Lee Oskar 1910NDM Natural Minor Harmonica in Key of Dm
Even if you don't recognize Lee Oskar by name, if you've listened to pop radio much, you've probably heard his highly personal mouth harp style on War hits like "The Cisco Kid," "Low Rider," and "Why Can't We Be Friends." Oskar's staccato phrasing and uncanny tone — put to great use blowing horn-like unison riffs with saxman Charles Miller—gave War's funky stew of Latino, Caribbean, African, jazz, rock, and R&B elements a distinctive lead voice. This was especially true after the departure of vocalist Eric Burdon. The former Animals singer had been a focal point for War on early hits like "Spill The Wine." The band's eclectic and fluent mix of genres proved a rich fount leading to a string of '70s and '80s hits, usually with Oskar's distinctive harp riffs providing the signature sound.
Natural Minor harps have a very bluesy, soulful sound that's perfect for playing blues, rock, country, reggae, pop, and jazz. This fabulous tuning is set up to play tunes in minor keys easily without straining the lips, the lungs, or the mind! All of the notes and chords that are missing on major diatonic harps are right there on the Natural Minor. Natural Minors are designed to be played in cross harp (draw), not straight harp (blow) position. In cross harp, many of the draw notes can be bent and this allows for a much more expressive, fluid style of playing. Cross harp is a very popular style used by most players for today's music.
Built in Japan to his exacting standards and incorporating new techniques and materials, it was in 1983 that Lee Oskar introduced his new harmonica. The radically different harp design grew out of Lee's frustration with the lack of quality and consistency in the mouth harps of the day. The design also benefited from Oskar's insights as a seasoned recording and touring pro.