SEYDEL SALES & SERVICE

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Full Service Seydel Sales Dealer

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I am a full-service Seydel dealer and sell all Seydel diatonic and chromatic harmonicas.  I am also the authorized Seydel repair technician for Seydel diatonic and chromatic harmonicas.

My specialty is individualized and personal service with a goal of getting you the player into the right Seydel harmonica.  My customers  appreciate the individual attention and responsiveness I provide and that is my specialty.  If you have questions and are considering a Seydel purchase feel free to contact me.   Due to a high volume, I find that I am best able to serve customers via email.

Although my prices are generally in line with other Seydel dealers, you may find they are slightly higher in some cases.  My established customers appreciate the value in personal attention and find that their transactional cost is actually lower when they have someone looking out for their interest. I like to provide my customers with options that might not otherwise be available.  This includes economical harmonica configurations, tunings, temperament and choices that are specific to their playing.  My customers include stage performers, recording artists, music instructors, and those who play for the enjoyment.

I am frequently asked what harmonicas I stock or have available.  My inventory changes daily as I receive and fill orders daily. However, if Seydel sells it I either have it or will have it within days. As a way to insure my customers get exactly what they need, I accept orders by email instead of drop-down menu format.  This allows me the satisfaction of developing a relationship with my customers and guarantees  I am in tune with their needs. It is not quite as easy as pressing a button and placing an order, but it is much easier than purchasing the wrong harmonica and being dissatisfied.  There is plenty of good information on my web site.  If you find this information to be helpful, I would appreciate your business. I accept Paypal, credit cards, and personal checks.  Generally, I do not invoice until the harp is ready to ship.

Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you.

Greg

greg@1623customharmonicas.com

Easy 3rd Tuning For Effective 3rd Position Play

The often overlooked secret to getting some cool blues, rock, jazz, and funk sounds is 3rd position.  For years, players have used it because so many of the notes just lay out perfectly for variations of the minor, pentatonic minor, and related scales. In fact, it not only lays out well on the diatonic, but many players have found it is particularly effective on a chromatic, too.

However, 3rd position play can be a bit challenging on holes 2 and 3 draw where the player has to rely on accurate bends. Miss these notes and you get a sort of Persian sound that is ok the first couple times but gets old quick.  Easy 3rd tuning solves this problem by dropping holes 2 and 3 down 1 step.  The result is a minor chord on holes 1-3.

This is is not only helpful for vamping when the song goes to the root, but it also means that unbent draw notes will be harmonious in holes 1-3 draw. The sequence actually repeats itself on holes 4-6 draw and holes 8-10 draw.

The Easy 3rd Tuning Scheme for a diatonic (C) harp is as follows:

1     2     3    4    5    6     7     8    9   10

C    E    G    C     E    G    C    E    G    C      BLOW

D    F    A    D     F    A    B    D   F     A      DRAW

The 2 note differences are the 2 and 3 draw which are dropped down 1 whole step from standard tuning.

Below is a sound sample of a little jam played on a Seydel Session Steel (Bb) tuned to Easy 3rd.  The backing track is a blues/funk in Cm.

Shoot me an email and lets discuss your purchase of a Seydel diatonic in Easy 3rd Tuning.  I can also re-tune your current Seydel diatonic to Easy 3rd for $20 + $5 return shipping.  greg@1623customharmonicas.com

Seydel Chromatic Slide Maintenance – Bumpers

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Every pick up an old chrom and hear that annoying “click” sound when you hit the button? Harmonica companies use “bumpers” around the mouthpiece set screws to prevent this.  Bumpers are tiny pieces of rubber hose that go around the screws.  They serve to dampen the sound of the metal slide hitting the screws.  Bumpers are basically very short pieces of fuel hose or something similar.

I’ve written previously about the need for regular and frequent slide/mouthpiece assembly cleaning.  This is necessary to remove the dried saliva particles that build up inside.  Regular cleaning will keep your slide moving freely and it is highly likely it will get smoother over time.

However, many players complain that if they disassemble the slide mechanism, the bumpers eventually get out of shape and make re-assembly difficult.  You may purchase factory bumpers through me or through Seydel.  However, I have found that standard coffee stir straws work very well.  Simply stick the stir straw through the mouthpiece hole and cut it flush with the mouthpiece.  Sometimes you need to snip a little more, but this is an efficient workaround to the problem of bumpers.  The stir straw solution will not dampen the slide noise as much as the factory bumpers, but I have yet to have a player complain.  If you have questions about your Seydel chromatic, please email me at greg@1623customharmonicas.com 

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Slide Maintenance Tips for the Seydel Chromatic Owner

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Play the chromatic and you no doubt experience the frustrations of the many before you.  When that button sticks during a 16th note run, you ask yourself why in the name of Larry Adler did you ever begin playing the chrom.

However, keeping the slide functioning and smooth isn’t as difficult as you might think and the science behind it is pretty basic.

Your Seydel chromatic mouthpiece assembly is made up of several precisely machined pieces of metal that are compressed against the comb and reed plates. This compression is necessary so that air from your breath goes entirely towards speaking the reeds and doesn’t escape out the top and bottom of the mouthpiece. A clear and crisp tone results from an air tight fit in the mouthpiece assembly.

This would not be complex to achieve except that somewhere in there, we have a slide that has to move freely in two directions while pressed up against two pieces of metal.

