Lee Oskar Natural Minor Harmonica  

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Lee Oskar

A great harp to blow those minor blues as well as ethnic and modal sounds.

Natural Minor harps have a very bluesy, soulful sound that's perfect for playing blues, rock, country, reggae, pop, and jazz. This fabulous tuning is set up to play tunes in minor keys easily without straining the lips, the lungs, or the mind! All of the notes and chords that are missing on major diatonic harps are right there on the Natural Minor. Natural Minors are designed to be played in cross harp (draw), not straight harp (blow) position. In cross harp, many of the draw notes can be bent and this allows for a much more expressive, fluid style of playing. Cross harp is a very popular style used by most players for today's music.

Built in Japan to his exacting standards and incorporating new techniques and materials, it was in 1983 that Lee Oskar introduced his new harmonica. The radically different harp design grew out of Lee's frustration with the lack of quality and consistency in the mouth harps of the day. The design also benefited from Oskar's insights as a seasoned recording and touring pro.

The Dane's Design
Central to Oskar's design is a smooth plastic comb that doesn't swell like traditional wood combs. Aside from being easier to keep clean, the plastic comb is impervious to the swelling of conventional harmonica wood combs that can tear up the player's lips. By making affordable replacement reed plates available, Oskar's harps can be easily refurbished. You no longer need to toss out a harmonica because a reed or two has gone south. Replacement reed plates are available for every model in the Lee Oskar harmonica lineup and installation is easy since they mount to the comb with just three self-tapping screws. The reed plates have wide chambers and narrow dividers for faster, easier playing. A precision-molded, recessed bed holds the reed plate securely to prevent air leakage and project a bigger sound. The corrosion-proof, stainless steel cover plates are also engineered for excellent projection and tone. (Replacement cover plates are also available.) Lee Oskar harmonicas are tuned to 441-plus hertz for a brighter sound. With equal tuning by octaves, Lee Oskar harps have excellent intonation for blowing highly articulate, single-note leads.

More Keys and Modesbr>
Lee's innovation didn't stop with a better-designed harp. Recognizing the need for harmonicas tuned in other than the major and natural minor diatonic scales, he introduced the Melody Maker and Harmonic Minor series that make it easier to play melodies difficult if not impossible to play with a standard diatonic harmonica. Another indication of Oskar's hard-won knowledge as a touring pro: Each harp is clearly marked in bright white on both ends with its first- and second-position (straight and cross-harp) keys. Each harmonica box is color-coded according to its series and also displays its key prominently. If you've ever struggled to find the right harp on a darkened stage, you will appreciate this simple yet essential touch.

About Lee Oskar
Even if you don't recognize Lee Oskar by name, if you've listened to pop radio much, you've probably heard his highly personal mouth harp style on War hits like "The Cisco Kid," "Low Rider," and "Why Can't We Be Friends." Oskar's staccato phrasing and uncanny tone-put to great use blowing horn-like unison riffs with saxman Charles Miller-gave War's funky stew of Latino, Caribbean, African, jazz, rock, and R&B elements a distinctive lead voice. This was especially true after the departure of vocalist Eric Burdon. The former Animals singer had been a focal point for War on early hits like "Spill The Wine." The band's eclectic and fluent mix of genres proved a rich fount leading to a string of '70s and '80s hits, usually with Oskar's distinctive harp riffs providing the signature sound.

  • Designed by a harp master
  • All key components are replaceable
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by PowerReviews
Lee OskarNatural Minor Harmonica

(based on 3 reviews)

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Beware the Cross Harp Labeling!

By Bartacus

from Boulder

Comments about Lee Oskar Natural Minor Harmonica:

These are great harmonicas, no doubt. But BEWARE: I forgot that Lee Oskar labels their minor key harps in CROSS HARP!!! So I basically bought a harp that only duplicated what I already had, not what I had hoped to have.... my fault I know, but it >could< be indicated more prominently on the music123 site.

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(41 of 82 customers found this review helpful)


Great harp for blues and minor key tunes

By Mike-p96qn

from Wisconsin

Comments about Lee Oskar Natural Minor Harmonica:

These are every bit as comfortable and easy to play as a Hohner Special 20. The natural minor tuning opens up a lot of possibilities that aren't available on a Richter tuned diatonic. Minor key songs like Summertime and St. James Infirmary lay out beautifully on these harps, and you have a complete blues scale available without bending in 2nd position. The drawback is that you can't "chug" or play rhythm chords unless your song is in a minor key. But for minor key songs and minor or blues melodies, this harp is great.

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(44 of 73 customers found this review helpful)


Just when playing the harmonica was a bore...

Comments about Lee Oskar Natural Minor Harmonica:

After using up a dozen other brand harmonicas - good ones, but still - I think this company has the right idea - offer a fine harmonica AND sell you a little kit that teaches you how to repair them. Playing a minor harmonica is a blast! And it plays in four "cross keys" which is like having 3 more harmonicas. There is a whole new world of music to explore here. This harmonica plays as nice as my Hohner XB40, and can do just about anything even when it's in a neck holder. There are 2 Lee Oskar minors, this natural and a harmonic minor, so if you especially want a certain sound, you might check on which minor you are looking for. It's a pleasant step up in learning to play it.

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