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DaWa
Newbie


Dec-2004
11 Posts.
 new harmonica
Aug-14-05 6:28pm  

I recently lost my marine band harmonica. I liked it, but I'm not sure if I should replace it or buy a special 20. Any opinions?

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Dan

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bear
Gladiator


Aug-2004
738 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 6:18am  [ re: DaWa ]

DaWa, Hohner's Special 20 is a Marine Band. The full name of that model is Special 20 Marine Band.
The only differance is the Special 20 Marine Band has the reed plate set into a plastic comb. And a regular Marine Band has the reed plates placed on top & bottom of a wooden comb.

I personally think the Special 20 is the better choice because the plastic comb will not worpe or crack like a wooden comb will. And you dont have the metal edges of the reed plates rubbing against your lips and tounge. Also keep in mind that a wooden comb has a lot of pours (or air spaces) in it for grems and mold to hide in and live in.

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BillyRay

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pcguyiv
Busy Friend


May-2005
99 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 3:01pm  [ re: bear ]

I use the standard Marine Band almost exclusively. It's a great harp and you'll get lots of good use out of it. Just be sure to shake it out (which you should do with any harp after you're done playing) and let it dry before sealing it away in its box.

As Bear pointed out, the Special 20 is merely a Marine Band with a plastic comb instead of wood. The sound is a little (but not obviously) brighter than the Marine Band, and it is a little smoother feeling because of the way it's constructed.

Either harp is a great choice, IMO, but I think I'm about the only one here who actually prefers the traditional Marine Band to the Special 20.

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Club Member Frank

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Reed
Newbie

Aug-2005
5 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 3:42pm  [ re: pcguyiv ]

quote: ( from pcguyiv ) The sound is a little (but not obviously) brighter than the Marine Band, and it is a little smoother feeling because of the way it's constructed.


I think what pcguyiv meant to say, was the sound of the Marine Band is a little brighter then the Special 20. The Marine Band has slots in the covers that give it this sound. The Special 20 doesn't have these slots, and has a richer tone.

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pcguyiv
Busy Friend


May-2005
99 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 4:27pm  [ re: Reed ]

No, I said what I meant. To me, (at any rate), the wood of the Marine Band provides a richer, warmer tone than the plastic of the Special 20. The Special 20, while still a rather warm sounding harp, does have a slightly brighter (& slightly louder, btw) sound than the Marine Band because of the properties of the plastic. At least that's what I hear when I compare their sounds.

[ Edited: Aug-15-05 10:36am by pcguyiv ]

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Club Member Frank

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Reed
Newbie

Aug-2005
5 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 5:14pm  [ re: pcguyiv ]

The covers of the harp, make a major difference in the sound of the harp. If the covers have slots, the harp produces a brighter, or tinny sound. If the covers are closed, the harp produces a fuller sound.

Consider this comparison....Lee Oskars and Marine Bands, have covers with slots. Lee Oskar has a plastic comb, and Marine Band has a wooden comb. Both produce a similar bright sound. Not because of the comb material, but because of the slots in the covers.

There is a difference in sound between wooden and plastic combs, but neither will give you a full, rich sound with slotted cover plates.

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pcguyiv
Busy Friend


May-2005
99 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 7:07pm  [ re: Reed ]

If I'm understanding your meaning of rich and warm, you mean clear and mellow. I'll admit, a harp with closed covers (Special 20, Golden Melody, Suzuki Bluesmaster, etc) does have a clearer, more mellow sound than one with slots in the cover. This is what I mean by brighter. The notes are clearer, crisper, and cleaner. I guess by "rich and warm" I'm referring to the slightly more organic sound of the Marine Band.

Again, this is just from personal experience, the Lee Oskar (thanks to the slots on the side, according to what you said-which makes sense to me) is grittier than the special 20, but lacks the smoother organic qualities of the Marine Band.

[ Edited: Aug-15-05 1:09pm by pcguyiv ]

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Club Member Frank

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bear
Gladiator


Aug-2004
738 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 7:20pm  [ re: Reed ]

Well ole bear has somthing to say about all this. I have a couple of wooden combed Marine Bands, and three Special 20's. I've done a lot of expermenting with both. One of the things I did was to "seal" all the slots & cracks in the reed plate covers of a wooden combed Marine Boand (as well as a Big River Harp, and a Pocket Pal). It (they) did produce a more full bodied sound with the sealed covers, but the Special 20 still sounded "brighter" and a tad bit louder then the wooden comb harps with the sealed covers.

A friend of mine who is a very good musician and dose a lot of recordings, and works with music all the time said the same thing. The Special 20's had a brighter sound.

Anyway, its my opinion that if one was playing along with a band and other instruments I'd bet my last dollar the folks listening to the music would never know the differance.

[ Edited: Aug-15-05 2:24pm by bear ]

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BillyRay

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Reed
Newbie

Aug-2005
5 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 7:59pm  [ re: pcguyiv ]

quote: ( from pcguyiv ) Again, this is just from personal experience, the Lee Oskar (thanks to the slots on the side, according to what you said-which makes sense to me) is grittier than the special 20, but lacks the smoother organic qualities of the Marine Band.


The slots in the Lee Oskars don't produce a "grittier" sound. The slots produce a brighter, tinny sound. A gritty, dirty blues sound comes from technique 1st, and amplification 2nd. Whether the harmonica has slots in the covers or not, and regardless if the harmonica has a wooden or plastic comb, is irrelevent to getting a gritty, dirty Chicago Blues sound.

Played accoustically, the Lee Oskar or Marine Band will produce a DISTINCTIVELY brighter (as in shriller, or tinny) sound then the Special 20. The Special 20 played accoustically will produce a fuller, richer sound (as in deeper, more robust).

When you cup a Marine Band, or Lee Oskar you can reduce some of the brightness.

The Marine Band, Lee Oskar, and Special 20 are a all good harmonicas. But in a side by side comparison, the distinctive shrillness from the Marine Band, and Lee Oskar comes from the holes in the cover plates.

Hope this helps, Dawa

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Ed_Pitts
Member

Jul-2005
28 Posts.
 Re: new harmonica
Aug-15-05 8:18pm  [ re: DaWa ]

My lee Oskar don't have any slots in the covers. Only openings is in back.

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If age improves, why ain't I great?
Ed

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