Seydel Harmonicas – Buyers’ Guide

In our series of buyers’ guides we look at the various models produced by the major harmonica manufacturers. This time it’s the turn of German brand, Seydel, or to use its full name, CA Seydel and Sohne.

A Long History

Back in the late 90s and early 2000s I had the good fortune to work in the then nascent dotcom industry. At the time, amongst the overspending on parties, table tennis tables in the board room (yes, really) and other frivolities, there was a great deal of talk about the advantages of being the first to market in a given area. This was thought to be the key to unlocking significant venture capital cash, which would subsequently be blown through at a rate usually reserved for the wives of Premiership footballers.

The evidence that being first to market could be correlated with long term success however, proved to be illusory. Few people today will have anything other than a distant memory of early search engines, such as HotBot or Excite; fewer still may recall using the music sharing service, Napster,  yet these were the early icons of the internet.

Seydel, on the other hand, has managed to buck this trend. It may not be the largest manufacturer of harmonicas, but it is certainly the oldest extant one, with a date of establishment that is earlier, even, than their compatriots, Hohner. The date of their incorporation, in fact, is hard to ignore, given that they produce a whole host of harmonicas featuring the requisite year – 1847 – as their prefix.

Let’s take a look at the various models and help you to determine which ones best suit your needs.

Seydel Diatonic Range

Session Standard

Seydel Session Standard Harmonica

This is the entry point to Seydel’s harmonicas. Unlike many of the other major manufacturers, Seydel doesn’t outsource production to China, so, although this entry level harmonica is priced higher than the base models from many of Seydel’s rivals, it’s made in Germany and should be viewed as equivalent to a Hohner Special 20 or Rocket rather than cheaper harps, such as the Blues Band.

It’s similar in construction to the pricier Session Steel, with a plastic comb and stainless steel covers, but unlike the Session Steel it features brass, rather than stainless steel, reeds. A great introduction to Seydel harmonicas, and keenly priced, given the quality.

Session Antique

Seydel Session Antique Harp

This is a variant of the Session with ‘antique -coated’ (bronze/brown coloured) cover plates. Otherwise identical.

Solist Pro

Seydel Solist Pro Harmonica

Unlike other Seydel models at this price, the Solist pro has a wood, rather than plastic, comb. The comb itself is treated to multiple coats of sealant to mitigate against swelling, and features half flat stainless steel covers. Reeds are brass.

Session Steel

Seydel Session Steel Blues Harmoncia

The Session Steel ups the ante a little with Seydel’s signature stainless steel reeds. Seydel claims that these can last up to five times longer than some brass reeds. Whilst we’ve not empirically test this assertion, we have received plenty of positive feedback from customers on the longevity of these harps. Also available in a Summer Edition, which features a new colour of comb for each year of release. Many players like to pick up a new Summer Edition model in a different key each year, as it enables them to build a set in which the keys are easily distinguishable from each other by the comb colours.

Orchestra S

Seydel Orchestra S Harmonica

Although the Orchestra S shares a similar construction with the Session Steel, it is solo tuned, with the note layout being similar to that of a chromatic harmonica. This makes it particularly suited to playing melodies.


Seydel Favorite Harmonica

The Favorite is similar to the Session Steel, with stainless steel reeds, but replaces the plastic comb with an anodized aluminium one, giving a clear, bright tone.

1847 Classic

Seydel 1847 Classic Blues Harmonica

This harmonica harks back to Seydel’s first production diatonic with stainless steel reeds, but updates it with modern precision manufacturing techniques. The maple comb is coated with multiple layers of sealant and the cover is made of extra strong stainless steel sheet.

1847 Silver

Seydel 1847 Silver Blues Harmonica

Shares many of the features of the Classic, but with a plastic, rather than maple, comb and silver reeds.

1847 Noble

Seydel 1847 Noble Blues Harmonica

This updates the Classic with an aluminium comb and an optimised cover plate design.

One70 Anniversary

To celebrate the 170th anniversary of Seydel, this harp takes the Noble’s construction and adds gold plated covers.

Seydel Octave/Tremolo Range

Club Octave

Seydel CLUB Octave Harmonica

Plastic comb, 40 brass reeds and a curved shaped for playability. Available only in C.

Concerto Solo 40 Octave

Seydel Concerto Solo 40 Harmonica

Richter tuned, 10 hole, 40 reed octave harmonica with a plastic comb and brass reeds.

Sailor Steel Tremolo

24 hole tremolo harmonica with stainless steel reeds. Plastic comb and German silver reed plates.

Skydiver Steel Tremolo

Seydel Skydiver Steel Tremolo Harmonica

Solo tremolo tuned harmonica which provides three complete octaves, making it particularly suited to playing melodies. Plastic comb, stainless steel reeds.

Seydel Chromatic Range

Deluxe Chromatic

Seydel Chromatic De Luxe Harmonica

12 hole, 48 note chromatic harp featuring an acrylic comb, brass reeds and stainless steel cover plates. Available in a number of keys.

