Suzuki's latest 10-hole diatonic combines features from their best selling Promaster diatonic and from the comparatively recent Manji. The first thing that strikes you upon taking the harmonica from its nifty drawstring pouch is the beautiful metallic olive green finish of the covers - a finish applied directly to the stainless steel, so there is no paint to wear through or flake off (the picture above really doesn't do it justice - you really need to see one of these in person). The covers are shaped like those of the Promaster and feel both sturdy and comfortable in the hand and the mouth. The reedplates are 0.8mm plated brass with spot-welded phosphor bronze reeds, secured with 8 Phillips head screws. The comb is similar to that used on the Manji, a composite of resin and wood fibres, the only difference being that the Olive's comb is dark coloured.
The sample I have here is in the key of C and plays extremely well. Reed adjustment is very good and the close tolerances between reed and slot give a nice crisp response and bright clear tone. Bent notes require very little effort and all the overblows are right there straight out of the box - even the hole 7 overdraw was nice and strong, which I find to be rare on a stock harmonica. With very little tweaking, this could be a superb overblow instrument. It is tuned to a compromise temperament, with holes 2, 5 and 8 blow and 3, 5, 6 and 9 draw tuned a little lower, the rest of the harp tuned to equal temperament at around A=444Hz. The Olive is available in all 12 major keys, plus Low F and High G and the list price in the US is $89.99, with the street price being about 2/3 of that. Another very welcome addition to the ever-increasing range of quality diatonic harmonicas.
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