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Playing Chromatically

The Suzuki Overdrive MR300

US Price: $44.95 (on - European price: 55 € (on

Tested model: Overdrive in the key of C.

This new design was delivered by Suzuki some years ago. The idea is that each reed has a specific chamber leading to a hole on the outside of the cover. The player can then block that hole in order to block the associated reed.

Thanks to these chambers, the overblow can be easily obtained by blocking the blow reed. It is important to note that it only eases the overblow and that the player still has to adapt its mouth and its breathing in order to make the note sound.

Another application is to block the draw note while blowing (on the lower side of the harp) and obtain something similar to the valved bends (bend the blow note one semitone).

This harp is very well built and incredibly airtight (with only two screws to fix the reedplates!) and loud out of the box. Its sound is very rich and can be easily shaped but not really to our taste. This is the best factory harp we've ever played.

But blocking the holes with the fingers can be pretty awkward, especially while holding a mike. It is for example quite easy to inadvertently block some holes while playing, resulting in an unanticipated blank in the musical phrase.

In our opinion, the Suzuki Overdrive is useful to discover the overblows and the valved bends but can't really be used to deliver real music.

For more information on what to do with the Suzuki Overdrive, read the very interesting article by Pat Missin.

Laurent Vigouroux