Time to replace a few harmonicas; suggestions?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by RoscoeElegante, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Hey, all. Quiet night here in our college town until our party-eager 30,000 students return in a few days.

    So, of course, I've been torturing our skunks, who are out in force to scout their dropped-pizza-rich porch haunts, with some harmonica playing. (Makes the deaf possums happy, I must believe.)

    Some of my old ones have gotten mighty creaky, and they're entry-level quality anyway. What brands/models do you suggest? I need only one for an upcoming gig, so pricey would be okay if the quality merits it. I use a neck holder, and play on the moody, folky-simple/clumsy-blues side of the talent spectrum.

    An archive search suggests that the Hohner's Marine Band seems the go-to around here. And that would be fine w/ me, if that's the case.

    If it helps clarify whatever might be the best fit, Neil Young's acoustic stuff/Springsteen's "Nebraska" album are the skill/moodiness levels I aim for, but of course don't reach. I like as rich a sound as I can get from 'em. E.g.,



    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  2. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’ve only got Hohner Marine Band harps. Sound exactly like the Springsteen track.

    Not much other choice in shops here though and I’m not the greatest player, so take from that want you will.
     
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  3. BluesGuitarMart

    BluesGuitarMart Tele-Meister

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    I love Bushman Delta Frosts, they're probably my favourite overall. After that, I absolutely love the Marine Band Deluxe, they are a massive improvement on a standard Marine Band and really don't cost all that much more, plus they last a long time anyway so they're not expensive in the long run.
     
  4. Fretting out

    Fretting out Tele-Holic

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    I haven’t played a lot of different harps but have played a Hohner “blues harp” harmonica for a decade and it’s holding up well and sounds decent.
    I think they’re pretty affordable also in case you have to buy multiple keys
     
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  5. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Marine band.
    In my lifetime they've gone from something like $4 a pop to $43 or so, at store here.
    Had to play "Out on the Weekend", one time deal.
    There's a few less expensive choices, yep, but to my ears, there's only one choice for what you're describing. Marine Band.

    Once upon a time, 1969, found a stash at a pawn shop in Prince George, BC. 50 cents each. Used. But that's another story.
     
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  6. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    Hohner golden melody. If they're good enough for Howard Levy, they're good enough for me.
     
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  7. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Moved so many times, can't find stuff, didn't remember, had an old Kay St. Louis. The Marine Band, to my ears sounds mo better.
    IMG_6475.JPG

    Oh yeah, I've hurt the ears of small critters and made the Katy Dids sound good.
     
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  8. stax

    stax Tele-Afflicted

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    For those who don't want to spend a fortune on several top name harmonicas check out the Easttop blues, I've been using mine for over a year at gigs albeit only a few tunes a night and they are tight, loud and durable at half the cost.
     
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  9. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have been playing harmonica for 50 years and have been using plastic comb Hohner Special 20s and Lee Oskars since they became available.

    Much more comfortable than Hohner wooden comb Marine Bands and Blues harps and you can replace the reed plates easily.
     
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  10. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Harps are expensive now. I have harps with almost no play with sticky reeds. I only play a couple harp tunes a night. Others with more play are smooth. Hohner are as bad as any. Believe it or not, the most consistently without a sticky reed are the Chinese Huang. Go figure. I just went through my "A" harps the other day. I have 4. The Hohner Blues Harp has a hard to blow reed in hole 5 or 6. Been that way for months. I've had it apart and tried to make it better twice. I have a Hohner D that is the same way.
    The Huang is fine. Another Hohner is good currently. Toss up between those two so I stuck the Hohner in the gig case. I have Oskars too. They are pretty good so far, but I only have oddballs , minor keys etc in Oskars.
    At $50 a pop we need more consistent harps.
     
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  11. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    I mostly use Hohner Special 20s these days. They are based on Marine Band design,but as mentioned above have a plastic comb (and some other minor changes).

    I used to use mostly Marine Band. But I've tried several different brands and models over the 37 or so years I've been playing. chezdeluxe has me beat by a few. :)

    I'm reasonably certain that Neil Young and Bruce were playing Marine Bands on those recordings. And a Special 20 does sound different. They're better I think for electric playing. Just different for playing folkie tunes acoustically.

    If you want the Young/Springsteen sound, you probably want Marine Bands. If you go with Special 20s, make sure you DON'T buy the country tuning. That will mess you up bad playing folk style.
     
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  12. gitold

    gitold Friend of Leo's

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    I’m a decent harp player and have a box full that are all at least 10 years old since I rarely play anymore. Lee Oscars seem to last forever with out having to ever soak them.
     
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  13. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Our harmonica player loves Hohner Special 20's as ( I think) he says they have plastic reeds that don't get water-logged over time- last a while.
    He also like Marine Band
    He plays both Country style and cross-harp style blues, and he sounds great, to me!
    * he also uses a Joyo American Sound ( Fender Amp emulator D.I.) into PA sometimes ( instead of using his small tube amps) - great OD tone
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Hohner seems to have most of the market tied up. I have a Marine Band model to mess around with.
    But it's also loads of fun to get the Dollar Store ones for $1. Kids love them, parents hate them. Give the kids two!

    That market must be such low margins or every music company would have a Harmonica Custom Shop.

    .
     
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  15. rockymtnguitar

    rockymtnguitar Tele-Holic

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    I'm enjoying the Special 20s a lot. Am also using the Hohner Rocket Amp harps a lot. I'll admit that I'm very new to harmonica and I'm not sure that the Rocket Amps have much of a vintage sound. I find them easy to play, so that makes all the difference for me. About half mine are Rocket Amps, the others are Special 20s. I have a Suzuki Manji that seems good but not the same as the others, and a Vox Continental 1 that I like a lot.

    Also,
    Glad to hear that on the Joyo - I have one for our PA but haven't had the opportunity to use it yet. I think and hope it'll sound good.
     
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  16. T-Bone

    T-Bone Tele-Holic

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    I’ve been playing for decades. I use Lee Oskar & Hohner Golden Melody harmonicas, and have yet to find anything I like better.

    For use on a rack, I think the Lee Oskar harps would be great.
     
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