New guy (w/ harp, amp, and mic details)

Hey all,
Thanks to those who support this site! I’m a 56 y.o. guy who about a year ago started to play music again after a 29 year hiatus. I gigged playing guitar and mandolin from the mid 70’s - mid 80’s. Also accompanied myself on harp, as well as a bit of solo harp playing.
Recently, after playing guitar and mando again for the past year, I decided I needed some harps. Back in the day I played Marine Bands exclusively. While on my recent search I discovered there were now many other options. After devouring endless reviews, YouTube vids,… I ended up w/ the following.
-Lee Oskar Diatonic: Several stuck reeds and several more misaligned. Completely unplayable out of the box. I’ve had it apart tweaking reeds numerous times now and have gotten it to where it is playable, but a far cry from satisfactory. Contacted Lee Oskar twice with no response.
-Hohner Special 20: Pretty good out of the box. The tone we all are familiar with. A couple reeds could use a little tuning, but perfectly usable and acceptable.
-Suzuki Bluesmaster: Incredible build quality, playability, and warm, smoky tone right out of the box! Superb harp! I’ll be buying more.
-Amp: I have a '82 Rivera era Princeton Reverb II and a modern Super Champ X2. After researching harp amp recommendations , it turned out I already have two great harp amps. I really like the SCII in the modeling channel using the Tweed Deluxe Voice, a bit of delay, gain on 8, and master as low as I can get away with. Nice gritty tone like a 50’s era birch Alamo or Tweed Champ. The WGS Veteran 10 speaker I put in breaks up easily and certainly contributes to the tone.
-Mic: Had the amps now what about a mic? I have a small collection of SDC and LDC mics for recording, but nothing suitable for harp. After some research I saw that the Shure PE515 had been mentioned a few times. I recalled owning one of those in the 70’s and tore the house apart looking for it to no avail. Oh well, I’d just have to come up w/ something else. Then the other day I was pulling something down from a closet shelf and a white plastic box landed right in front of me. Yep, there it was. The foam lining the box, as well as the internal windscreen had disintegrated. After a careful cleaning, I plugged it in and lo and behold it worked perfectly and sounded killer!
I now have a gig/recording worthy rig!
Many thanks to all those who have taken the time to give reviews and recommendations.


Welcome, Canerod!

Sounds like you are an expert harp player already if you can pick apart a bunch of harps and make them play well :slight_smile:

I am a mere beginner but making big progress every day so I"m having lots of fun.

My favourite harps are Marine Band 1896 because it is small, feels comfortable to handle and play and it sounds terrific. I can hear why it’s been popular for ever.

My next favourite is the Suzuki Manji - it won’t have problems with comb swelling, is the smoothest thing every under the lips and sounds almost as good as the MB.

Next in line is the Special 20.

Then the Lee Oskar. But it is feels too thick and doesn’t have the slide of the Manji, and definitely not the sound of either Manji or MB, but pretty similar sounding to the Special 20.

I also had ( had is the word) the Seydel Blues Session - manufacturing fault. The covers left large enough gaps all around to get the inside of my lips caught. That is being returned under warranty, but I will be asking for Marine Band in the key of D as a replacement since all the Seydels ( with the exception of Seydel Blues Favourite) are much thicker than the Marine Bands.

Post some of your harping :slight_smile:

Sounds like you had really bad luck with the Lee Oskar.