What is your favorite brand/model of harmonica and what was the journey that brought you to your now favorite? I started at 10 years old with the Hohner Old Standby that my Dad gave me and played Old Standbys until Hohner dropped the German made one in favor of a cheaper Chinese made model. I then went with the new Hohner Special 20, which is a good harmonica. During that time Lee Oscar hit the market and I had to try one (I'm a sucker for a new to the market harp) and I didn't like it at all. I then discovered the Hering Vintage 1923, a harmonica that has the prewar 7 limit JI tuning, a great harp, but became impossible to find. So, I then discovered the Bushman Soul's Voice which I still have a set of 8 that I play. The Bushman Delta Frost was also a good harp. They both became hard to get and now I have the Seydel Solist Pro as my favorite available harp, although I just recently discovered a harmonica new to the US market called the Easttop. They make several models. I bought one, the Easttop T008S at a festival and had to have more. I now have 6 of those and consider them one of the best out of the box harps. New harmonica.com is the only distributor of the Easttop harmonicas. So, that's my journey through the world of harmonica playing. What's yours?
Well, I went to hear Howard Levy play live and decided I needed a harmonica. I started out with Lee Oscars and I like them, but don't play them as much anymore. I mainly prefer Hohner Golden Melodies and Hohner Rockets to anything else. . I do have fun trying out different brands and styles, but usually come back to those. I Haven't heard of that one you mentioned, Jim. I'll have to check that out.
This is a difficult question because I've never really had a bad harmonica (thought the 1896 Marine Band is borderline). The are all pretty good.
If I had to make a choice, I'd go with the Seydel Blues Session Steel. I have six of them which is more than any other type of of harp in my collection.
I started with a Special 20 which is very nice but Hohner has completely priced themselves out of the Canadian market. I won't buy another Hohner unless they have a 50% off sale. Next, I tried the Suzuki Bluesmaster which I still use every single day as my primary practice harp. It's very dependable, comfortable and nearly bulletproof...but it is a bit quieter than the Hohner. My Lee Oskar is fine but I find it somewhat less responsive than the others. I love my Golden Melodies but, again, I won't pay current prices for any new Hohners. My Tombo Aeroreeds, Meisterklasses are good.
I've got four Suzuki Promasters and they are great...probably the best value in metal combed harps. Seydels 1847 Classics are superb.
Honourable mention and second place goes to the Suzuki Firebreath. I have three and they play as smooth as silk. They are beautiful and delightful.
I got my first Syedel Session Steel just because I wanted to try the stainless steel reeds. Like many people, I just enjoy trying different things. It checks all the right boxes. It has the same reed/reed plates as the 1847 Classic but puts then into a recessed plastic comb and It has full length cover plates with soft curves which combine to make an extremely comfortable harp (the 1847 Classic and Suzuki Firebreath have exposed reed plate edges and lose a point for comfort). The Session Steels have extremely consistent response and play well from hole 1 to hole 10 without any bad characteristics at either end of the scale. And the price is reasonable...slightly expensive for a plastic comb harp but with playing qualities that meet or exceed of more expensive metal comb harps like the Meisterklasse. Basically the Session Steel does everything right. I have discovered no bad qualities in this harp.
Mr favourites change regularly, and depend on the key I'm playing. My current go to is my hohner crossover in A.
Most of my harps are hohners, mostly because they are readily available.
My least favourite of those tried so far are lee oskars. I'm no fan of harps that feel like toys, which is why I'm no fan of the special 20 either. I do see the benefits of plastic combs, but i just prefer the feel of wooden combed ones.
I do like my Seydel 1847 classics, I have 2, but they are difficult to get here. I have to order through a man in a different state.
By default, I'm a hohner man I guess. I love the Meisterklasse and the crossover, but they are really quite expensive and I have to order them in through my local shop. The Aus Dollar has dropped like a stone in the previous year so a lot of harmonicas have suddenly become more expensive, I'm not going to be buying any top end harps at the moment.
I have suzukis on my wish list and I plan my next harmonica to be a suzuki.
I would say I'm a Meisteklasse fan, because if money wasn't an issue, I would just buy these (with the Seydels a very close second). May change when I've had a go on a suzuki.
Diatonics...my dad gave me my fist Hohner Marine Band when I was about ten..been playing the 1896 Marine bands ever since. My chromtaics are all Hohner as are my two Echo harps. I have stuck with the Hohner brand because I like the sound, quality and have never had any problems with them. I have had to clean and straighten windsavers on a few of my chromatics..but that comes with the territory when playing chromos.
I am interested in trying the Seydel 1847 line in the future.
In my childhood my first harp was Hero both sided Chinese harp, because of at that time there was no other alternative in India, even I didn't know the name of Hohner etc. very much. After that when I was in the age of 13/14, I had been gifted a Hohner Echo both sided(C,G). Still the same is with me. It's a very nice harp and never have to think about it's tuning.
But, after a long discussion about Suzuki and Seydel harps with their authorised dealer(Suzuki) and manufacturer(Seydel), I started playing both the harps(I have a Suzuki Pro32 Melodica also). They are really really good and remarkable thing is their customer care is nice and prompt. I can share any sort of topic in regard to harps.
Recently, I purchased a Seydel Sesson Steel Solo tuning in Bb and very much satisfied. Suzuki Firebreath and Pure harp are in my wish list. I am influenced by Dexer remarks on Firebreath. Before purchasing, apart from sound and tone I emphasize the look of my harps. Beautiful looking harp is one of my selection criteria. I feel, I would be concentrated on my melody playing, if my instruments are beautiful in look.