting time and money and getting distracted from the point, which is getting better at playing. So, like SuperBee, I’ve pretty much locked onto SP 20 and Crossover.
What I think is working for me might not work for you, but I believe getting caught up too early in the search for the perfect harmonica is not helpful. As your skills improve you’ll be better able to judge between them and settle (a good way to put it) on one or two...what your ear likes, what’s comfortable, what you want people to see you carrying :>). Then there’s a whole world of amps, mics, pedals, all kinds of stuff to get mired in.
Phil Pennington
Phil Pennington
84 posts
Jan 28, 2018
7:36 AM
It could get confusing if you have a bunch of different tunings, but if you just want to figure out which harp you like best try this it's what i did. Obviously your willing to spend a few bucks to get what you want, good. Drives me nuts when people complain about harmonicas being expensive, but I'm not going down that road.
So here's what you do, since you have a nice range of harps in different keys, decide what key you like playing most, then get harps from different makers in that key, and don't forget that different models in the same brand can have small differences, a few months ago I did an experiment with three Suzuki harps, a Manji, an Olive and a Firebreath, all in Ab, I had a non player listen, this person is an Audiophile, build his own sterios, speakers ect, a good listener. I played a pattern of notes on each, and tried to keep my playing the same on each.
What he told me was a bit of a surprise, he said that of the three the Firebreath sounded the best, but he thought that the Manji was the one i liked the best, how he knew the Manji was my favorite I don't know and he couldn't explain, but he was right.
While it's more important to focus on learning how to play, building a nice collection of harps can be a bit of fun too. Besides you wont be the only one, every time I start to think I have too many I just watch this vid and buy another harp. Have Fun.
2467 posts
Jan 29, 2018
8:45 AM
I think it's a good idea. So you don't get hung up on one harp and have trouble playing others.

Some say that the diatonic harp isn't one instrument, it's actually a set of at least one for each key, and then some.

When I learnt piano, I remember it was useful to play on as many pianos as possible. That's because you don't carry a piano round with you, you HAVE to use whatever's provided. And deal with each one's oddities.

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Jan 29, 2018 8:45 AM
62 posts
Feb 01, 2018
10:10 AM
My case is a mixture of Hohner , Suzuki , LO , Fender , and now some Easttop harps . I enjoy them all . All have strong and weak points . VERY few listening would ever know the difference I believe . A lot of fun is trying that next harp that will make me sound like a pro ; I know that is never going to happen but I can dream can't I ? I gig four or more times a month and have yet to hear a boo . Could be the next time out though ! :)
39 posts
Feb 02, 2018
10:14 AM
Has any body tried suzuki fabulous ? any can any body point me to where to buy on a reasonable price?
287 posts
Feb 02, 2018
6:22 PM
Haven't tried Fabulous but Rockin Ron has a couple custom built harps with Fabulous reed plates and Andrew Zajac combs for $82.
90 posts
Feb 03, 2018
6:36 AM
I tried one of those with the fabulous reed plates, and to me it didn't sound as good as a stock Manji, which was surprising as I have a few of the harps Ron puts together and they sound good.

I swaped the Fab reed plates with those of a stock Manji of the same key, funny thing I think both harps sound better than they did before, so not a complaint since I have two harps that sound great.

Keep in mind this all splitting hairs.

Rockin Rons prices are usually the same as other harmonica sellers an when you factor in the free shipping, his prices are many time better.

I'd also check out New
And if the cost of a fabulous isn't scaring you try BlueMoon Harmonicas, I just got a Plated Golden Melody with a metal comb from his supply of ready made customs harps, its a better harp than I'am a player.

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