Thursday, April 02, 2015

Harmonicas - second impressions

Sometimes I like reading reviews on instruments by non specialists - i.e people that don't play a particular instrument full time. It often gives a perspective on the instrument a professional might not think about - or maybe felt not interesting enough to talk about.

So what does a saxophone player feel about certain standard Hohner harmonicas? Well a year on, I have quite a few in my collection. As before, I'm still a beginner, but I do enjoy playing as much as I can. 

Hohner Special 20

As I mentioned before any, pro or non pro can't go wrong with this instrument. It's got a beautiful sound and for me is one of the easiest of the harmonicas I have to play. The notes bend easily and it's got a great clear and smooth tone for any kind of music. Its a joy to play. 

Hohner Golden Melody

This is one I my newest buys. I haven't used it a lot, mainly because I find it more difficult to play than the others. The wholes on the comb seem to be spaced further apart, so for a beginner like me I tend to hit (even) more bad notes that I usually do. Having said that, it's a great instrument. It's got a very open, more penetrating sound than that of the special 20 and is perfect for the single melody lines it's designed for. The equal temperament tuning it comes in, also gives it a sound of it's own compared to the others. 

Hohner Blues Harp MS

I really like this harmonica. It's got a wooden comb which gives it a warmer sound than the others. It's not as loud as the others but the sound is very rich and bluesy. 

Hohner Big River

This is the cheapest of all four, but for the price it is definitely value for money. It has a dark earthy sound which I really like, though like the Blues Harp doesn't project quite as much as the other two. It's nice for playing ballads and slower tunes. 

At the end of the day, all of these harmonicas are good buys and can be played by begenners or seasoned performers alike. At this stage if I were to pick one, it would be the Special 20. It has such all round qualities that allow you to play any kind of music. I've even tried Indian classical and it sounds quite ok. Price wise it's less than the Golden Melody but only just more expensive than the other two, making it a very good deal. 

More to come as I move on!

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