I have been a died in the wool Special 20 fan for over 20 years. The Special 20 has stood off all comers, including flings with Lee Oskars, Bushmans, and Delta Frosts. But, I recently brought in a bunch of new harps out of curiosity. I bought a couple Crossovers, a Suzuki Firebreath, a couple Manjis, and an Olive.
And the Manji has won me over, it is the richest, sweetest, fullest harp I have played. And I looked for some harmonic forums to chat about it as I’m so pumped with it. And while reading some posts here, I noticed a few that said it wasn’t the easiest to bend in the lower holes. So I compared it to my Crossover, and they were right, the Crossover is easier to bend on the bottom.
Which, once again reminded me, it’s different strokes for different folks, and different harps for different purposes.
While I like bending and bluesing, the harp playing I care most about (and sometimes even get paid for) is when I have the harp stuck on my rack and I’m using it for breaks while doing my guitar/folksinger/bluegrass thing. I basically use the harp to duplicate what a violin might do, and while I bend notes and play out of different positions, what really matters is getting a fat, sweet, rich note off the rack and into the mic. And the Manji has the fattest, sweetest, richest single note tone I have been able to get out of a harp.
If I were a solo harp player, cupping the blow and letting the pyrotechnics flow, I would be favoring the Crossover, it is a lively, fast, easy to bend, hottie. But when I got the harp on a rack and I want a fat, thick, sweet, plaintive tone for the break on a sad cowboy song, the Manji is the ticket.
I should mention, I have had the Crossover and the Manjis for week. I can’t speak to durability or whatever changes age may bring. But, the Manjis so struck me, I ordered a bunch of them at $40 a pop from Amazon.