Gazell Method Seydel Half Valved Harmonicas

A few months ago I purchased some Seydel harmonicas. I bought 3 half valved harps from  PT Gazell  and after spending some time playing them I can honestly say I really like them.

I purchased a “C” 1847 silver, “Bb” Session Steel and a Low Db Session Steel.

As someone who has a love/hate relationship with overblows these harps make playing jazz lines a little easier. Notice I said easier, which is to mean not a silver bullet.

I have played most of the harmonicas currently on the market and like some better than others and I think I like the Seydels the best. I would love to go and buy a whole set of Seydels but I still have a large box with about 30 brand new old stock Hohner Special 20’s , Crossovers and Marine Bands I bought about 4 years ago and also have loads of  new Lee Oskar reed plates. I do plan on picking up a few more half valved harps from PT because I like them so much.

Out of the box the harps sound and feel really good. The hole spacing is a little wider than most Hohner players are used to but if you have been playing Special 20’s it won’t be as noticable as if you have been playing Marine Bands which is what I have been playing lately. I noticed on a few forums that for some the hole spacing is a problem. I can say that for myself, It’s an easy transition that happens in a minute or so. I can go back and forth between the Hohner’s and the Seydels without much of a problem.

The valves on the Gazell Method harps are much thicker material than used by Hohner and Suzuki. PT states on his website that he has tried most every material and this works best. I agree that it works very well. I haven’t heard any of that annoying Hohner wind saver buzzing at all with these harps.

The fit and finish on these harmonicas is top notch. Seydel seems to pay attention to the details

So how do they sound you ask?

These Seydel Gazelle Method harmonicas sound fantastic. I don’t know how to describe it except to say that these are smooth and full sounding harps. I haven’t been able to get the silky smooth sound PT gets but with lots of practice maybe someday.

It’s a funny thing, I’ve been working on overblows for so long that it’s a habit now to go for the OB5 and OB6. It’s a matter of practice time spent retraining as theses Seydel’s don’t overblow because of the windsaver valves mounted on the lower 6 holes. I think I like the sound better with the valves over the overblow but the OB6 can sure sound convincing. Time will tell after I get some more playing time with them.

While I don’t think I’m getting rid of my Hohner’s right away, I do plan on picking up more of the Gazell Method half valved harps to cover more keys.

Do you play Seydels? Half valved harps? Let me know what you think. Let’s get the conversation going!



The Biggest Harmonica Myth

Years ago when the only harmonica worth while for playing
blues was the venerable Hohner Marine Band. It sounded great
but leaked air around the wood comb which made them play inconsistantly.
There were some musicians that would soak their harps
in a glass of water and there are even some stories
of soaking them in whiskey! I’m sure most of us have
heard of this at one time or another.

These musicians would soak their harps to get better tone.
While this is true, what was actually happening is that the
moisture from the liquid would cause the wood comb to swell
up sealing any gaps along the reed plates thus
producing less air leakage and a fuller tone and greater volume
from their harp. The water did just fine and as far as the
whiskey goes, it probably did more harm than good by gumming up the
reeds and inducing corrosion on the reedplates.

Today we don’t need to do this and I don’t advise soaking
your harp, wood or otherwise in any liquid. I know there
are some that even soak their plastic comb harps! This really
won’t do anything except make them corrode and wear out quicker.
Modern harmonicas including the Marine Band are much better constructed
and the new Marine Band Deluxe and Crossover harps have sealed
combs so the wood expansion is no longer an issue.

Keep your harps clean and tap them on your leg or hand
when finished playing to get the moisture out and you’ll
have your harmonica for a long time.