Hohner Marine Band Deluxe vs Golden Melody vs Special 20?
Hi guys, I was wondering what is the difference between these difference Hohner harmonica models?
Differences: We'll use the Marine Band 1896 as the standard for comparisons:
The MB 1896 has nailed on covers and a wooden comb.
The MB Deluxe is an 1896 with screwed on covers and a sealed wooden comb.
The Special 20 is an 1896 with screwed on covers and a plastic comb.
Mostly a matter of which sort of comb you like to play on. The Blues Harp also has a sealed wooden comb but in addition has interchangeable parts which make it easier to customize.
All four of these are the same system (Richter) and are tuned the same way. They use just intonation for tuning which works pretty good for blowing chord groups.
The Golden Melody is a different group harmonica. It's rounded so it feels different but that's not its real thing. It's the only Hohner harp with an equal tempered scale which makes it excellent for playing melodic lines (tunes) and for playing with horn players such as in jazz. It has a plastic comb and is mounted with screws. The scale and system though is the same Richter system that the MB uses which makes it an interchangeable player for most folks.
As diatonics go, I like the Golden Melody a lot. But, I play mostly tune and melody style and not blues chord vamping.
A beginner player isn't likely to hear much difference in any of these. A serious advanced player will notice the differences in timbre and tuning. If you're wanting to learn to play blues style, I'd go with the Special 20 in your list. If you're wanting to play tunes/gospel/cowboy/etc... the Golden Melody is worth the few extra dollars.
A plus on that Golden Melody cover shape - it doesn't catch mustache hairs and pull them out. ☺
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