Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Best blues harp in G
Best blues harp in G
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Laurie McVay
2 posts
May 19, 2020
4:43 AM
We all know that harps in G tend to be a drag. Those heavy low reeds can be unresponsive. I'd like to find a good one, Does anyone have any recommendations? I normally use Marine Bands.
3210 posts
May 19, 2020
4:59 AM
I find the G's low end notes to be a cool feature to use in a D song, or Am in 3rd. True they take some work to get flowing smooth. I like MB Deluxe and I have a Suzuki Manji in G that sounds out very well. Also I have a Suzuki SCX48 in G that's great in both 1st and 3rd.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.




962 posts
May 19, 2020
5:25 AM
The Key of G is actually my favorite key, especially amplified.
I would highly recommend the Seydel Session Steel
I own many SS harps, and there all great right out of the box!
Just picked up a D and G.

Last Edited by Harpaholic on May 19, 2020 5:32 AM
63 posts
May 19, 2020
5:39 AM
I play crossovers that I do work on. over the last couple of years I have used my G harp as my carry everywhere practice harp. Before, I felt the same way, but soon I my lungs "got use" to the lower reeds.

Now I love my G harp because I'm starting to appreciate fiddle tunes and of course the G harp is the same range as a fiddle.
786 posts
May 19, 2020
6:32 AM
Buy one of these. https://bluemoonharmonicas.com/collections/rob-paparozzi-custom-big-river
Wisdom does not always come with old age. Sometimes old age arrives alone.
Laurie McVay
3 posts
May 19, 2020
8:32 AM
No 'like' buttons here, so please just accept my thanks. I will follow up your well-informed suggestions.
14 posts
May 19, 2020
3:31 PM
My favorite G harp is a Joe Spiers stage 1 that Sarge gave me. I like the lower harps.
Steve Harvell
256 posts
May 19, 2020
6:01 PM
(G) is one of my favorite keys
to play! I am in love with the Kongsheng "Solist'....sounds so smooth....I have found from teaching that the lower keys take a while for some folks but when you get it a G is the bomb :)
561 posts
May 19, 2020
9:24 PM
I now sometimes use my chromatic, thru the Pa, When
a song is in D especially D minor, it cuts through the mix and its a break away from my amp.

If I play in D on a diatonic, I keep a "High G" in my pocket for when the band gets to loud. I've worked very hard the last few years on holes 6-10. so sometime i play holes 6-10 on a regular G, to help cut through.

try a high G

also try a suzuki promaster---It has a metal comb and more treble. the reeds are also adjusted quite tight and responsive.

When I sit in and I want to use a regular G-I ask the band to come down on my leads. it usually doesn't happen. There "coming down" is still to loud.

I know what u mean though. The problem is the reeds do respond slowly. Thats why playing in a loud band its tough. U tend to blow to hard, to be heard, this ruins the finesse.
6635 posts
May 20, 2020
2:45 AM
I don’t know if there’s a real answer. G harp is a bit more technique sensitive perhaps but i think every key harp kinda has its own character.
its just calibration I guess.

I don’t know if there’s a standout stock model in G
I’d say just go with a harp model you generally like and maybe really get cosy with a G for a while.
I somehow have wound up with a Spiers Stage 2 and you know it’s probably close to being around as good as it gets. It’s a super nice harp but it still is a G harp and doesn’t take kindly to heavy breathing.
I’m not saying you’re at fault or implying anything at all like that, just that’s my experience of G harps in general. I have fought that tendency to play too hard and made progress but still can do better I think.
Now you have me thinking. I’m gonna find my G harps and try them

Ok, that was kinda interesting.
I found 4 without looking too far. The Spiers, a Crossover, Special 20, and a mildly modified Marine Band 1896.

Forget the Spiers, it’s what you’d hope it would be, a benchmark I suppose.
I got that harp to help me work on overblows, then almost immediately went in a different direction. Let’s say it’s still up to the task.
Of the rest, the Special 20 is the weakest. It’s a pretty old harp which I bought 2nd hand. I’d have cleaned it and done basic setup on it but I don’t think I ever put serious attention to it. Had forgotten it existed. It is ok, but I expect better.
The crossover is actually really good. In terms of my capacity to put it to the test it’s actually just as playable as my Spiers harp. I mean, there’s nothing I can play on the custom which I can’t play on the crossover with equal comfort.

My 1896 is probably not quite as tight as the crossover but it’s close. The mod on that is a corian comb, installed around 8 years ago. I think I bought this harp in 2009...or 2008. The reedplates are stamped 07 so that seems about right. Only replaced the comb because of the old problem with swelling.
That’s reminded me; I have an old “Hicksville” Marine Band in G. It’s not in the same league as any of these.

Last Edited by SuperBee on May 20, 2020 3:44 AM
30 posts
May 20, 2020
5:37 AM
My session steel in G arrived this morning sounds great but not really had time to test it yet.

Suzuki Blues Master is good in G for me anyway.
Laurie McVay
4 posts
May 20, 2020
6:12 AM
By now, I have about 15 leads to follow up. Thank you.

Of the obvious candidates, I've never been keen on Hohner Special 20s or Bluesharps. I also much prefer the sound of wooden combs. But I'll think on.
2109 posts
May 20, 2020
8:20 AM
The reeds in the lower octave of regular G harps seem slower to respond to fast runs than other harps, but those same reeds can give you great tone if correctly used. If I am playing cross harp for hyperactive rock or bluegrass runs I use a High G harp.

I have regular pitch G harps in SP20 (a couple), Deak Harp MB, Crossover, Session Steel, Manji, Easttop, Delta Frost, Lee Oskar (a couple). I find that the playability is more a matter of setup than of brand. Custom harps are usually set up better, but a quick gap adjustment can make any harp better.

Of all listed, the Lee Oskar is the most airy, but I could gig with any or all of the above. A leaky reed plate to comb fit will hurt response. From long past experience, a Marine Band can vary widely in how good it sounds OOTB.

Special 20s are fine if properly gapped. Just remember that with the closed cover sides of a Special 20 you are not hearing as much of your harp as you do with open sided covers.

Lately I have decided I prefer closed sided covers for higher pitched keys and open sided covers for lower pitched keys. However, I am not investing to add a lot of different covers just to support this idea. I did switch around some Manji and Olive covers in support of this idea.

Learning to adjust gaps is really important.

Doug S.
2804 posts
May 20, 2020
1:29 PM
I am like several here, my best G is a Special 20 Stage One Spiers. Joe does great work.
But the harp in my kit is a Manji, and I think it is a good candidate.
1 post
May 21, 2020
9:24 AM
One of my favorite harps ever, over the years, was a Special 20 in G. Just the right resistance, etc...Most Gs feel too loose to me.

Last Edited by Lowtone9 on May 21, 2020 9:25 AM
3212 posts
May 21, 2020
3:13 PM
I play either a Manji or a MB Deluxe in diatonic, generally 2nd or 3rd position. I also make good use of the Suzuki SCX48 chromatic in G for both 1st and 3rd position.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.




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