Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Bertram Becher interview

March 29, 2022 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 58
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Bertram Becher interview
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Bertram Becher joins me on episode 58. 

Bertram is the Product Manager at Seydel harmonicas. He first landed this dream job when he made a name for himself by creating a software tutorial called The Interactive Blues Harp Workshop. 

Bertram tells us about the history of Seydel and how their use of stainless steel reeds led to the creation of the ‘new’ Seydel around 2007. As Product Manager for harmonicas he has a very varied role, including creating web pages, selecting pitches for tunings and helping customers directly with their harmonica needs. And being the harp player in the Boogielicious band, Bertram understands the needs of the gigging harmonica player.

Bertram then talks us through the range of harmonicas offered by Seydel, including the diatonic, chromatics and tremolos, as well as other offerings from the oldest harmonica manufacturer around today.


Links:

Seydel website:
https://www.seydel1847.de

Bertram’s band:
http://www.boogielicious.de

Seydel Artists Page:
https://www.seydel1847.de/Artists/en

Mundharmonica Live festival:
https://mundharmonika-live.de

Seydel Open:
https://www.seydel1847.de/Artists/en/SEYDEL-open

Little W effects pedal:
https://www.pedaltree.de/shop/pedals/little-w.-harmonica-boost/

Videos:
Doug Tate playing at NHL 2003: (I think on an original Renaissance harmonica)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmH8ZKozwlc


Podcast website:
https://www.harmonicahappyhour.com

Donations:
If you want to make a voluntary donation to help support the running costs of the podcast then please use this link (or visit the podcast website link above):
https://paypal.me/harmonicahappyhour?locale.x=en_GB

Spotify Playlist:
Also check out the Spotify Playlist, which contains most of the songs discussed in the podcast:
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5QC6RF2VTfs4iPuasJBqwT?si=M-j3IkiISeefhR7ybm9qIQ

Podcast sponsors:
This podcast is sponsored by SEYDEL harmonicas - visit the oldest harmonica factory in the world at www.seydel1847.com  or on Facebook or Instagram at SEYDEL HARMONICAS
and Blows Me Away Productions: http://www.blowsmeaway.com/

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Bertram is the Product Manager for Seydel Harmonicas
How he got the job, including writing a software tutorial on how to play harmonica called ‘The Interactive Blues Harp Workshop’
Bertram was a Biology and Zoology student at the time
Visited second festival in Klingenthal where he got to know everything at the Seydel factory
Bertram’s studies in biology were useful to the design of harmonicas
Seydel is the oldest harmonica manufacturer in the world today and the history of Seydel
Seydel were established internationally, including in Australia with the Boomerang model
During GDR years a lot of Seydel product was sold in Eastern Europe, so it wasn’t so well known in the West
The resurgence in Western markets was driven by Seydel’s aim to produce good quality harmonicas
The decision to produce stainless steel reeds
Previous steel reeds had been made but they were not stainless, and so rusted
Almost all the Seydel range of harmonicas now have stainless steel reeds
One of supposed benefits of stainless steel reeds is that they stay in tune longer than brass reeds
When stainless reeds go out of tune they do so very quickly, unless brass reeds
Why other harmonica manufacturers don’t also use stainless steel reeds
We’re in a golden age of harmonica instrumental quality and relationship with other manufacturers
What does being a Product Manager for harmonicas involve
The Big Six harmonica was an idea Bertram came up with
Bertram picked up harmonica age 23, after playing keyboards a youth
Bertram’s influences as a young harmonica player
Bertram plays in a boogie woogie band called Boogielicious
Approach to playing boogie woogie harmonica
Harmonicas have been selling well through the pandemic
Seydel 1847 diatonic range: wood comb released first for traditional feel, then plastic comb version
1847 Noble diatonic
1847 Lightning
Session steel diatonic range
Don’t clean your harmonicas too often
Seydel built some Renaissance chromatics, originally designed by Douglas Tate
Seydel chromatic range, including the Deluxe and Saxony
Symphony is latest chromatic from Seydel, which also has a magnetic slide
Tremolo harmonicas
How octave harmonicas are tuned
Seydel sell a harmonica amplifier
Gecko harmonica rack
Tuning configurator and different tunings offered
Will Wilde tuning
Seydel endorser scheme
How are the endorsers selected?
Mundharmonica live is a harmonica festival hosted by Seydel in Klingenthal each September
Seydel Open is a competition held at Mundharmonica live
10 minute question
What Seydel harmonicas does Bertram use?
Overblows
Embouchre
Chromatic of choice
Amplification
Any more innovations coming out from Seydel soon?