Lee Oskar is probably one of the most famous harmonica players in the world. Well, if you are not into harmonicas that much you might not know his name but you sure have heard at least a song or two with him performing on a harmonica. Apart from being an amazing musician, Oskar was not very keen on the quality of instruments that were sold at the time. So what does a professional harmonica player who is not satisfied with the quality of most harmonicas do? You guess it right – he decides to create his own harps. Fast forward about 25 years and Lee Oskar harmonicas are some of the most well known and beloved ones on the market. There are quite a few reasons for that and the most important one is that the person behind the company actually values quality and knows that bad quality destroys the experience.
Okay, so if you are coming from the more affordable side of harmonicas than this Lee Oskar model might seem expensive. Trust me, in the long run, these babies will pay off. First of all, this model features an airtight design which makes for a great response. There are also metal cover plate, plastic comb, and brass reeds. Plastic combs usually last for a while and don’t have warping issues like wood. The part where you will be saving on is the brass reed. Even the top quality harmonicas will need reeds to be changed at some point. While with a lot of other brands you would have to completely switch the instrument because the harmonica is not easy to take apart of the compatible reeds are just out of stock, with Lee Oskar you can be sure that the company always has a stock of new reeds for replacement. That’s why instead of buying new harmonicas you can just open this one up, do minor maintenance, clean, change reeds and continue with it like it’s new. All in all, this model is really well made. There are no sharp edges. The main concern with a lot of cheap harmonicas is that there are very sharp edges where the metal is folded but with this harp, you get smoothness on all sides.
Let’s talk sound – this major diatonic harp with 10-holes is Richter tuned. The airtight design with wide chambers and narrow dividers provides great playability with no air loss. The model has close to perfect perfection and tone with amazing volume. Apart from that, the sound stays pretty consistent with time and throughout models because of the great quality check system. While major diatonic harmonicas were used for folk music with time it became popular for blues, country, jazz and a lot of other styles.
Lee Oskar Harmonica Major Diatonic harmonica is one of my favorite models I have tried in the past couple of years. It is also one of the best harmonicas of a lot of other people because of one major reason – it is just that damn good. A classic harp with perfect tuning, airtight design, and amazing playability is not that easy to come by. While this might not be a $10 model that beginners usually gravitate to if you invest a bit more in this one from the get-go you won’t regret spending $30-40 on this model in the long-term.