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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:50 pm 
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I picked up my first Harmonica recently, with no real intention of pursuing it, my interest was in trying to use it on a Blues riff I've been working on, however I feel in love with it immediately, and I've immersed myself into pursuing it in a much more serious manner. I'm interested in picking up a good set of Hohner harmonica's to pursue this new found love for the instrument, and was wondering if any of you might have any thoughts, or preferences on what might be a good quality set to start off with. I would be very grateful for any insight or ideas on how to proceed. I've heard nice things about the Marine Band, if any of you are familiar with the Golden Melody, Special 20, or any other Hohner harmonicas to consider, I would be extremely grateful
Thanks
Ricky :)


Last edited by Rickylee on Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:34 pm 
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First of all, it's the comb that is wood, not the reeds. The reeds on all current production harmonicas are either brass, phosphor bronze or stainless steel.

Second, and the main point, all the harmonicas you name are good models. If you liked the Blues harp and its wood comb, you will probably like the Marine Band.

BUT...

If you have blown out a harmonica in 3 days, then you need to realise that it was not the instrument that is at fault. The MS series reeds are not that different from any other Hohner reed, nor are they very different from other manufacturers reeds (with the possible exception of Seydels stainless steel reeds). You must learn the proper breath control or your next harp will go the same way.

Play gently and quietly. Do not blow and suck, instead breath in and out through the harp - there really needn't be any pressure (reeds will actually sound if you hold the harp in a gentle breeze, that's how little airflow is needed). Relax your mouth, lips and cheeks - If your cheeks are bulging, then you're blowing too hard, ditto if you are having to tense them. Do not suck like you are drinking through a straw - breathe in through the harp.

It takes time, but it is worth getting right from the beginning - you'll save a lot of money. One tip. Don't throw any harps away, you can learn to replace reeds and adjust your harp for better playing. Having something to practice on (and positively resurrect) is invaluable.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:23 pm 
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I sincerely thank you for your response, and place high value on your advice.
Thanks again,
Ricky


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:45 pm 
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You're welcome - let us know how you progress :D


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:37 am 
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Hi Ricky,

Any of the Hohner range will get you out of trouble, with the possible exception of the Blues Harp which has been worked in at the factory so you don't have to work the reeds in. Unfortunately, I find the sound a little mushy as a result. Also, Hohner are marketing a budget 7 harp set called ' Blues Band', don't even look at them, they're cheap & nasty & will put a beginner off for life. A Pro Harp or Special 20 are both great. I'm starting to get back into the Marine Band again, it's got a great rasping sound.

Also, I can highly recommend the Tombo Lee Oscars. Have you tried the Suzuki Folk Harps, brilliant, I use them at gigs & they never let me down.

Good luck Ricky, all the best, Gary.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:42 pm 
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Thanks Gary,
I appreciate your help, and I've learned so much by responses, and the reading I''ve been doing, I can't wait to get started.
All the best Gary
Ricky


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:56 pm
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My $.02,
I find that Golden Melody harmonicas are much easier to break in, and they last longer. Since I always like to have a back-up harmonica in my most frequently used keys, I sometimes will purchase a Special 20 or a Marine Band. I can see the tonal attraction of a marine band. It's definitely a little bit punchier and brighter.
I have found on occasion with beginners that they have a little bit easier time getting good tones out of the Golden Melody or Special 20 (i.e. plastic comb) harmonicas.

I would recommend that you identify one of your favorite or most used keys, and then experiment with the various harps mentioned here, as well as the blues harp, and make up your own mind.

and don't forget Lee Oskar harmonicas. Some love them, some not so much. i used to really wail on the high G model. and low F can also be interesting...and I have one minor key (Lee Oskar) harmonica that I have yet to find a good use for.

Happy harmonica playing!
kevin m


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:00 pm 
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Hi Kev,

When I said the Marine Band Had a great rasping sound, I probably meant 'brighter & punchier'! :D.

Cheers, Gary.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:53 pm 
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Gary,
Thanks so much for your advice. Initially, I bought a Blues Harp in A, and loved it, however, after a few days one of the combs, I don't know, something must have gone wrong, I don't think I blew it out, but I loved the model, so I decided to get a set of those. I ordered it last night, it will come on Tuesday, so I can't wait. Whatever it was that went wrong, i really liked the feel of it, and who knows maybe it was just a bad apple, I hope. But i did love the feel, so I've G A and D coming, and I'm thinking about an XP-40 in E or possibly F, the only thing is, I would like a low E, or possibly F, for I really like that lowdown sound that Sonny Williamson II gets,
thanks so much for your help Garry
Cheers,Rick


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 12:49 am
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Harper's all,

"Blew it out" may not exactly be the case. When we all began playing we blew, or drew, harder than necessary. A less than perfect reed placement or a less than best tightened reed nut may have caused a misalignment and now the reed won't play. Or there could be not enough reed gap. As you learn to disassemble and adjust your reeds there are a couple of methods to use on your path to harp tech independance.

Take a look at this Adam Gussow video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkqmXP9IVyg
as well as this one by Greg Jones - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2vqfevo ... 128D50718F

And this one about reed embossing with David Payne - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVFQFA4zfJo

Also look at the free Hohner Service Workshop videos on Http://www.youtube.com/

Another resource is - http://harmonicasessions.com/

All of this is to point you in a direction of a better knowledge of your reedplate structure and you potential to adjust your own harp.

A reed can come loose and sit slightly sideways. Or the gap is insufficient. In either case you will get a poor note or no note at all.

One popular method to see if the reed is in proper alignment is to hold the plate up to a light. Is the space on either side of the reed equal and not touching the reedplate? Yes? Check the gap. No? Align the reed. Check the Lee OSkar site for common troubleshooting resolutions - http://www.leeoskar.com/maintenance.html

Be Blues...And Jazz,

Suave Blues Man


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:28 am 
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I thank you so very much, your support, and recommendations are priceless,
Thanks again,
Ricky


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:34 am 
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Hi Ricky,

Yes, the Hohner Blues Harp is a good solid harp, the 'mushy' sound is just my personal opinion. An E harp gives you 2nd position B, a nice key to work in. Try Midnight Rambler, a brilliant little riff!

I think Sonnyboy used a 12 hole diatonic, I don't know if you can still get them, but you're right, he gets a great sound out of it.

Have you checked out the Suzuki Easyriders? They're tuned low in G, D & A, ( I think). I have one in D. They're great & inexpensive, always a plus point :) .

All the best, hope you like your new harps. Gary.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:17 am
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Gary,
Thanks again for your help, I'll have a look at the Suzuki Easyriders, a good low tuned harp, particularly one in D would be perfect. Love that riff in Rambler, I also love the work that Sugar does on Miss You, he gets such a great a great sound, I wonder what he's using on that?
All the best my friend,
Rick


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:48 am 
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Hi Ricky,

Yep, he certainly has a great sound. I know Sugar Blue likes to play a lot of 3rd position. Why not try starting on the 4th hole draw, working up & down from there. The key you're playing in will be whatever the 1st hole draw is on the harp you're blowing.

All the best, Gary.


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