Custom Harmonicas & Personal Service

Posts tagged “1847 Cover Plates

Seydel Sales and Repair


Welcome to 16:23 Custom Harmonicas.  I am a full-service Seydel dealer and offer all 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.   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.

I  specialize in Seydel repairs and have an extensive stock of spare parts for Seydel diatonic and chromatic harps and am the designated Seydel repair technician for the U.S.More information on repairs is available on the link to the right.

I am frequently asked what harmonicas I stock or have available.  My inventory changes daily as I receive and fill orders continuously.  However, if Seydel sells it, I either have, can build it, or order it and the turnaround time is generally only a few 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.

My phone number is posted on the web site. However, due to the high volume of sales and repair work, lengthy phone calls take away from the individual attention I provide all my customers.  I can give much more complete and accurate answers via email.

I accept Paypal, credit cards, and personal checks.  As a matter of general practice, I do not invoice customers until the order is ready for shipping.

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


SPAH 51 St. Louis – August 5-9, 2014


I’m happy to be attending SPAH 51 again this. As last year, I will be representing Seydel in the vendor booth area. SPAH has been going strong for over 50 years now and it is a busy but fun week where harmonica players of all skill levels gather for a time of jamming, teaching, clinics, performance, buying/selling, and and all other things related to our instrument. The vendor area is a central spot where the major manufacturers of harmonicas and related gear can showcase and sell their products. Seydel has an active presence at SPAH both as a contributor and a vendor. Seydel harps are available for demo and purchase and the selection will be extensive this year. As part of this, I will be on hand to answer customer questions, provide technical advice, and process your purchase. Both in the vendor area and around the hotel, you will see great harmonica players, including Jimi Lee and PT Gazelle who are are part of Seydel’s endorser program. On Thursday morning from 10-12, I will be leading a workshop on basic Seydel chromatic maintenance. We will cover ways to keep your Seydel DeLuxe and Seydel Saxony on stage and off of the workbench, as well as simple repairs. Please come by and say hello if you are attending. More information on SPAH is at the link

Photos below were taken by my good friend and harmonica player Keith Mitchell. He’s talented musically and as a photographer. Keith specializes in musical photography. For more of his work, see the link

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Personal Service, Sales, and Tech

Welcome to 16:23 Custom Harmonicas.  We are primarily a seller of Seydel diatonic and chromatic harmonicas.  If you are here, it is likely you are interested in learning more about what we offer.  16:23 Custom Harmonicas specializes in providing personal and individualized service to its customers.  You will find our prices to be in line with the outstanding service we provide.  At 16:23 Custom Harmonicas, we understand that our products are of the highest quality and hence are priced higher than many other fine harmonicas available on the market.  We also understand that our customers may need guidance in choosing the right harmonica for their playing style, experience, and of course budget.    We offer numerous creative options.  We hope that if we satisfactorily serve you in this regard, you will choose 16:23 Custom Harmonicas as your provider.  In addition to Seydel diatonic and chromatic sales, we handle Seydel repairs and repairs on other chromatic brands.  We also specialize in setting up harmonicas in alternate tuning, over-blow/draw set-up, and half-valving. At 16:23 Custom Harmonicas, we know we are a great resource for musicians.  However, if a purchase is clearly not in your future, or if you have committed to buy from our many friends in the harmonica business, we ask that you use our web site or one of the many online resources to get more information.  We want to remain available for our existing and future customers. Need more info? Shoot us a call, text, or email at or (210) 445-6600

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Seydel Repairs


As your Seydel Harmonicas dealer, we are able to handle diatonic Seydel repairs to include reed replacement and adjustments. 16:23 carries the full line of spare parts such as reeds, cover and reed plate screws, combs, and more.  Priority is given to existing 16:23 customers, but if you have a broken harp, contact us and we will see what we can do.  greg@1623customharmonicas   (210) 445-6600

