I am thinking about adding a third key to my collection (A and C) I prefer the A because of the lower sound. Therefore I was thinking that I might prefer a low D. Does anybody has experience with a D vs low D harmonica? I heard the bending is a lot harder on the low D. I don’t mind the lower volumne though. Thanks!
Hi @Peter_laar. I bought a LF instead of an F. I have an E Special 20, and it’s a bit high-pitched for my ears. The LF sounds great, but seems to need a bit more air to excite the reeds. I don’t know about the bending though, as I’m not to that part of the Beginner to Boss course.
I love my Hohner Rocket Low harps (D and Eb), but it is more difficult to bend those lowest notes (holes 1, 2 and 3) compared to the standard D harps I own (Lee Oskar and Suzuki Pro master). After doing some reed gap adjusting on the low D and low Eb the bending became somewhat easier, but not as easy as I would like it to be.
Those low key harps are fabulous for playing gospel blues, or for accompanying an acoustic guitar, or when playing solo and alternating between the rhythm parts and the improvised and melody parts. Can’t be beat! Standard D is as high as I go when buying harps.
If you have the money, get both a standard and the low D !! Seriously ! Just get good quality harps and not something cheaper just so that you can buy both. I doubt that you will regret it.
Thanks @Slim, I listened to some records on YouTube and I think that it is better to start with the low D. Probably a seydel 1847.
@PineComb the low F does get close to the low F. Good luck with the bending module. Took me a while before I was able to hit all bends. (Still improving…!)
I’m in a similar position as I ordered some new harps yesterday, in LF (used to have an F, but I thought it was too high for me) A and both LE and E, because I wasn’t sure which one I’d prefer so I got both of them, but I have a slight feeling I’m gonna enjoy the LE more because when I play my G which is the lowest harp I currently own, it’s sound is very pleasant, and I also find it easier to draw on the high notes, than on my C and D
Peter, I have a couple of "G"s I really like the lower tone. I also have a Lee Oskar Low C. Tone is nice but it seems to take a lot of air, also hard to bend, although I am not very proficient at bending, but I can bend the “G”'s (one is a Hohner Spec 20, the other a Bushman Delta Frost.
Thanks for the responses! @Poppo are you not able to bend at all on the low c or is it just harder? The blow notes are indeed much better on the lower harmonicas!
I am nowhere near being proficient on bends. I am able to bend all 5 holes, all 8 notes on the G harp. Not all the time, and not while playing. The only bend I can hit ‘on the fly’ is the 6 hole. I can almost hit the first bend on 3 and 4 on the fly, but again not consistently. 1 hole was my first bend, and for a while I could do that with ease. Now it is not so easy. I can only hit hole 6 and draw 1 on holes 3 & 4 with the lowC. I don’t really know if draw 3 Bb is true because it does not register on Bend-it tool. The low C seems to ‘leak’ on most of my draws and requires more breath, but then I have COPD and am on oxygen 24X7. I imagine the bigger reeds require more air, but it is possible that the Lee Oscar leaks more, but I don’t see others complaining about that. I do LOVE my "G’s, and my next purchase may be an “F”. I am also thinking about a Seydel Session Steel for that purchase, but would like to know more about the bending characteristics on it and probably improve my bending before making another commitment. I also seem to be able to bend my “Bushman Delta Frost” more easily. They are also less expensive than the Hohner Special 20 which is my other “G”, and my 2nd favorite harp.
Good Luck, and God Bless!!!
You do seem to do pretty well on your bends! I am able to ‘hit’ all the bends as well but being always in tune is a whole other story. I guess it is just a lot of practice…
Yes, lots. I also find that a very few minutes of practicing bends leads to tender inner lips, especially on the upper lip. That might be the fact that I am 80, or just my physical make-up. When I was a teen I was quite prolific on the Accordion and decided to add the Trumpet to my accomplishments. I played the trumpet for 6 months or so and was never able to find an embouchure that would allow me to practice for much more than half an hour to 1 hour without getting very sore lips. I finally gave it up. The other possibility is that my wife (of 56 years) says I am the best kisser in the world. That probably means my lips are tender and soft (LOL).
I think it has to do something with relaxation, especially when I try new techniques I have the same problem as well. Since you’ve probably been kissing for quite a while, you probably don’t have that problem with your wife
Good Point. As to your second comment: Good Point
Concerning your interest in the Seydel Session Steei, be aware that the stainless steel reeds may seem to require more effort to bend than brass reeds until you get proficient at bending. Once you get good at bending then the problem seems to go away …
I understand. I am having some encouraging success in bending both of my “G” harps and almost NO success in bending my “C” harps which are not the quality of my "G"s (a Bushman Delta Frost and a Special 20)
versus 2 cheap Hohners (Sousa Band, Hot Metal) and a Fender Blues.
I can bend my Oskar LC with limited success on holes 3, 4, and 6. I presume my limited success on the LC has more to do with technique than quality of the harp. I am not good enough to know if my success/failure is more dependent on the quality of harp or the mechanics I have. It seems logical that technique should be transferable on a quality harp of a slightly different key, but I don’t know if that is true or not.
All harps that are lower tuned become gradually more difficult to bend (especially the lower end reeds) as the tuning of the harp becomes lower and lower. The mass of the reed increases and that is responsible for most of the problem. Using valving on the lower end draw reeds can help somewhat with the draw bends, but is mostly used to enable blow bends on holes 1-6. On the holes above, meaning holes 7-10, the valves are used on the blow reeds and are primarily used to enable draw bends up there.
I found it easiest to learn bending on a G – but it was heavy work and eventually the -2 and -3 (draw) reeds needed replacing. Fortunately, it was a Lee Oskar and I got a replacement reed plate easily. These days I put a lot of effort into bending with MINIMUM effort – technique will beat brute force every time! But I was trying to play a bass line on a Low C the other night – it required a bunch of -2” and -3” (two semi-tone bends – the F and A notes) and those loooong reeds on low notes on low harps need a lot of air, so a lot of effort was required. So I’d recommend working on your bending technique on whatever harp does it for you, but try to do it with minimum breath – you’ll find it easier to take the technique to other holes/keys.
Hello @Slim, as you may remember, I ordered the set of fenders. Now that I have more time again, I played them with the harps on various songs. They are different and you “taste” the price of some of them. But there are only 2, the I can replace the pitches with other manufacturers. What I really like about the sound is the B4. I find this pitch very nice, especially since I only knew the common ones before. What I also like is that my enforced break since the end of November hasn’t caused my game to deteriorate. On the contrary, some things are better than learning in the first 9 weeks. I’m very happy about that and apparently the basics were thorough enough. I wanted to share all of this with you and the rest of the forum. Greetings from Astrid
Hi Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63
Thank you for sharing this information. It really is interesting how not playing for a while (for whatever reason) often results in playing just as well or even better when playing resumes.
What do you mean about liking the sound of the B4 ?? Do you mean the Bb harp?
Es freut mich besonders, dass Du wieder spielen kannst !!!
Oh yes @Slim, I mean the Bb of course, the prescription witch was at work there.
I too really like the sound of the Bb harmonica, Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63 – and I find it to be (for me) perhaps the easiest to play.