Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

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Dreamer
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Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by Dreamer »

I am pretty new to harmonica and so far I have two generic key of C harmonicas; a really annoying one one that wears out my lungs around 8-10 :tantrum: and a smashed one that plays well, but looks as if someone sat on it (And all things considered I just might have :lol: ) since the metal hangs over the side and I worry that one day I will cut my lip I don't use it much.

I figure that it is time to look for a new harmonica. I would really like something on the cheaper side with a hard plastic case, my harmonica is always with me and cardboard cases don't quite seem to hold up (the cardboard case I have is more tape than cardboard).

Right now I was thinking of getting a Honer Bluesband. http://www.amazon.com/Hohner-Blues-Harmonica-Bonus-Hurricane/dp/B003R9L6KE/ref=sr_1_13?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1334437209&sr=1-13 Does anyone have experience with this harmonica? Good/bad? :-?

Any feedback would be very much appreciated! :thumbsup:
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by hans »

I can't comment on that particular model. But I think regards harmonicas "you get what you pay for". So don't expect too much from a cheap one made in China as this Hohner probably is. Personally I prefer Seydel harmonicas.
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by maki »

My wife likes the Lee Oskar brand of harmonica.
But, she says that all harmonicas take muscle/wind to play and thats why they aren't
more popular with ladies.
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by Dreamer »

Thanks for the advice, but so far I have only played cheap generics and I would like to try Honer before trying any other brand. :tomato:
But I think regards harmonicas "you get what you pay for". So don't expect too much from a cheap one
If it's not smashed and will let me play a decent tune without my lungs giving out on me I'll be very happy. :lol:
But, she says that all harmonicas take muscle/wind to play and thats why they aren't
more popular with ladies.
They definitely do take wind, but even after only playing a few I can tell that just like whistles some take more air than others. :) As for muscle I am not quite sure which muscles you are referring to. :-?
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by MTGuru »

I think what Hans is saying is that the cheap Hohners may be no better than the generics that you're trying to upgrade from.

Why not splurge and go for a German-made Marine Band, or Blues Harp, or Special 20? I like the Special 20 because the plastic comb can be a little easier on the lips and tongue, less sensitive to moisture, and easier to rinse out (or soak).

BTW ... I can't believe what's happened to harmonica prices. I sold a lot of Hohners at Sam Ash in the 80s, mostly the above three. And they were all priced in the range of $5-10. Customers would by a half dozen at a time. Chromatics started around $30. Went to look again recently, and nearly fainted. Now you need a bank loan to buy a harmonica.
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by boyd »

Or a Seydel or Suzuki that is in Paddy Richter tuning, lets you play trad stuff more easily
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by robert schuler »

Get a Hohner Marine or Bluesharp. The easiest on your lungs is a harp in the key of G... The G harp will play blues and anything else in the key of D. Strange but true...
BTW ... I can't believe what's happened to harmonica prices. I sold a lot of Hohners at Sam Ash in the 80s, mostly the above three. And they were all priced in the range of $5-10. Customers would by a half dozen at a time. Chromatics started around $30. Went to look again recently, and nearly fainted. Now you need a bank loan to buy a harmonica.
I think what Hans is saying is that the cheap Hohners may be no better than the generics that you're trying to upgrade from.


Back around 1970 when I was paying $2.50 for a harmonica a Martin D28 retailed for under $300 at Sam Ash...Times change...Bob.
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by maki »

Dreamer wrote:
But, she says that all harmonicas take muscle/wind to play and thats why they aren't
more popular with ladies.
They definitely do take wind, but even after only playing a few I can tell that just like whistles some take more air than others. :) As for muscle I am not quite sure which muscles you are referring to. :-?

The power to bend notes in a controlled manner, "muscle" conveys the idea poorly- sorry.
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by EDC »

I'm a harmonica player thinking about getting a whistle and came across this.

