Hohner Special 20, or… ?

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  • #9912
    Ronald JamesRonald James
    Member

    This is a question for Mitch, Ian or any of the more advanced players: In a recent entry I noticed that Mitch’s favorite harmonica is the Hohner Special 20. It seems that right now Hohner is promoting the Rocket as a improved Special 20. The other Hohner that is getting a lot of positive press is the Hohner Crossover. Both the Rocket and Crossover, particularly the Crossover cost quite a bit more than the Special 20. Do any of you think that the added cost of the Rocket or Crossover justifies there purchase, or are the differences so minimal that the Special stands up well against these other two?

    #9913
    IanIan
    Member

    I don’t think the rocket is a giant improvement on the special 20 imo. Just a bit closer to a custom harp.
    Same with the crossover compared to the standard marine band.

    I like the marine band deluxe. Not as expensive as the crossover but similar quality and different tuning.

    Just remember that it’s hard to compare the crossover to the special 20/rocket as there are other differences such as comb, cover plates and general construction etc.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by IanIan.
    #9921
    Ronald JamesRonald James
    Member

    Ian, thank you. Out of all of the three harmonicas mentioned I have one, an E Rocket. There are two things about it that I like; the blow and draw holes are the largest of any harmonica that I have, making it a bit easier to grab an individual draw or blow note. It is also the loudest of any harmonica that I have. In that regard it seems to be in a class of its own. I like it’s tone, but am not yet ready to say that I like it any better than several other harmonicas that I have. Much of that has to do with a not very sophisticated ear, but as much, if not more of this is due to changes in what I like. Particular sounds that a month ago I found disagreeable or distressing I now find interesting and somewhat enticing.

    You mention tuning. This is another factor that sets my mind to wandering. You hear mention of, Country tuning, Chicago tuning. etc. I just saw a video that referred to Piedmont tuning. I don’t have any idea what these different tunings are and wonder how much my preferences are determined by different tunings. Perhaps this will unfold in a coming chapter of my growth

    #9923
    IanIan
    Member

    I think one thing that we all find in the early days is a need to try as many harps as our bank balance can afford.
    The difficulty in finding a harp that works for you is that fundamentally there isn’t much difference between any of the top tier harps.
    If you record the sound of a marine band classic and a crossover, you would be hard pressed to hear a difference, the same could probably be said for the special 20 and the rocket. What makes them different is more likely to be the ‘feel’ of the harp, to you, the player.

    It took me quite some time and a fair chunk of change to settle on a harp that works for me.

    Tuning is a different story altogether! I only prefer the tuning that you get with the marine bands as it sounds better for chordal playing. Unlike the suzuki harps that have a tuning that works best with melodies etc.
    I have no idea about some of the more unique tunings , it’s not something I want to get confused with!

    #9924
    Ronald JamesRonald James
    Member

    I think that you are right about this, Ian. I am stubborn to a fault. People tell me many things, but I always want to find out for myself. In my searching for harmonica information I have encountered on two occasions someone claiming that when placed in a blind situation, even very good players frequently fail in identifying one type of harp from another. I don’t know if I believe that since neither claimant referenced the source for their suppositions.

    I think I have reached a point where I can sit tight on purchasing any more harps and let time and practice tell what I really like.

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