Seydel Mountain Tremolo 80
#1
I am going to attempt to review my recently purchased Seydel Mountain Tremolo 80. Please keep in mind that any review is a personal experience from the reviewer. A different reviewer may have had a totally difference experience, so his/her review would be different. For example, I only began playing Oct. 10th 2014. While someone like HallelujahAl, who I suspect has many years of expereince, "well, you get my drift". So here goes:

Overall: A true masterpiece. I mean it just blew me away when I first held it in my hands and played a few notes. Huge WOW factor. The sad thing is it's only available in the keys of C/G (2 sided tremolo harmonica). I own several Swans, a Suzuki Humming & a Hohner Celeste. This Mountain 80 is by far my new favorite. I wouldn't hesitate to order an A/D if it was only available. Keep in mind that the cost of the Mountain 80 is quite a bit more than the others, so it should be better.

Price: US $89.00 plus $6.00 shipping from Seydelusa.com I only paid $48.00 to my door for a superb Suzuki Humming. Celeste & Swans around $20.00 each. As the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for". However, I am still a huge fan of the Swan Senior Performance.

Keys: Double sided tremolo only available in the keys of C & G. I have emailed Rupert at SeydelUSA to see if an A/D can be special ordered.

Size: 80 holes, 40 to a side. 20 notes each side. Length is 6 1/2 inches. Depth is almost 2 inches, so this is a rather large tremolo than what I am used to. Also heavier.

Box: This is a negative. One would think that an instrument of this quality would come with a nice case. Nope. Just a packing box. While I have gotten over this, a case would sure be nice. Even Swan furnishes a case for every harp they sell.

Physicality: Good strong plastic comb, very very impressive. Should last forever. I still haven't figured out what the covers are made of, but I believe sheet metal. Whatever it is, is sure looks great and feels strong. Should never have to worry about dents in the metal.
Four quality screws, two per side, hold it all together. Overall feel is very strong, like you have something "commercial" in your hands.
For me and my small mouth, I find the mouthpiece rather larger than my others. It does take "more mouth". I am getting used to it, but it does take some getting used to.

Tone & Tuning: Beyond excellent for the mid octave and the 1/2 upper octave, good for the lows and getting better all the time. The Seydel Mountain is Solo Tuned. This is important to know. In my simple way of explaining things, what this means is: The lower octave note layout and the four notes of the upper octave, are set up just as the middle octave. The middle octave on the Mountain Octave has the same note layout as my Humming and others.
Every note comes out smoothly without exception. Extremely easy to make single notes, easier than the excellent Humming, while no more easier than the Swans.
I read a post that John Broecker wrote somewhere in a forum that a friend of his, a professional tremolo performer, told him that the secret to playing tremolo is to just "put your mouth on the harp, open it up and blow". And I find this to be the case with the Mountain 80. I can sit for hours and just blow/draw, making up songs as I go, some not even songs, some songs I know on the dulcimer, just blowing and drawing like crazy, and for the most part it sounds great to my ears. The sounds of the Mountain 80 are just way too sweet, so clear, so bright, and on the G side so mellow. It's just crazy good. Blow.draw easy, medium, or hard, there are no scratchy sounds, always clear if blown or drawn correctly, which is easy to do on this tremolo harp. The Mountain 80 begs to be played with fun on your mind.

Downsides:
Mountain 80 is rather large. Takes more mouth. I don't know if this would be a problem with some of you big mouth guys. Other than the mouth deal, and no case, I find no other negatives.

Side note: I would like to thank John Broecker for introducing the Seydel Mountain Tremolo to me by earlier emails. He stated that this was his current favorite, the one that got attention the most. He took the time to explain to me and send info about the solo tuning. I figure with 56+ years of experience, teaching and playing, he must know what he's talking about. Thanks John! I love it.

Edit update: 02/23/2015 Recently the first blow hole of the middle octave started fluttering and the hole was not playable. I contacted Rupert Oysler at Seydel USA and he gave instructions to return it for repair. I did and within 10 days I have the Mountain 80 back in my hands. It appears that I won't be charged for this repair, probably since I just purchased it in the last 90 days. It plays perfectly and I am very very pleased with the service. This should give us all great confidence in Rupert and Seydel to assist us when necessary, without hassle.

The solo reed system of the Mountain 80 is reason enough to consider buying this tremolo harmonica, especially for beginners. The ease of playing is beyond good.
Reply
#2
Good review. I think you will learn to work the low notes better. You may need to open up your airway a bit and breath from the belly. Any constriction of airflow tends to make notes want to bend and this gets worse with the lower notes.

