My first harmonica was a worn out old tremolo I found in my great grandfather’s old footlocker. My second harp was a no-name harp someone gave me. But the first harmonica I actually paid money for was a Hohner Special 20. And I loved it. Imagine how big a step up it was to go from a no-name to a Special 20! As with most harps, I played and loved it for a while before moving on to other harps. I have always made it my routine to get a different type of harmonica each time I buy a new one. Though eventually, I wrap around to buying one that I’ve bought before, this has allowed me to try all different kinds of harmonica under $100. So far, the best harp out of the box has been a Seydel 1847, hands down. The best harmonica after 6 months of playing is probably a Golden Melody. But the worst harp I’ve ever paid money for, and I mean no disrespect, is a Marine Band. I was so put off by the Marine Band a few years ago that I haven’t bought a Hohner since.
Sure, it’s “the original blues harmonica,” but how is that a good thing? I don’t want to drive “the original Ford car” anymore than I want to play a harmonica that’s still using nails to hold the cover plates on. I don’t care if that’s what Little Walter used! It was probably fantastic for 1945, but we’ve made a couple of technological advancements in the past half-century that I feel are beneficial to harmonicas. The Marine Band cut up my lips, ripped out my mustache, and discarded half of the air I put into it before it had a chance to even touch a reed. Seriously. Un. Impressed. But, hey… they can’t all be winners, right? I still have one good ol’ Special 20 in my collection (low-low F for the win!) and one Golden Melody that just won’t die (god bless it!), but after the Marine Band catastrophe, I just can’t bring myself back to the Hohner fold. I’ve almost bought a Special 20 once… but gave in to my doubts before I reached the cash register. It may be completely unfair, but I feel like I’ve tried what Hohner has to offer and I’m just not excited about it.
Well, maybe that can change soon. I think I’ve found something new to try. Just this morning, I discovered that Hohner has made some changes to its Marine Band line that just might make it worth a go again. While surfing through videos, I came across one on the Hohner Thunderbird, their new low and superlow line. This then led me to the Crossover, which uses a new laminated bamboo comb and replaced the nails in the cover plates with screws. “Hm,” I thought, “It almost seems worth a try.” I must say that it has awakened a bit of curiosity in me about Hohner’s new harps. Good video.
Have any of you tried one of Hohner’s new harps, dear readers? I would really love to hear some feedback on them. Or if you have any feedback on Hohner, at all, I would love to hear it! Make a believer out of me again! And in the meantime, watch this nifty little piece on Hohner’s Crossover series and see if it doesn’t make you want to try one, too! (If you do, let me know how it goes, eh?)