Natural Minor harps have a very bluesy, soulful sound that's perfect for playing blues, rock, country, reggae, pop, and jazz. This fabulous tuning is set up to play tunes in minor keys easily without ... Read More
Natural Minor harps have a very bluesy, soulful sound that's perfect for playing blues, rock, country, reggae, pop, and jazz. This fabulous tuning is set up to play tunes in minor keys easily without straining the lips, the lungs, or the mind! All of the notes and chords that are missing on major diatonic harps are right there on the Natural Minor. Natural Minors are designed to be played in cross harp (draw), not straight harp (blow) position. In cross harp, many of the draw notes can be bent and this allows for a much more expressive, fluid style of playing. Cross harp is a very popular style used by most players for today's music.
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 Modesbr>
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.
Reviewed by 5 customers
Displaying reviews 1-5
Being able to get minor natural harps has renewed my playing experiences, expanded my scope musically and gets me into the mix on those 'certain' minor blues tunes. My right-handed style is an old bad habit that is probably unorthoodoxed. Lee Oskar harps have as good a "hand feel" as any I've ever used. Their sound is clean and clear plus they bend nicely (or 'wonk' when I ask 'em to) with plenty of control. Quality control seems to be intact at the TOMBO factory. Construction is superb; good materials, beautiful finishes on covers and combs. Can't see or hear any flaws in the design, the sound or on the instrument. No comment on reliability. I've not owned them long enough. However, finding a repair station for other harp brands may be easy for some old pros (or maybe they just buy new ones?) but for me it's been a trying process that seems steeped in mystery. Lee Oskar's affordable reed kits are a boon to ANY player who just wants a trouble free fast, easy repairs. Order or buy kit, receive kit, repair...YOURSELF...AT HOME! For a dollar or two more added to the harp price the self-tapping screws might have been replaced by fine thread screws and threaded brass bosses molded into the combs and but with care self-tappers can be re-used; just try not to rip any plastic. I'm impressed with the Lee Oskar system. I still play my old (still not worn out) brand H's but I'm adding in Lee's as I need them. They're too good not to consider.
I've been playing harp since I was 8 and the one thing I knew was that songs in a minor key were a pill to play and required a lot of work arounds and memorizing those moves. No more. The Em (which is an Am in the first position) arrived and I immediately played a minor key song with no thought whatsoever. It just played! I'm getting more of these.
Good customer service and I played a gig with this harp right out of the box
It's open jam night at the local juke joint and a big mama wants to get up and belt out "Summer Time " in A minor. With this Harp you can nail it like no other harp player in the house. Where you are limited to single note style on a major tuned harp you can play all over this thing and provide a nice vocal sounding chorus for Big Mama, or anyone playing or singing anything in minor tuning. Be sure to get the Natural Minor tuning and not the Harmonica Minor tuning, unless you are into Eastern European music or playing at a Bar Mitzvah.
Sounds great and reminds me of the harp you hear in old western movies like the Wild Bunch. One reed has some problems but mostly plays well. It is great to improvise on because it sounds unique but I still haven't been able to play it to my own songs and I am not sure if I will be able to.
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