As air from your breath passes through the mouthpiece, moisture and solid micro particles from your breath cling to the mouthpiece and slide surfaces. These remain on the exterior of the parts making them rough.  This creates friction which causes the slide to become hard to press and sticky.  It is not uncommon for there to be so much accumulation of saliva debris on the slide and mouthpiece parts that it will actually be locked or frozen open and seemingly impossible to move.

Many players will habitually force their sticking slide.  It is common to see chromatics where the player actually put bends in the slide near the button and in some cases even break the slide. Even the slightest bend or crease in a slide will cause it to permanently stick.  Since the slide is a narrow and somewhat flexible piece of metal, it has to move freely and under minimal tension or it will bend.

To insure a free moving slide, saliva and dirt particles have to be rinsed off.  Just like a muddy car will clean when the mud is fresh, the saliva particles on your slide will clean off easiest after playing.  The simplest technique is to momentarily soak the slide in a sauce pan of water as shown in the video below.  However, many top players will actually take the additional step and completely disassemble the slide mechanism for regular cleaning.  Whichever cleaning option you choose, it is important to understand the importance of frequent and regular slide cleaning as a way to insure free movement of the slide.

For further questions or to purchase a high quality Seydel chromatic, email me at greg@1623customharmonicas.com

Chromatic great Neil Adler demonstrates his cleaning technique below.

Melody Maker Tuning

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Melody Maker Tuning for the diatonic harmonica is likely the most misunderstood and incorrectly described of the alternate tuning approaches.  Made popular by Lee Oskar Harmonicas, Melody Maker tuning merely adds one (1) additional adjusted note to Country Tuning.  It is most likely named because it brings distinctive melody playing in range of the 2nd position/cross harp player without the need for bends or overblows.

In 2nd position, our root note is on the 2 draw.  In standard tuning, the 3 blow note is a duplicate of 2 draw.  Hitting the 2nd note of the major scale requires a draw bend on the 3 hole.  Hitting the 7th note of the scale requires an overblow at hole 5. Melody Maker Tuning involves raising the 3 hole blow note 1 whole step and raising the 5 draw note 1/2 step, allowing for the complete major scale without the need for either technique.

Melody Maker Tuning is strictly for 2nd position play and it is for songs that follow a major scale structure.  Although one could in theory play a blues or minor scale using Melody Maker Tuning, that is not the intent.  The tuning is designed for hymns, some jazz standards, folk songs, and great for bluegrass.

It is important to note that because the 3 blow note is raised 1 whole step, the blow chord players use for vamping and accompaniment is lost.  This blow chord represents the IV chord in the progression.  The tuning layout for a Melody Maker tuned diatonic is shown here.

1    2    3   4     5    6    7    8    9   10

C    E   A   C    E    G     C    E    G   C      BLOW  (Top Plate)

D    G   B   D   F#   A    B    D   F    A      DRAW  (Bottom Plate)

In the video below, I discuss and demonstrate the use of Melody Maker Tuning using the song Save the Last Dance for Me.

I further demonstrate Melody Maker Tuning in the subsequent video where I play the Irish fiddle classic Whiskey Before Breakfast.

For more information on Melody Maker Tuning and to purchase a Melody Maker Tuning Seydel harmonica, email me at greg@1623customharmonicas.com

Country Tuning

Country tuning is easily one of the most useful and versatile alternate tunings for the diatonic harmonica.  Hardly limited to country music, it derives its name because the great country harp player Charlie McCoy used it on so many Nashville recordings.  It comes in handy when a player needs to play a melodic or major sounding musical phrase and is probably just as suited to jazz standards, hymns, and common folk songs as country music.

Although in 2nd position (Cross Harp), the player has access to a rage of useful notes, the major 7th can only be played using an overblow at hole #5.   Try playing the major scale from 2 draw to 6 blow and it becomes much more obvious.  The workaround is called Country Tuning and is accomplished by simply tuning the 5 draw up 1/2 step.  This one very minor change brings a huge number of melodies within reach of the 2nd position/cross harp player.

The Country Tuning layout for a (C) harmonica would be as follows:

1    2    3   4     5    6    7    8    9   10

C    E   G   C    E    G     C    E    G   C      BLOW  (Top Plate)

D    G   B   D   F#   A    B    D   F    A      DRAW  (Bottom Plate)

In the video below, I demonstrate Country Tuning by playing parts of the country classic Crazy on both a Standard Tuned diatonic, as well as a Country Tuned diatonic.   For more information on Country Tuning or to purchase a Country Tuned Seydel diatonic harmonica, contact me at greg@1623customharmonicas.com

To Wonder? Why The Saxony, Of Course

For decades, he as entertained millions with hit hit after hit. Undisputedly one of the most influential and heard musicians over the past 40 years. Timeless music that appeals to fans of all genre, he writes, sings, composes, and is a fantastic instrumentalist.  To the harmonica world, he is even more.  Arguably one of the best living chromatic harmonica players his playing extends well beyond contemporary jazz and into a soulful sound that is loved by his fans.  Currently on tour, Stevie Wonder played to a packed stadium at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.  The staff a Barclays went looking for the perfect gift to present him on the night of the show,  Their search brought them to 16:23 Harmonicas for ideas.  The answer was obvious; The Seydel Saxony. An amazing chromatic harmonica hand built by German craftsmen among the greatest in the world.  There are many great chromatic harmonicas on the market, but April 12, 2015, the choice was clear and this Seydel Saxony went into the hands of Stevie Wonder.  At 16:23, we were honored to be the provider of this great instrument to one of the finest performers of our time.

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