Aside from some special limited edition items, it's been a while since we've seen any new harmonicas from Lee Oskar, so it was a very pleasant surprise to learn that he is bringing out some more harps in low keys. The first keys to be added to the range will be Low F# and Low E, with Low D to follow a little later. Low D is obviously going to be a useful addition to any harmonica player's tool kit and Low F# will be handy for those who play with guitarists who like to tune down by a semitone. Low E will allow you to play those Jimmy Reed style upper octave first position licks against a guitar shuffle in E and will be a little easier on the ear than the upper octave of a regular E harp.
The samples I got to try were very impressive, with a nice crisp response to both soft and hard playing pressures. They all have the deeper lower covers that help avoid rattling draw reeds in the lowest octave and bright, clear tone of the Lee Oskar reed design helps them cut through the mix a little better than some other low tuned harps. The fine tuning of these harmonicas is a little different from how Lee Oskars have been usually tuned, with a compromise temperament that noticeably smoothes out the chords, whilst avoiding too much deviation from standard equal temperament. The Low F# and Low E will be available later this year, with the Low D following by early 2019. More keys should follow before too long, along with replacement reedplates. These will all be priced the same as the rest of the Lee Oskar range and available from the usual dealers.
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