Central to Oskar's design is a smooth plastic comb that doesn't swell like traditional wood combs.
The Traditional Blues Tuning
Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica with box
Model: 1910 - Labeled in 1st Position - Orange Label
Available in 16 Keys (Listed low to high):
Low E, Low F, Low F#, G, Ab, A, Bb, B, C, Db, D, Eb, E, F, F#, Hi G
The Major Diatonic is the standard Blues tuning and may be played in the 1st & 2nd Positions (Straight Harp & Cross Harp).
Understanding 1st & 2nd Positions
The Major Diatonic Harmonica was originally intended for playing simple Folk music of the nineteenth century and its notation layout was adequate for that purpose. The Major Diatonic harmonica is the most commonly used tuning for playing Blues, Rock, Country Folk & Jazz.
Several other manufacturers, using various names stamped on their cover plates, for marketing purposes, have the exact same notation layout as a Lee Oskar Major Diatonic harmonica.
The original style of playing, known as 1st Position (Straight Harp), is suitable for playing simple melodies, Folk music and various other types of music that call for melody lines, along with some chords. 1st Position (Straight Harp), is still used by many players today, but due to its simplicity of sound, it is not as popular as 2nd Position (Cross Harp).
The evolution of music introduced Blues, Rock and Country and along with these new forms of music came the need for greater expression. Harmonica players began to experiment and found that when they primarily used the inhale (draw) notes, a different kind of sound was provided. This resulted in a new and more fluid style of playing, known as 2nd Position (Cross Harp). 90% of today's players use 2nd Position for Blues, Rock, Country & Pop music.
2nd Position (Cross Harp), is a Blues scale that offers a more expressive and soulful sound. Many of the draw reeds can be bent (a technique used to change the pitch of a note).
More Keys and Modes
Lee's innovation didn't stop with a better-designed harp. Recognizing the need for harmonicas tuned in other than the major and natural minor diatonic scales, he introduced the Melody Maker and Harmonic Minor series that make it easier to play melodies difficult if not impossible to play with a standard diatonic harmonica. Another indication of Oskar's hard-won knowledge as a touring pro: Each harp is clearly marked in bright white on both ends with its first- and second-position (straight and cross-harp) keys. Each harmonica box is color-coded according to its series and also displays its key prominently. If you've ever struggled to find the right harp on a darkened stage, you will appreciate this simple yet essential touch.