sexta-feira, 10 de setembro de 2010

Richard Hunter e o preço das gaitas

Os emails do Richard Hunter no harp-l geralmente valem a lista inteira...

I have a half dozen Manjis.  They play well in general.  If you like overblowing, they're gapped well out of the box (meaning tightly).  If you prefer to play hard, you will probably need to open the gaps.  My biggest argument with the Manjis is the cover plates, which are too flimsy and can be damaged simply by carrying the harp in a pocket without the case.  (Bent cover plates leak air.)  That's not cool.

I have owned several Firebreaths.  I loved the tone and general responsiveness.  I stopped using them because every Firebreath I owned experienced a catastrophic reed failure, usually within 10 hours of first play.  That was too bad, because those harps sounded great and were fun to play.

I like the MB Deluxe.  It's loud and responsive, and the covers are substantial.  I haven't tried a Crossover.

You didn't mention Seydel harps, but they're surely worth considering.  The Blues Soloist Pro retails for around $35, and it's a good harp, though again the covers are flimsy.

I bought a Golden Melody recently for the first time in over a decade, and found it to be a responsive harp with a lot of punch for soloing, easy to overblow too.

Finally, Lee Oskars are consistently even in response from top to bottom.  I especially like LO Natural Minors, which make big, beautiful sounds throughout their range.  LOs in general are also extremely durable.

I think the big questions for me, maybe other players too, right now are: are the harps retailing in the $45-55 range significantly better than the ones selling in the $35 range?  Let alone the custom harps selling for $85 and up.  And the Harrisons selling for $200 a pop.  I feel pretty good right now about the sounds I'm getting from harps in the $35-55 range.  If I was paying a lot more than that, I'd expect, in this order:
- something a lot louder
- something a lot more responsive, meaning I could play faster with better articulation
- something a lot more durable.

That's what "better" means to me.

FYI, I bought a Seydel Deluxe chromatic at SPAH, which I understand uses the same valve material as their Saxony top-of-the-line chromatic.  I'm really looking forward to playing a chromatic whose valves don't buzz.  Valves that don't buzz equals better for sure where chromatics are concerned.

Regards, Richard Hunter

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