Chromatic Deluxe Steel

Seydel Chromatic De Luxe Steel Harmonica

Not to be confused with the Deluxe Chromatic, this 12 hole, 48 note harp uses a CNC milled acrylic comb, stainless steel reeds and a silver plated mouthpiece. Available in a wide range of keys, and can be ordered in solo or orchestra C tuning.


Seydel Saxony Chromatic Harmonica

Professional level 12 hole chromatic harp. German silver reed plates, stainless steel reeds and an aluminium comb for a clear and bright sound. Available in a range of keys and can be order in solo or Orchestra C tuning.


Seydel Symphony ACRYL Grand Chromatic case

This sits at the top of Seydel’s chromatic range, and has a stunning array of features, including a case that plugs into a USB port or a vehicle’s power point and heats the harmonica to the optimum temperature for playing. The recessed reedplates are precision cut from anti-corrosive German silver, and the 64 stainless steel reeds are hand tuned. The valves have less adhesive than conventional ones, which facilitates precise control. The slider, made from 1mm German Silver, has an ergonomically convex-shaped, silver coated slider button with a soft surface. Available with an acrylic or aluminium comb.

Seydel Custom Tunings

Many of Seydel’s harmonicas are available in custom tunings, including Paddy Richter, PowerBender, PowerDraw and Orchestra C.  For an explanation of these different tunings have a look at our guide here: Harmonica Tunings Explained


Suzuki Harmonicas – Buyers’ Guide

In our series of buyers’ guides we look at the product ranges of the major harmonica manufacturers and explain the differences between models. This time it’s the turn of Japanese brand, Suzuki.

Not a Motorbike Manufacturer

In the US and Britain in the 1970s, the conglomerate reigned supreme. Companies like ITT were so diversified that their interests could include such bizarrely dissimilar areas as baked goods, telephony and forest products.

By the 1980s, this level of diversification had become deeply unfashionable, and most western companies divested themselves of their more outlandish subsidiaries in order to focus on their core competencies.

This trend towards ‘focus only on what you’re good at’ did not, however, have much effect in Japan, where the keiretsu – a set of companies with interlocking shareholdings, which, in many ways resemble conglomerates – is still the pre-eminent type of major corporation.

It’s slightly surprising, then, to find that Suzuki Musical Instruments is not part of a keiretsu itself and has no connection with Suzuki Motors. Unlike one of Japan’s other musical instrument manufacturers – Yamaha – which is part of a larger company producing a mystifyingly large range of products, from motorbikes to pianos, Suzuki is a standalone company that focuses on instruments alone. And its most popular instrument (and the one with which its name was made) just happens to be the harmonica.

A Brief History

Manji Suzuki, the founder of the company, began making Suzuki harmonicas by hand, more than 70 years ago, in a small rented room in Sumiyoshi. The business expanded rapidly in the immediate post-war period, helped to some extent by the Japanese Ministry of Education’s policy of stipulating the use of simple, low cost harmonicas to teach music in primary and secondary schools.

The 1960s saw the company diversify a little with production of the keyboard harmonica, which again proved exceptionally popular in the education sector. This experience with keyboard-based instruments partially influenced Suzuki’s decision to acquire the Hammond Organ Company in 1989, which it still owns today.

Suzuki in 2017 produces a range of musical instruments, from xylophones to electric pianos, but it’s probably safe to say that the harmonica remains the instrument for which it is most famous. Let’s take a look at its range and explain the fundamental differences between models.

Diatonic Suzuki Harmonicas

 Easy Rider (EZR-20)

Suzuki Easy Rider Diatonic Harmonica

This is a very reasonably priced, Chinese-made diatonic harmonica designed for the entry level market. Despite its low price it is robust and durable. Available in C, D and G.

Manji (M-20)

Suzuki Manji Diatonic Harmonica

The Manji is a Japanese-made, mid to upper-end diatonic harmonica, which is available in a large range of keys and tunings, including natural minor and country.

The wood/resin composite comb combines the tonal qualities of a wooden comb with the non-absorbency features and durability of a plastic comb. The reeds are high quality phosphor bronze. A very high quality harp for those looking for the resonance and feel of a wooden comb but without the potential swelling issues.

Blues Master (MR-250)

Suzuki Bluesmaster Diatonic Harmonica

The Blues Master is the equivalent Suzuki model to the Hohner Special 20 and hits a similar price point.

Made in Japan with an ABS plastic comb and phosphor bronze reeds, it’s ideally suited, as the name suggests, to blues playing, and allows easy bending of notes. Available in 12 major keys.

Folk Master (1072)

Suzuki Folkmaster Diatonic Harmonica

This is another entry level harmonica, manufactured in China and featuring laser tuned reeds and a moulded plastic body. This harp has a particularly mellow tone, which makes it most suitable for folk and country music. Available in 12 major keys.

