DESIGN INNOVATIONS AND BEAUTY OF SOUND MAKE THIS A TOP CHOICE…
This is a most welcome addition to the harmonica world from Seydel, which I consider the finest mainline chromatic harmonica company in the world based on product quality, service, and parts availability. Big statement, but it’s earned.
I am a customizer and prototype developer noodle head, and this is the only harp I’ve played which needed no customization to perform at its peak. Oh dear, what shall I do?
Seydel Symphony, available in two configurations: ALU with aluminum comb and trapezoidal mouthpiece, and the AKRYL in green acrylic comb with rounded mouthpiece, (I play the ALU) is packed full of meaningful design improvements which spell value to you.
First off, if you don’t know it, Seydel harps are made in Germany (they are the last remaining German firm producing harps, Hohner is now 95% Asian owned), use stainless steel reeds…these are very long lasting and stable, and respond to breath very quickly. (Unlike Suzuki which solders reeds right onto the reedplate, making reed replacement near impossible for the hobbyist as you’d have to drill a hole in the reedplate for the replacement reed, and you cannot get reeds in any event (Suzuki offers almost no parts in the U.S. beyond complete reedplate sets at close to the cost of a new harp)…Seydel uses rivets to hold on the reeds, so you can order a new reed from the manufacturer, pull the offending reed, and put a new one in. All parts for Seydel harps are available on their websites.
Other basics…this is a 16 hole chromatic harmonica which means you get 4 full octaves and then some, actual range is C3 to D7. (C3 is one octave lower than middle C on a piano.) This means you can play pretty much any piece of music you want.
The Symphony is a SIGNIFICANT DEPARTURE for Seydel in many ways.
The physical profile of the harp is much larger than Saxony, it’s longer, deeper and fatter, and very comfortable to hold.
The covers are cast aluminum and shape the sound making all octaves even as regards tonal harmonic footprint, they have scallops for your fingers to grip, and open at their back to project sound like a trumpet. The covers have a much greater effect on a harmonica’s sound than is generally recognized. Each cover has its own set of screws holding them on, so you can remove one cover and the other is still attached. This protects the harp a bit as you take it apart.
The Slide button is Ergonomic, and convex, with a polymer center warm to the touch with a tiny bit of grip. This increases comfort in play.
Airtightness is a principal characteristic of top pro harps and this harp is as airtight as I’ve ever seen, stock or customized, right from the manufacturer.
The comb top is sanded flat, and the double thick blank and slide are precision-shaped and less likely to bend if the harp is taken apart. The mouthpiece which is solid brass is cut by CNC and is fit absolutely precisely to the other mouthpiece components, so you give the instrument the slightest breath, and the reeds respond.
An airtight harp gives you better tone, faster play, and the ability to control bends and vibrato and volume in optimal fashion.
Reedplates are German Silver, which is a very high grade material.
Again, the instrument is made in two configurations: black Aluminum comb ALU with trapezoidal mouthpiece, or green Akrylic comb AKRYL in rounded mouthpiece They both are serviceable, and I’d describe the AKRYL tone as a bit warmer, but the ALU comb most durable in the years ahead. I suppose ideally, I’d like both.
(Of course I play harps with a Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece Slider, which makes movements to new note hole positions friction free, and a the lips play dry, the harp stays clean. If you don’t know what this is, go to the website MASTERSOFHARMONICA.COM to see explanatory videos off the links at top of the homepage.
On with the show…
A huge departure in design relates to the SLIDE, or device which you activate the button of to get your sharps and flats, called accidentals.
Ending problems with scored slides caused by the slide popping off the top of a slide spring on the right side of the harp during reassembly, SEYDEL SYMPHONY has its slide spring at the left side of the harp, and it is enclosed…to remove the slide you simply unscrew the mouthpiece screw at the right bottom of the harp comb (yes, the mouthpiece screw comes UP from the BOTTOM of the harp- leaving the top of the mouthpiece smooth (thus protecting your lips in play from damage from the mouthpiece screw which can get buggered) and pull out the Slide.
The harp is precision-built, so correct pressure on mouthpiece components is not really controlled by the tension of the mouthpiece screws as on a typical harp. Instead, the mouthpiece screws simply hold the parts together rather gently…the fit being so good, airtightness results.
To clean the Slide, just remove the Slide as described above, wash in water, and reinsert…no fumbling with multiple components. (I use a very very very thin layer Hetman’s Slide Oil on the Slide, their rotary oil #13, but it’s not really necessary.)
The bumpers sit on top of the oversized mouthpiece screws, and find their correct position easily…you do not have to fumble with them during harp assembly, as in a typical chromatic. (Big plus.)
The harp comes with a durable case with room for 3 harps, and an internal heating system…very nice, so now you’ll have a safe way to transport your harps. Owner’s manual and leather harp wrist strap included.
2 year factory warranty.
The final point has to do with how it feels to play the harp, and this is not a specification…but the WHOLE of the thing.
It feels and sounds great in play, and I’ll leave it at that. It is my opinion one can do no better.
Here’s a video demonstration, and a video review for you.
It’s my daily player.
To Seydel…well done.
SUMMERTIME BY GERSHWIN ON SEYDEL SYMPHONY