Friday, August 7, 2009

I finally did it...

I paid $100 for a blues harmonica; a Seydel 1847 Silver, the harp with the stainless steel reeds and white plastic comb. The out-the-door price at Guitar Center was $97.55.

Last night I blew out the 5 draw reed in my all time favorite A harp, a Hohner Marine Band Deluxe. It was the second time I'd blown the same reed in that harp; I had Victor Creazzi replace the reed once before. Fifty bucks to buy the MBD harp and another fifty to repair it, so I had a hundred into that harp already.

The Seydel sounds great, but not as great as the loud, singing Marine Band Deluxe. But since it has the stainless steel reeds my hope is it will stay in service longer.

The weird thing is, I blew the reed last night playing a gig with my acoustic blues duo. That is mostly low intensity playing into a Shure SM57 on a mic stand, plugged straight into the PA board. I'll try futzing with the reed, but I'm pretty sure I'll be giving Victor another call and another $50.

Since I have a gig tonight at the Mile Hi Blues Festival KickOff Party, I wanted a really good harp, and nobody sells the MBD harp over the counter around Denver. So, this was an excuse to try the Seydel 1847. I hope I don't blow it out in the first set tonight. That would depress me.

UPDATE: Well, I didn't blow out the Seydel 1875 Silver the night I wrote this article. It didn't happen until last night, Sept 3, during a gig with my acoustic blues duo. The 4-draw reed went flat, a reed I usually do not abuse. The harp lasted less than a month. I gigged it nine times.

The reed failure may well have been my fault; I might have overbent the 4-draw. Regardless, Rupert Oysler -- head of Seydel USA --generously offered to repair the harp as a courtesy. I have known him to do this for other players as well. The reeds technically are not under warranty. If it happens again I will be happy to pay for the repair.

After playing the harp for a month I can tell you it is and exceptionally good harp. The tone and action are beautiful right out of the box. It has a nice loud sound without being jangly. The harp has a polished feel in your mouth.

When I get it back (Rupert promised a quick turn-around) I'll break it in more gently and take better care of it. it is a very fine instrument.


Solly said...

2 things -
[1] With a tuner and the Lee Oscar tuning kit, YOU can easily retune your reeds. I kill a D harp with a regularity that forced me to learn, and it was easy.
[2] Lee Oscar harps take soooo much more hard use before needing tuning. It is a learning thing to get the blues tone, but it is there.
Bonus [3] Bottle-of-Blues mic is killer tone.

Rick Davis said...

Solly, I have the LO tuning kit and I use it all the time. I didn't try futzing with the reeds on the Seydel 1847 Silver for 2 reasons: The are stainless steel (with which I have no experience) and tuning the reeds voids the Seydel warranty. The service I've gotten from Rupert Oysler at Seydel USA has been superb.

I don't care much for LO harps. The quality is uneven from harp to harp; sometimes great but sometimes leaky and unresponsive and not loud enough. I've owned dozens of Lee Oskar harps over the years and they have gotten worse recently, in my opinion. Now I prefer Hohner and Seydel. Everybody has different tastes; I know players who swear by LO harps and sound great with them, but very few.

I've owned a BOB mic as well. Pretty good for the money, but a little dark and muddy. Still, it was my backup mic in my gig bag for years.

Rick Davis said...

Some ignorant turd left a comment here (which I rejected) slamming Victor for charging $50 to fix my harp. For that money, Victor replaces any reeds that are fatigued, and also gaps, embosses, chamfers and tunes everything. His work is impecable.

The ignorant commenter was also one of those bozos who thinks anybody who ever blows a reed does not play properly.

Dude, blow it out your ass. I've discussed this exact point with many pro harp guys, and they all tell me they blow out harps regularly. Go sell your crazy someplace else, Bob.