Born in 1948 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Lee Oskar grew up in a time where everyone played a harmonica. Determined to forge a career playing his instrument, at 18 he moved to and worked the streets of New York. Making his way to Los Angeles, he met the British blues-rock singer Eric Burdon who had recently disbanded “The Animals”. Together Oskar and Burdon played at many of the LA clubs and eventually hooked up with other musicians to form the rock-blues-soul group “War”. Oskar’s harmonica was always a key element to the unique sound of “War”.
In 1983 Lee Oskar formed a company to make high quality harmonicas. He manufactured harmonicas to suit blues, folk, rock, R&B and country tunings. His radical new design was born of years of frustration with the fragility and inconsistency of the current range of harmonicas available and as a touring pro, he needed not only beautiful tone but also reliability from his harps.
The new design had a new style of plastic comb that was not able to swell and distort like the traditional wood combs. The plastic combs were easier to clean and also, as an extra, were smoother so they wouldn't tear the players lips! Their overall design was also more rounded, had slightly wider reed beds so air leakage was minimised allowing for smoother, faster and louder playing. The corrosion-proof, stainless steel cover means these harps just keep blowing and blowing and blowing.
Lee didn't stop there. He needed harps in keys other than major and natural minor diatonic scales, he also gave us the Melody Maker and Harmonic Minor series to play those melodies impossible to create on a standard harp.
Even little details weren't over looked. All the harps have both their first and second position (straight and cross harp) keys printed in vivid white on both ends. Perfect for finding the correct harp on a darkened stage.
That's why so many musicians choose Lee Oskar harmonicas. They know every time they pick them up how consistent the sound will be. They are going to be comfortable to play for long periods. Plus they're loud, so beautifully loud.
Selby stock the Major Diatonic range, also known as the “Orange Label” which is the “Blues” harmonica. This is the traditional standard tuning for playing Blues, Folk, Rock, Country and Pop and is available in keys A, B, C, D, E, F, G.