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Seydel Session Steel vs Session Standard

Seydel may not be as famous as its Trossingen based compatriot, Hohner, but it has been producing harmonicas in Germany since the beginning of the 19th Century. After 40 years of Communist state ownership, the company was returned to private hands in the early 1990s, and now produces a wide range of harmonicas, primarily with stainless steel reeds.

The Session Standard (sometimes known as the Blues Session) and the Session Steel are both modern looking blues harps with ABS combs, recessed reed plates and full length cover plates. Tuning is modern compromise and parts are interchangeable between the two harps, as they share a common architecture.

Where they differ is in the reed plates (and, as a consequence of this, the price); the Session uses traditional brass reeds, whereas the Session Steel, as the name suggests, uses stainless steel reeds. The only other differences are cosmetic – a black comb on the Standard and an orange one on the Steel. Because stainless steel is a more expensive material, there is a significant hike in price for the Session Steel compared with the Session Standard. This said, the Session Standard is particularly inexpensive for a German made diatonic, and represents one of the cheapest entry points to quality diatonic harmonicas.

Stainless steel has a few advantages over brass: it doesn’t tarnish, is more durable and imparts harmonicas with a distinctive bright tone. It’s main downsides are that bends can initially be trickier until the harp has been played in, the harmonica and replacement reed plates are more expensive, and very aggressive players can snap the reeds as they are more likely to break with extreme use than bend as brass does. For most players, however, they will get 50% to 100% more longevity out of the Session Steel when compared with the Session Standard, helping to offset some of the additional cost.

The Session Steel also has the added advantage that it can be ordered in a wide range of alternative keys and tunings, from Wilde Rock to Paddy Richter – something that is not possible with the Standard.

However, it should be noted that, as the Standard and Steel share the same design, any of the Session Steel’s reed plates can be used on the Standard, effectively upgrading the harp to a Session Steel for around 60% of the cost of a new harp.

Seydel Session Steel Harmonica - Richter
Seydel Session Standard Harmonica
Harmonica NameSeydel Session Steel Harmonica - RichterSeydel Session Standard Harmonica
Harmonica TypeDiatonic HarmonicaDiatonic Harmonica
Number of Holes1010
Comb MaterialPlasticPlastic
Number of Reeds2020
Spare Reeds Available?YesYes
Musical StylesBlues, Rock, Pop, FolkBlues, Rock, Pop, Folk
Available KeysA, B Flat, D, Low F, G, C, F, E, B, E Flat, F Sharp, D Flat, A Flat, Low E, Low D, Low F Sharp, Low E Flat, Low D Flat, Low CA, B Flat, D, Low F, G, C, F, E, B, E Flat, G High, F Sharp, D Flat, A Flat, Low E, Low D, Low F Sharp, Low E Flat
Price from£38.99£28.99
View details & BuyView details & Buy
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