I bought my first Seydel, an 1847 Classic in C, in order to have a special harp to play at my wedding reception this weekend. We have a really good band lined up and I am really looking forward to being able to share the stage with them for a song. So I took the opportunity to risk buying an unknown harp. Wow, am I ever pleased in my choice! I knew the moment I first put the harp to my lips that it was something special.
The most evident differences between this harp and my other C harps is that it has exceptional control, a warm tone and volume control like no other harp I’ve yet played. When I put the first gentle breaths through the harmonica and led it through my standard warm up, I was shocked at how quietly I was able to play the Seydel! The reeds are so well-gapped that the slightest of breaths produces a quiet and consistent tone in every hole. This is the first harp I’ve owed that I can really whisper with. And the harp actually has a beautiful tone, even at a whisper! As I slowly increased my airflow, the harp gradually awoke until I was able to sound the most rich, clear, amber tone that I have ever produced. It was a moment of magic, really.
I almost feel bad having bought a Seydel, though, because I am now reluctant to play my other harmonicas. I currently have about 12 harps in good working order but with the addition of the Seydel I suddenly feel as though I have only one! My Lee Oskars lack the warm tone due to their plastic comb and don’t have near the volume control because their reeds don’t seem to be gapped as well as the Seydel. My Suzuki Promasters have pretty good control but lack the warmth, producing, instead, a harder-edged sound due in part to their metal comb. My Firebreath, with its wooden comb, has a measure of warmth to it but lacks the control due to reeds that are not as well-gapped. Even my Manji, a harp I was thrilled to own, is more airy and lacks the fullness of sound produced by the Seydel. My Special 20 sounds like a toy comparatively, my Blues Harp now feels like someone poked it full of holes and my Marine Band leaks air like a sieve. All of my Hohners are simply incomparable. Not that I was a fan of Hohner to begin with, but now that I see what a harmonica can sound like out of the box I am stunned that more people don’t play these harps and that more stores don’t carry them (more on that another time).
I will continue to play my new found favorite and I will fill you in on my thoughts from time to time.
This harmonica is amazing.
Image credit goes to Flickr user MyArtistSoul. Thanks!