I have read that the reason for the combination of C/G or D/A is so the harp can be flipped for better chording, though I have never seen anyone actually do this. The most common chord progression in folk music is I IV V (Roman numerals 1 4 5). In the key of C these chords are C, F , and G. In the key of G these chords are G, C, and D. So the C and G chords are common to both keys and both keys share the same notes except for one. In theory you can play a tune and add chords and then flip the harp over to get the other chord and in many cases the correct notes also. On a Richter harp the two chords on the low end of a C harp are C and G. I do see people use both these chords and I do this myself on my 10 hole Richter diatonics. The I IV V in D are D, G, and A. In A the chords are A, D, and E. So both keys have the D and A chords in common and again the scales have the same notes except for one so often parts of a tune in D can be played on the A side and vice a versa. Double sided Echo harps come in even more combinations, such a F/Bb.
Reply
#3
Great review Terry and the mountain harp appears to have certainly grabbed you which is interesting, because I have only ever tried one and it must have been a dodgy one because the response and airtightness that I expected for that kind of money wasn't there. So it's good to get another perspective. Any chance you could do a demo for us? In fact I'm thinking that a video reviews section would be such a great resource for folks to dig into?
Best regards, AL
Life is a celebration, not a search for success!
Reply
#4
(01-01-2015, 10:10 PM)HallelujahAl Wrote: Great review Terry and the mountain harp appears to have certainly grabbed you which is interesting, because I have only ever tried one and it must have been a dodgy one because the response and airtightness that I expected for that kind of money wasn't there. So it's good to get another perspective. Any chance you could do a demo for us? In fact I'm thinking that a video reviews section would be such a great resource for folks to dig into?


Best regards, AL

Hey Al

I'll try my best in the next couple of days to do a SoundCloud. I'll have to get my son to help me.

Lack of response and lack of air tightness? Heck, you might be right. I maybe don't know enough to know better. I just know it sounds better than any other tremolo I own, and that includes a Humming. Was the one you tried out brand new or very used?
Reply
#5
German tremolo harps tend to be tuned wet. Asian ones tend to be tuned dry. Maybe that is the difference you are hearing. Here is a link to an article with sound clips.

http://www.patmissin.com/tunings/tun10.html
Reply
#6
One thing you mentioned, Terry, was that you spend time just blow and draw at any melody - not any song. I think this is great . I do it often and try to make a song of classical music. Strange how it develops your sense of rhythm . Of course, I can never repeat what I did. It was just nonsense, but fun.
Reply
#7
(01-02-2015, 08:21 AM)dezzy Wrote: One thing you mentioned, Terry, was that you spend time just blow and draw at any melody  -  not any song. I think this is great . I do it often and try to make a song of classical music. Strange how it develops your sense of rhythm . Of course, I can never repeat what I did. It was just nonsense, but fun.

Oh, I am a big fan of just playing all over the notes. I can't' help but believe that this practice helps my progress to play by ear. Huge fun factor.
Reply
#8
(01-02-2015, 02:40 AM)Rex Wrote: German tremolo harps tend to be tuned wet. Asian ones tend to be tuned dry. Maybe that is the difference you are hearing. Here is a link to an article with sound clips.

http://www.patmissin.com/tunings/tun10.html


Rex

Thanks a lot. Now we know. I believe my mountain 80 is very wet & my swans & humming lean toward being dry.
Reply
#9
Mini follow up review of Seydel Mountain Tremolo 80: Holy cow.......it's just getting broken-in fellows. I guess the old saying "you get what you pay for" stands true in this case. I love it, I love it, I love it. It's now getting 95% of my playing time.

While I am learning a few songs, what I really love to do is to just play "nothing", just blow and draw up and down the harp, making up words in my head to a "nothing" song. The notes on the Mountain 80 are just so true. It's just a joy and very addicting to spend quality time with this tremolo harmonica.

Yeah yeah.
Reply
#10
(01-01-2015, 04:35 PM)Rex Wrote: Good review. I think you will learn to work the low notes better. You may need to open up your airway a bit and breath from the belly. Any constriction of airflow tends to make notes want to bend and this gets worse with the lower notes.

I have read that the reason for the combination of C/G or D/A is so the harp can be flipped for better chording, though I have never seen anyone actually do this. The most common chord progression in folk music is I IV V (Roman numerals 1 4 5). In the key of C these chords are C, F , and G. In the key of G these chords are G, C, and D. So the C and G chords are common to both keys and both keys share the same notes except for one. In theory you can play a tune and add chords and then flip the harp over to get the other chord and in many cases the correct notes also. On a Richter harp the two chords on the low end of a C harp are C and G. I do see people use both these chords and I do this myself on my 10 hole Richter diatonics.  The I IV V in D are D, G, and A. In A the chords are A, D, and E. So both keys have the D and A chords in common and again the scales have the same  notes except for one so often parts of a tune in D can be played on the A side and vice a versa. Double sided Echo harps come in even more combinations, such a F/Bb.

Rex, I updated my review of the Mountain 80. After a couple of weeks getting use to it, the low notes are now coming alive. You were right, I did need to practice proper breathing.
Reply



Website Security Test