Tested model: out of the box Seydel Blues Solist
Pro 12 in the key of C and A
Good concepts got to be re-invented. And, when
possible, enhanced. This is the case here with this Hohner SBS
The Hohner SBS (SBS standing for Steve Baker Special) is basically
a big bluesharp (the one with the long reeds and great depth
in sound) with an added low octave, tuned as the standard bluesharp
low octave but lower. As Hohner uses the basis of the Marine
Band 364, a fourteenth hole is present, while 13 holes would
have been enough for the concept. The main idea is to provide
the player with enhanced low chugging, while keeping the regular
Richter tuning for the rest of the harp. Great idea for sure,
but the Hohner instrument is too big (we're far from the standard
bluesharp shape) and clearly not suited for overblows.
Seydel probably went to the same conclusion and designed the
Blues Solist Pro 12.
As its name indicates, the harp is based on the Blues Solist
Pro, the new Seydel Sealed Wood harp, with the addition of 2
The tuning is the same as the 12 first holes of the SBS. We
find a first low octave of 3 holes, then the standard low octave
of 3 holes, then the standard medium octave of 4 holes and finally
an incomplete high octave with 2 holes instead of 3. As a result,
the highest hole of the standard bluesharp is missing.
The finition is superb. Every edge has been rounded,
the harp is a pleasure to look at and hold.
The shape really is the standard bluesharp one,
just a bit longer. So the harp is smaller than the SBS and very
easy to cup.
In terms of playability, the Solist Pro 12 shares
the same characteristics as the Solist Pro. It is very airtight,
the sound's great and the overblows comes very easilybut tend
to produce a high pitch vibration at very low volume.
We have tried two tuning: Low A and Low C. The
Low A is SO low (one octave lower than the SBS). To achieve
that, Seydel had to counter-weight the low reeds using tin-solder
and add valves on them. This is simply great. A real joy to
play rhythms in the very low octave and suddenly switch to the
regular tuning to play a melody.
For me this is the SBS of the 21rst century. With
this harp, Seydel keeps on innovating and should be praised
- Sealed wooden comb instrument.
- Superb finition
- Very airtight and easy to bend. Overblows on 4, 5 and 6
out of the box.
- This low octave!!!
- A hole is missing in the high octave (the 10th hole of a
- The overblows tend to produce a high pitch vibration at
very low volume.