Item # 100322097 | Customer Ratings: ( 5 Based on 17 reviews)

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Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica
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Designed by a master of the harp.

Well-suited for blues, rock, country, folk, and jazz. They're more airtight, easier to bend, and better sounding than many harps. Modular design.

Built in Japan to his exacting standards and incorporating new techniques and materials, it was in 1983 that Lee Oskar introduced his new harmonica. The radically different harp design grew out of Lee's frustration with the lack of quality and consistency in the mouth harps of the day. The design also benefited from Oskar's insights as a seasoned recording and touring pro.

The Dane's Design
Central to Oskar's design is a smooth plastic comb that doesn't swell like traditional wood combs. Aside from being easier to keep clean, the plastic comb is impervious to the swelling of conventional harmonica wood combs that can tear up the player's lips. By making affordable replacement reed plates available, Oskar's harps can be easily refurbished. You no longer need to toss out a harmonica because a reed or two has gone south. Replacement reed plates are available for every model in the Lee Oskar harmonica lineup and installation is easy since they mount to the comb with just three self-tapping screws. The reed plates have wide chambers and narrow dividers for faster, easier playing. A precision-molded, recessed bed holds the reed plate securely to prevent air leakage and project a bigger sound. The corrosion-proof, stainless steel cover plates are also engineered for excellent projection and tone. (Replacement cover plates are also available.) Lee Oskar harmonicas are tuned to 441-plus hertz for a brighter sound. With equal tuning by octaves, Lee Oskar harps have excellent intonation for blowing highly articulate, single-note leads.

More Keys and Modes
Lee's innovation didn't stop with a better-designed harp. Recognizing the need for harmonicas tuned in other than the major and natural minor diatonic scales, he introduced the Melody Maker and Harmonic Minor series that make it easier to play melodies difficult if not impossible to play with a standard diatonic harmonica. Another indication of Oskar's hard-won knowledge as a touring pro: Each harp is clearly marked in bright white on both ends with its first- and second-position (straight and cross-harp) keys. Each harmonica box is color-coded according to its series and also displays its key prominently. If you've ever struggled to find the right harp on a darkened stage, you will appreciate this simple yet essential touch.

About Lee Oskar
Even if you don't recognize Lee Oskar by name, if you've listened to pop radio much, you've probably heard his highly personal mouth harp style on War hits like "The Cisco Kid," "Low Rider," and "Why Can't We Be Friends." Oskar's staccato phrasing and uncanny tone-put to great use blowing horn-like unison riffs with saxman Charles Miller-gave War's funky stew of Latino, Caribbean, African, jazz, rock, and R&B elements a distinctive lead voice. This was especially true after the departure of vocalist Eric Burdon. The former Animals singer had been a focal point for War on early hits like "Spill The Wine." The band's eclectic and fluent mix of genres proved a rich fount leading to a string of '70s and '80s hits, usually with Oskar's distinctive harp riffs providing the signature sound.

Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica Features:

  • Airtight
    Easier second-position bending
    All key components are replaceable
    Durable and longer-lasting than other harps




Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica

Limited warranty against defects in new products.

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Pro Coverage includes:

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  • 100% Coverage for Commercial Use
  • Extended Return Period
  • Extended Price Protection
  • No Lemon Guarantee
  • Free Transfer of Coverage to a new owner
  • Repair Costs Covered for up to 3 years from date of purchase
  • Repairs Can Be Authorized Toll-Free by Phone or the via the web
Product Reviews
(Based on 17 reviews)
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  • My first harmonica, and now I own 6

    As reviewed by Olsem Wanem on 12/14/2011

    I bought a Lee Oskar about 9 years ago for my first harmonica. I still have that one and it still sounds good! I now own a total of 6 Lee Oskars and have been pleased with all of them. I also own 3 Hohner special 20's and have been pleased with them as well. I would have a very very hard time saying which is better, so I will list a few differences. The Hohner is slightly smaller and does not feel as good in my hand - seems slightly harder to grip. Some of the Hohner Special 20's seemed a little bit easier to bend when brand new; the Lee Oskars took a bit of time to break in. But in my experience, this can depend on each individual harp too. For instance, one of my Special 20's (key of A) has a 3rd hole that is very difficult to bend, even after a long time of playing it, while a couple of the Lee Oskars (B-flat especially) were very easy to bend right from the start (it seems like the higher the key the easier to bend when new, at least to me). One nice feature on the Lee Oskars is that the key is clearly marked in white, so they are easy to distinguish, while the Special 20 has the key stamped on the metal cover, and is difficult to see. One more thing which is pretty trivial and almost not worth mentioning, but the Hohner cases feel flimsy and the lining is glued in and sometimes comes apart, whereas the Lee Oskar cases are more sturdy, and you can lock two or more of them together which is a nice feature. I would recommend the Lee Oskar or the Hohner Special 20 to everyone. I tried the Hohner Blues Band (made in China) and they are awful. The Lee Oskar is more expensive, but worth evey penny.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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  • One of my two favorite harps

    As reviewed by Christopher Miller on 5/21/2013

    I am impressed with the easy, responsive action of the Lee Oskar harmonica. I've played Hohners up until now, and while I still love them, more Lee Oskars will definitely make it into my collection. Two drawbacks to an otherwise perfect harp: I find it a TINY bit uncomfortable on the mouth, and it doesn't sound as loud or "raspy" as a Hohner Special 20. It's not terribly uncomfortable, I just find it a bit tall for my poor, thin lips.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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  • Great Tone Impressive Customer Service

    As reviewed by Richard Sabayrac _ on 1/29/2013

    I have used the Lee Oskars and found that for the price you just can't beat 'em. I just ordered the Low F my first. What a great tone. WOW! I had a problem with a key of E,From GC. It arrived with out a case and was out of tune on several notes. VERY UNUSUAL for any Lee Oskar product. I called the factory number given by the GC customer service. I got a call back from Lee Oskar himself who handled this personally by sending me a new harp. Now that impressed me. WOW again!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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