Harp Master MR-200

Suzuki Harpmaster Diatonic HR200

The Harp Master sits slightly below the Blues Master in the Suzuki range, but features a similar construction and, like the Blues Master, is made in Japan. The main difference is the brass reeds on the Harp Master, which lend it subtly different tonal qualities. Available in 12 major keys.

Pro Master (MR-350)

Suzuki Promaster Harp MR-250

This is one of Suzuki’s most popular models. Featuring an aluminium alloy comb that gives it a unique sound and response. Available in 12 major keys plus high G and low F. Made in Japan.

Pro Master Valved (MR-350V)

Suzuki Promaster Valved Harmonica MR-350V

Featuring the same construction as the standard Pro Master, but with a valve system which circulates air to allow note bending in the blow as well as the draw cycle. Made in Japan and available in 12 major keys as well as high G and low F.

Pro Master Gold Valved (MR-350GV)

This harp features the same design and construction as the MR-250V, but the cover has been gold plated for a uniquely opulent look. Made in Japan and available in 12 major keys as well as high G and low F.

Pure Harp (MR-550)

Suzuki Pure Harp Diatonic Harmonica
This is a relatively new all hardwood model from Suzuki. The comb and cover are constructed from rosewood, which is a rare and exotic wood more commonly seen on high end guitars and violins. The result is a rich, warm sound that’s quite different from harmonicas that use the more traditional metal and pearwood, or metal and plastic construction. Made in Japan and available in 12 major keys as well as high G and low F.

FireBreath (MR-500)

Features a rosewood comb for a warm, bluesy sound, but has the same body as the MR350, which facilitates tongue blocking. Made in Japan and available in 12 major keys as well as high G and low F.

Overdrive (MR-300)

Suzuki Overdrive Harmonica MR-300

The Overdrive has a design that is unique to Suzuki: it has separate air holes at the back of the case that when blocked with a finger increase air flow over the reeds, making it easier to overblow and overbend. Made in Japan and available in 12 major keys as well as high G and low F.

Suzuki Pipe Humming

This chrome plated harmonica has a unique design that enables vibrato via the use of an extension tube that can be switched for left or right-handed playing.

Made in Japan and available in 8 keys (C, C#, A, G, D, Am, Gm, and Dm).

Suzuki Fabulous F20E and F20J

These two models are at the upper end of Suzuki’s diatonic range. The F20E is tuned to equal temperament, whilst the F20J is tuned to just temperament. The latter tuning is beloved of folk players and some blues players due to the very full sounding chords it enables.

These harps both feature silver-plated brass combs and cases and phosphor bronze reeds. As expected at this price point, the build quality is extremely high and the tolerances supremely precise. Made in Japan and available in 12 major keys as well as high G and low F.

Suzuki Olive (C-20)

Suzuki Olive C-20 Harmonica

This is the sister harmonica to the Manji, and features the same composite comb. The main difference is the Pro Master style cover plates, which lend it a clear, warm sound, most suited to pop and jazz styles. Made in japan and available in 14 major keys.

Chromatic Suzuki Harmonicas


Suzuki Chromatix SCX-48 Harmonica

This chromatic harp is available in a range of sizes, from 12 to 16 holes. Featuring an ABS body and chrome-plated brass cover plates, it’s precision made in Japan and is extremely airtight.


This range of harps, available in a number of configurations, from 12 to 16 holes, is a step up in price from the Chromatix. Based on the Fabulous design, it has a warm and expressive sound. Made in Japan.


 This is one of Suzuki’s top end chromatic models and has the quality and feel that matches its price. The cover plates and body are silver plated brass and the mouthpiece is gold plated. Made in Japan and available in 12, 14 and 16 hole models.

Grégoire Maret Signature Models

These two models share the same design, but differ in their construction. The G48 features brass coverplates,whilst the G48W uses rosewood for a subtly richer sound and a different feel in the hand. Made in Japan.

Suzuki SCT-128 Chromatic Tremolo

This is a 16 hole tremolo/chromatic hybrid, with a gold-plated mouthpiece, chrome plated brass cover plates and an ABS body. The reeds are phosphor bronze. Made in Japan.

Tremolo Suzuki Harmonicas

Humming Mate

This is a pocket-sized tremolo harmonica with 13 double holes, an ABS body and stainless steel cover plates. Made in Japan.

Winner Series

Suzuki Winner 20 W-20 Harmonica

These popular entry level tremolo harmonicas are available in 16, 20 and 24 double hole sizes and feature ABS bodies and stainless steel cover plates.

 SU Series

 The SU Series is available in a wide range of sizes and configurations, including an ‘M’ model with a maple comb for a vintage sound and feel. Cover plates are either stainless steel or chrome plated brass.

 SBH-21 Baritone

 This tremolo harmonica is pitched one octave lower than the standard 21 hole instruments, giving it unusual warmth and depth. Features an ABS body with brass cover plates. Available ion C and C#.