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Comparing the Manji, Session Steel, and Kongsheng Soloist

I use a wider variety of makes and models of diatonic harmonicas than most players, because I try new models as they’re introduced, more or less, so at one time or another I’ve owned at least one of everything. I’ve had Suzuki Manji and Seydel Session Steel Bb diatonics for a while now, and last week I picked up a Kongsheng Soloist in the same key. Seems like a good opportunity to do a side by side comparison, and that’s what you get in the audio clip below. Enjoy.


Update: I replaced the orange comb in my Bb Session Steel (a comb I have always hated) with a new factory comb in purple. I know it’s supposed to be the same comb, only a different color, but I really think the instrument plays differently now. One thing I know is that none of the harmonica comb makers are making upgraded combs for the Session Steel–believe me, I’ve looked. Undoubtedly that’s because the plates on that harp are recessed into the comb, which makes it harder for a customizer to exceed the air-tightness of the original. Or so I think. In any case, the comb on the session Steel is not upgradeable.




3-harp comparison: Manji, Kongsheng Soloist, Session Steel



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4 replies on “Comparing the Manji, Session Steel, and Kongsheng Soloist”

Hi Richard,
Blue Moon Harmonicas makes upgraded combs and they come in 4 or 5 different material. They are for the recessed reed plates and are very flat.

3 fantastic harps , each have unique voices, can’t have too may harps right! For me I’m going to get a kongsheng, hard to believe Chinese harps are that good, but I hear kongshen make Suzuki these days.

Solist is so responsive and you can hear the way you had to regulate the air when you play with.
I have Manjis and Solist.
Solist is more responsive by far.

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