Lee Oskar by Tombo Natural Minor Harmonica AMINOR 1910N-A Blues Harp
Natural Minor harpshave a very bluesy, soulful sound that's perfect for playing blues,rock, country, reggae, pop, and jazz. This fabulous tuning is set up toplay tunes in minor keys easily without straining the lips, the lungs,or the mind! All of the notes and chords that are missing on majordiatonic harps are right there on the Natural Minor. Natural Minors aredesigned to be played in cross harp (draw), not straight harp (blow)position. In cross harp, many of the draw notes can be bent and thisallows for a much more expressive, fluid style of playing. Cross harpis a very popular style used by most players for today's music.
Built in Japan to his exacting standards and incorporating newtechniques and materials, it was in 1983 that Lee Oskar introduced hisnew harmonica. The radically different harp design grew out of Lee'sfrustration with the lack of quality and consistency in the mouth harpsof the day. The design also benefited from Oskar's insights as aseasoned recording and touring pro.
The Dane's Design
Central to Oskar's design is a smooth plastic comb that doesn't swelllike traditional wood combs. Aside from being easier to keep clean, theplastic comb is impervious to the swelling of conventional harmonicawood combs that can tear up the player's lips. By making affordablereplacement reed plates available, Oskar's harps can be easilyrefurbished. You no longer need to toss out a harmonica because a reedor two has gone south. Replacement reed plates are available for everymodel in the Lee Oskar harmonica lineup and installation is easy sincethey mount to the comb with just three self-tapping screws. The reedplates have wide chambers and narrow dividers for faster, easierplaying. A precision-molded, recessed bed holds the reed plate securelyto prevent air leakage and project a bigger sound. The corrosion-proof,stainless steel cover plates are also engineered for excellentprojection and tone. (Replacement cover plates are also available.) LeeOskar harmonicas are tuned to 441-plus hertz for a brighter sound. Withequal tuning by octaves, Lee Oskar harps have excellent intonation forblowing highly articulate, single-note leads.
More Keys and Modes
Lee's innovation didn't stop with a better-designed harp. Recognizingthe need for harmonicas tuned in other than the major and natural minordiatonic scales, he introduced the Melody Maker and Harmonic Minorseries that make it easier to play melodies difficult if not impossibleto play with a standard diatonic harmonica. Another indication ofOskar's hard-won knowledge as a touring pro: Each harp is clearlymarked in bright white on both ends with its first- and second-position(straight and cross-harp) keys. Each harmonica box is color-codedaccording to its series and also displays its key prominently. Ifyou've ever struggled to find the right harp on a darkened stage, youwill appreciate this simple yet essential touch.
About Lee Oskar
Even if you don't recognize Lee Oskar by name, if you've listened topop radio much, you've probably heard his highly personal mouth harpstyle on War hits like "The Cisco Kid," "Low Rider," and "Why Can't WeBe Friends." Oskar's staccato phrasing and uncanny tone-put to greatuse blowing horn-like unison riffs with saxman Charles Miller-gaveWar's funky stew of Latino, Caribbean, African, jazz, rock, and R&Belements a distinctive lead voice. This was especially true after thedeparture of vocalist Eric Burdon. The former Animals singer had been afocal point for War on early hits like "Spill The Wine." The band'seclectic and fluent mix of genres proved a rich fount leading to astring of '70s and '80s hits, usually with Oskar's distinctive harpriffs providing the signature sound.
- Designed by a harp master
- All key components are replaceable
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