I'd say a Hohner Special 20. It's about $30 and a good instrument. Marine Bands (and Blues Harps, I think) have wooden combs and are nailed together. The special 20 has screws and a plastic comb. The Lee Oskar is good too. (It's not an offbrand.) It's maybe $5 or $10 more, slightly bigger and more solid feeling. I have both of those. I like the Special 20 a touch better, but they're both good. Slightly cheaper, but reputable, options are Suzuki Harpmaster and Hohner Big River.

Golden Melodies are nice. I actually like the flat, banana shape profile. The reed plates stick out a bit. A Suzuki Bluesmaster has the same shape but recessed reed plates.

As for keys, just get a standard Richter-tuned C diatonic. Every beginner instructional book is based on that. A low key like G or A is easier to play in the upper register (hole 7 and up) but harder in the low register (hole 3 and lower).

Harmonica for Dummies is a really good book (and geared toward the C diatonic). It has a few Irish/Celtic fiddle tunes in it. You might want to supplement it with some easier tunes early on. The internet is full of harmonica tab.
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by Dreamer »

Thanks for all the suggestions! :D

I ordered the Bluesband with a Harmonica for Dummies book. :tomato: I will probably upgrade to an even better harmonica (Maybe Special 20, or Golden Melody?) once I save enough up; I had been looking at the Special 20 but it isn't in the budget right now and I don't want to get a new harmonica. :tantrum: Since both a hard case and a cardboard case will be included, I figure when I upgrade I can just use the hard case for the better harmonica and I won't have to worry about it being smashed. :oops:
I think what Hans is saying is that the cheap Hohners may be no better than the generics that you're trying to upgrade from.
Well if it plays as well as my smashed one, but doesn't look like I tried to kill it, I will be happy. :lol: I managed to take the smashed one apart and bend the metal so that it won't hurt me, but it looks worse than ever. :boggle: Since the metal is flimsy I accidentally cracked it. It isn't that noticeable, but I hate knowing that I am destroying my harmonica. :sniffle:
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by boyd »

For a regular diatonic with conventional tuning, I quite like the Suzuki Bluesmaster.
Nice ergonomically (doesnt catch on lips or facial hair) and an easy player with notes that bend easily too.
Its quite cheap for the quality you get, so good bang for your buck, as they say.

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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by Greg Connor »

I just bought a set (7 harmonicas) of Hohner Golden Melody's. I'm just tickled with them for playing the blues, cross harp style.

Marine Bands and Blues Harps are good harmonicas too. Each model offers something just a little different. For example, Marine Bands have a wooden comb and offer a slightly mellower tone.

Someone mentioned Lee Oskars. My friend swears by them, and he is consider to be a professional player.

Hohner sells a set of Blues Band harmonicas for $30 or less. You might grow out of them quickly, but at least you would have a harp in all the common keys.
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Re: Is Honer Bluesband Harmonica a Good Newbie Harmonica?

Post by Tor »

When I started with harmonicas some 33-34 years ago I first bought a couple of wooden core Hohner harps, I don't remember if they were Blues or Marine Band.. but I soon found the black, plastic core Hohner Pro Harp which I much preferred (and they're still the best ones I own). They bend easily, and are perfect for blues. And after going from wooden core to plastic I'm not going back. But there are a few things that should be mentioned:

1) As a previous poster mentioned, the prices have gone crazy! I was a poor student at the time but could still afford to buy new harps all the time. Now I'm much less poor and I think they're expensive!
2) Harps have individual qualities. They don't all play equally well.
3) They can be tuned and adjusted though. Even the old ones.
4) Some years after I started buying Hohner harps they changed the production so that the reeds were replacable. This in my opinion destroyed what made the best Hohner harps better than the Lee Oskar harps. The new models take much more air than the old models, they are much more similar to Lee Oskars now. Not that Lee Oskar harps are bad, far from it, they're very good, but my old Pro Harps are better.
5) I have a truly remarkable old-style Pro Harp in G.. 32-33 years old. I keep tuning and fixing it, one of its ends are broken, it has dents here and there but it plays like a dream. I've tried to buy several new-style variants but nothing can replace the old one. I wish Hohner would go back to the old production again. Well, I haven't checked what they sell now (the last time I did was maybe 4 years ago).

-Tor
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