Tested model: Turboharps in the keys of G and
This is a customized harp, based on the Hohner
Special 20, with new covers (Turbolid) and a patented plate
(called Turboliner) fixed on the reedplates in order to reduce
air leakage on the side of the reeds. It exists in two settings:
the Folk/Blues with standard gapping and the Overblow with a
reduced gapping and Turbotape to reduce the "dog-whistle"
problem (see PH issue
4 for more explanations).
The first thing we notice with this harp is its
look: a shape similar to the CX-10 but asymetrical. It is easy
to handle and the opening on the back of the cover is easy to
cup hermetically. The resulting sound is very sweet.
The overblows come easily, even on the key of G which is one
of the most difficult keys to overblow. A good overblower can
sustain them without any problem and even apply vibrato.
Another big advantage of the Turbolid is that it give easy
and instant access to the reedplates, which is perfect when
one wants to regap the harp.
- Customized instrument. Very airtight, responsive and easy
to bend. Bends are really stable and good sounding.
- Overblows are clean and can be sustained (no problem for
- The Turbolid allows a great cupping.
- The sound is very smooth.
- The look is great.
- The mouthpiece is bigger than that of a standard diatonic,
similar to that of a CX-10 but smaller.It has not bothered
us at all but could annoy other players (particularly pure
- The sound could be considered muffled by some players. Not
really a drawback, rather a matter of taste.
In our opinion, the AX-S20 is a customized harp
that makes chromatic playing reachable. The main problems
inherent in the overblows are drastically reduced, allowing
a good overall sound and a rather good expressivity. And these
harps are so small that one can bring them anywhere!