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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Suzuki Olive
Suzuki Olive
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7 posts
Mar 15, 2022
8:40 AM
I would like to try a Suzuki Olive. It's not very easy to find that model in Argentina and many harp luthiers doesn't work with soldered reeds here-

Is a good harp? Does it worth a try?

Thanks in advance.
1560 posts
Mar 15, 2022
10:33 AM
The Olive is a very good harmonica. It has the same reed plates as the Manji but it has full length covers like the ProMaster. Very comfortable to play. The Manji was developed my Suzuki to compete directly with the Marine Band. The reeds are slightly longer and narrower than the reeds on the ProMaster. In theory, the longer more flexible reeds are easier to bend. I have no arguement against that. It is a good harp. Generally, if/when a reed goes bad on a Suzuki reed plate with welded reeds, most harp techs will fasten a replacement reed via a screw. If you don't have or can't find Manji reeds, you can substitute Hohner reeds.
8 posts
Mar 15, 2022
10:35 AM
Thank you so much.
286 posts
Mar 15, 2022
10:50 PM
If you are playing acoustic the Olive is good. For amplified playing I prefer the Manji with the open covers.
2293 posts
Mar 16, 2022
6:23 AM
I like the Manji and Olive for their durability as well as their being good harps. The phosphor bronze reeds seem to be able to survive more occasions of excited hard playing than the Hohner brass reeds. While it is best to maintain breath control, I admit that on loud stages or if I get excited I sometimes abuse harps by pushing too much air. Initially there seems to be a different attack needed for first octave draw bends than with the Hohner SP20 and Marine Band series, but if you play Manjis and Olives for a while, you adapt to the needs of the harp.

My personal preference is using the Olive with closed full covers on higher pitched keys of harp and the open Manji covers on lower pitched harps.

The Hohners seem to offer me more nuanced playing with less breath force. I also like the Hohner compromise tuning better for 2nd position playing than the Suzuki compromise.

The Olive and Manji are good harps. I carry a mix of brands and choose to play the harp that seems best at the time.

Doug S.
John M G
456 posts
Mar 20, 2022
5:10 AM
I am just about all Suzuki harmonicas. I have Manjis, Hammonds, Promasters and also Olives.
I like the Olives the least. They have a plastic comb and the 3 I have seem less airtight.
I won't buy any more of them, I was quite disappointed compared to the other models I mentioned.
The value harmonica are the promaster and hammond harps which come with an alloy reed plate.
2294 posts
Mar 20, 2022
8:48 AM
@John M G
I have not found any difference in comb performance between the Manji and the Olive. The Olive comb is colored black, the Manji is colored tan, more like wood.

A check on Rockin' Ron's site found that Suzuki describes the Olive as having a "Hybrid Wood-Resin Comb", not a plastic comb. The Manji has a resin and wood comb, too.

For me, the closed covers create the main noticeable difference in sound between the two harps. That is why for more shrill keys I like the Olive covers and lower pitched harps I like the Manji covers to balance audibility for myself when I am playing. I have swapped covers from one to the other to get the sounds I want for harps of different keys. I do not think the cover difference is audible to the audience, just the player.

The two harps perform equivalently in my opinion, despite the comb color difference.


Note: I always loosen and reset reed plates on any new harmonica of any brand unless the new harp plays extremely well right out of the box. I also reset reed gaps to my preferences.

EDIT: If my Manji or Olive harp still seems leaky after my gap and reed plate adjustments I flat sand the comb and draw plate. I have only found the need for this one time.

I have three or four of Manji harps with Blue Moon combs and covers that play great, but I can't afford the comb upgrades for all my Manjis and Olives. I induged myself at a SPAH after I decided that Manji/Olive plates on a Bluesmaster comb did not work as well as I had hoped.

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Mar 20, 2022 9:44 AM
1 post
Apr 13, 2022
11:38 AM
Olive has same come as Manji only black. Hybrid Wood-Resin Comb. I replace all my Suzuki harps combs with the Andrew Zajac combs and very happy with the feel and sound.

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