Hey folks,

I've been playing a Suzuki Folkmaster for the last month or so. I've gotten to the point where I'm ready for an upgrade. The Folkmaster takes ALOT of breath; so much breath that you can hear my breath when playing at low or medium volume (maybe this is what people mean by leaky?) and the upper register sticks alot. It could be my playing, but I suspect it's the harp. I'm working through Winslow's Harmonica for Dummies, and the upper register songs are WAY more difficult to play then the middle register ones. Holes 8-10 just don't like me.

I've read way too much about harmonicas at this point, and have narrowed things down a bit. I was thinking originally of getting either a Suzuki Harpmaster or a Seydel Blues Session. The Suzuki Harpmaster would likely be similar to what I have now, but of playable quality. Having the Seydel would give me the opportunity to contrast several harmonica qualities with what I have (cover shape, intonation, bigger size, and recessed reedplates). Intuitively, I am more drawn to the Equal Temperament and traditional sandwich look of the Harpmaster, but as a newbie this is pure conjecture.

Clearly I'm already overthinking this. And then I see all this stuff about Easttop harmonicas. Now I'm wondering if one of their models would be better than the two listed above. Including Easttop's sub $35 models, my list now looks like this:

  1. Suzuki Harpmaster
  2. Seydel Blues Session
  3. Easttop T008k (riveted version)
  4. Easttop T008L (welded version)
  5. Easttop T008S (Welded w/ silver coverplates)

I realize that many are saying the T008k and T008L are the best for the money, but if we were to ignore the price difference, are they actually better than the Suzuki or Seydel?

Ugh. Paradox of choice. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that it will make little difference.