Reed Polishing

Jump on any harp related forum or discussion group and you will almost certainly find complaints from players about reed failure.  Reed failure is simply the point where the reed either breaks or goes severely out of tune.  This happens because of stress on the reeds. The road to reed failure starts as soon as the reed begins to vibrate. The reed stress is highest at the base of the reed near the rivet. This also happens to be a spot where there are micro scratches and cracks in the reed that are referred to as milling marks.  Milling marks are the result of the manufacturing process. They are the starting point for reed fracture.  The process of reed polishing removes these milling marks using a variety of rotary tools and light abrasives. Eliminating the mill marks does involve making the base of the reed slightly thinner but it also removes the most common starting point for reed failure.  If you find you are consistently blowing out Seydel reeds, contact me about replacing the failed reed with a polished reed. Typically, I replace the reed with one that is 1/2 step above what was there previously and polish the base to the correct pitch. Customer feedback has been outstanding and the polished reeds significantly outlast the unpolished.  Many customers report a more responsive reed, as well.  At 16:23 Custom Harmonicas, we don’t want to see your playing limited by reed failure.  Contact us regarding Seydel reed polishing options and lets keep your harp in your hands and not on the repair bench.

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Alternate Tuning

Years ago, great acoustic guitar players & even a few guys playing electric discovered that they could change the feel and timbre of a song by re-tuning a few strings. I have no idea when the concept really emerged but the Rolling Stones used an alternate tuning on the song Honky Tonk Woman.  Do you ever notice yourself falling back into familiar phrases and licks? On a diatonic harmonica, that’s easy to do but a difficult habit to break.  It is that point where muscle memory takes over for our ear and as much as you dislike it, you just play an uninteresting iteration of the same phrase or run almost out of habit.  The most noted players out there (Our You Tube favorites) are the ones who figured out ways to break out of familiar phrasing and create new sounds.  When we re-tune a few notes on the diatonic and then habitually play that old familiar phrase, a completely new sound pops out.  It is sort of like instantly seeing the world in color.  Volumes could be written about the topic but consider stepping out and trying some of the options available to the player.  Country tuning has probably been considered the most popular but there are others that are gaining popularity and some are quite radical.  As you venture into this area, remember it is a musical experiment.  Deciding a particular tuning isn’t for you doesn’t mean the experiment failed.  The worst that can happen is your musical mind will be momentarily re-wired. That is a good thing.  Conversely, you might just find a new musical world available to you that was just one reed away.  Contact me via email if you have questions on the many alternate tuning schemes available.

Overblown, Overrated, or Overcharged..

The custom harmonica market became popular years ago when the skill of many great players exceeded the quality of manufactured harps.  As Howard Levy and others were developing extremely advanced playing techniques, musicians realized that the manufactured harmonica benefited from adjustments.  Although he is a great harp player, Joe Filisko is recognized for pioneering harmonica customization techniques as are Richard Sleigh, Jimmy Gordon, and others.  At 16:23 Custom Harmonicas we started out in business customizing the Marine Band and we will never forget our roots.  However, since that time harmonica manufacturers such as Hohner, Seydel, Suzuki, and Lee Oskar have drastically improved their products and have introduced high quality consistently produced harmonicas.  At 16:23 Custom Harmonicas, we’ve decided to keep “custom” in our name because the world of customization is where we came.  However, we believe the need for a custom harmonica is much less frequent now then in years past.  Many of the greatest and well known players in the world today (Mickey Raphael, Frederic Yonnet, Charlie Musslewhite, Charlie McCoy) play stock harmonicas.  Many of these players can even play over blows on their harps with limited adjustment.  At 16:23 Custom Harmonicas we encourage you to try our stock Seydels before investing in customization services.  Our objective is to help you reach your musical goals at the best price.  Although the harmonica forums are filled with great information, read with a critical eye the posts that boldly claim a custom harmonica is the only route to harmonica proficiency.

Musically Yours!


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