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So Why All The Harmonicas?
Take a look at my website sometime http://www.harmonicasongs.net
Or the HohnerUSA website and you will quickly notice that Hohner makes over 100 harmonicas!
Wow! Then a question might pop into your mind, "so why all the harmonicas?"
Thatís a great question and one I get asked frequently.
There are a couple of reasons for the great variety of harmonicas.
The first being that there is a harmonica for just about any style of music and that doesnít just mean rock, blues and country music but all of the different styles we commonly call "world music".
There are several manufacturers of harmonicas and each of them produces several models of harmonicas but none offer the range of specialty harmonicas that Hohner produces.
The second reason for all the different harmonicas is most likely marketing. Hohner makes a diatonic harmonica for just about everyone. Many of these are very similar and might have the same combs and reedplates but with various coverplates stamped with the logo or name to attract a particular market. The "Official Scout " harmonica comes to mind.
Other harmonica manufacturers such as Tombo who produces the Lee Oscar harmonicas prefer to offer a few different harps to a specific market. In the case of the Lee Oscar brand, they target not only diatonic players but those looking for alternate tunings such as the Lee Oscar minor key and Melody Maker harmonicas.
Lately Hohner has listened to the players who have been purchasing custom and hot rodded harmonicas. They have taken notice that many players like the Marine Band harmonica but desire better performance from it. Hohner has answered this by producing the marine Band Deluxe and the exciting Marine Band Crossover harmonicas. These harps are about as close to custom as you can get without the high custom price.
They are available form me at http://www.harmonicasongs.net
So what does all this mean to us, the harmonica playing community? The simple answer is that it is a great time to be a harmonica player and have all the choices that are available to us at relatively low prices when compared to other musical instruments.
My advice would be to start out with a fairly standard harmonica that is suited to the music you want to play. Check around and see what harmonicas your favorite players use most of the time and thatís probably a good place to begin.
After you get the feel for one model of harmonica, try out some that are similar and see how they compare. How do they sound? Are they easy to play your type of music? Do you like it beter than the harmonica you have been playing? And so on.
After that, try playing some specialty harmonicas such as tremolo and octave harmonicas. They all have their unique sound and feel.
Above all, have FUN! After all, thatís why we play this wonderful little instrument!
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