The HarmonicasterTM is the first practical electric harmonica. It works the same way an electric guitar works, with inductive pickups, only it has steel reeds instead of strings. Out of the box the HarmonicasterTM has a cool electric tone that will be new to your ears but it still sounds like a harmonica, not some kind of electronic gizmo, well, unless you want it to sound like some kind of electronic gizmo. Because it uses pickups instead of a microphone, it’s compatible with any kind of pedal or effects device that will work with an electric guitar or bass. That opens up a world of unlimited tonal possibilities. Another advantage over amplifying a microphone is that the HarmonicasterTM can play loudly without feedback. You can turn your amp all the way, or even get a bigger amp if you want, and under normal playing conditions, the HarmonicasterTM won’t feedback, even at maximum volume.
We say that it’s the first practical electric harmonica because every effort has been made to make it player-friendly. Based on Seydel diatonic harmonicas, it’s been designed to let you easily change keys in a dark nightclub. We even color coded the coverplates of our key cassettes (which also work just fine as acoustic harps) to make it easy to identify keys.
The HarmonicasterTM has two ways to hold it. The area of the main body where you hold it is actually slimmer than a traditional bullet style harp mic (59mm vs 63mm) and the front of the HarmonicasterTM has an extension shaped like a conventional harmonica, allowing you to use a traditional grip and hand effects like wahs and flutters.
Though it has, as harmonica master Brendan Power says, “a lot of kit packed into the little beast,” it still only weighs just a few grams more than a bullet mic with a pro-style harp, and unlike with a traditional cupped microphone, you’re not trying to hold two things in one hand.
There are onboard volume and tone controls tucked ergonomically on the bottom for fingertip control. You can even use the volume control for a vibrato effect or swells, like Telecaster players do with their little fingers.
Our reeds and harmonica components are supplied by Seydel of Klingenthal, Germany. Seydel is the oldest harmonica company in the world, the only company that still handmakes harmonicas in Germany, and the only manufacturer of harmonicas with stainless steel reeds.
The basic HarmonicasterTM comes with an A key cassette. The Electric Harmonica Company will be selling additional key cassettes (and sets) in Richter tuned major keys from Low C to F (low pitched keys use an alternate lower coverplate, with more clearance for the bass reeds to swing), but our system is also compatible with any of Seydel’s reedplates with their stainless steel reeds, including their solo tunings, alternate tunings and even reedplates configured with Seydel’s custom configurator. As Seydel expands their offerings of tunings with stainless steel reeds, the HarmonicasterTM will work with them as well.
We’re launching the HarmonicasterTM with Lace Sensor pickups, custom wound for us and voiced for harmonicas by Lace Music, one of the most innovative and respected pickup makers in the world. Lace has been supportive of the The HarmonicasterTM from the earliest days and we can’t adequately express our thanks. We can, however, say that Jeff Lace, Don Lace and their team have come up with one sweet sounding pickup.
All of that is packed into an attractive package that fits naturally in your hand. In addition to standard colors of black and silver, the The HarmonicasterTM is also available in 10 custom colors for a slight charge. Two-tone color schemes and body colored control knobs are also extra cost options.
The HarmonicasterTM is Made In The Motor City. It is assembled in the Detroit area from American and imported parts.
The HarmonicasterTM is a new thing and we know that it has possibilities to take you to musical places that we can’t even begin guess about. We’d like to let us join you on that journey.