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Good quality beginner harps?
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Charles
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« on: January 28, 2011, 08:55:37 AM »

Okay. I asked about some cheapies and I guess that is not the way to go. I have the harmonicas that came with JP's course and the Hohner Blue Ice ones on the way. For a beginner like me, what are some good quality beginner harmonicas? I'm thinking major brands like Hohner, Suzuki, Lee Oskar, Seydel. I'm going to order a Spec 20 but what else should I be looking at? I'm not going to waste any more money on junk.
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Tyson
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2011, 10:22:10 AM »

Charles, If I may just put in 2 cents. It has been my experience that no matter what, you will get what you pay for. With that in mind, You may consider the fact that alot of the choices that will be made by you are for you. You are ultimately the one who will have to live with the choices.
 From reading your posts, it seems to me that you need a little shove. I mean that nicely. When it comes to harps or anything else, you will want quality.
 For me, I have chosen Seydel as my harp of choice. I have Lee Oskars, which play OK. I just don't really like them. I have a Golden Melody, which I hate. But, there are several on this forum that love them. I also have a couple of Hohners, which for me are just OK. (I have 2 Special 20's and 1 Blues Harp)

 So, if you are really serious about learning to play, bite off a big chunk and start chewing! LOL!
 What ever you choose, don't be afraid to spend some money, better quality is worth it! Check out one of Ben Bouman's Beta Harps. You will be pleased!customharmonicashop.com

 Note: Seydel also offers the Blues Session which is a sweet harp for about the same money as a SP20 or Lee Oskar. Good luck and be sure to let us know what you choose! Happy Harpin' Grin

You can get these harps at rockinronsmusic4less.com
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Charles
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 04:34:35 PM »

Yes, I do need a little shove. As my skills progress, I will add more to my collection and try different brands. I have decided to stay away from the cheap stuff and am going to stick with major brands. I just need some guidelines on where to start.

Eventually, I will find what I like best and it might be all one brand or different models from different brands. I'm just trying to get ideas for good starting points.
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Burning Thunder
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2011, 03:39:01 PM »

I learned on a Official Scout Harmonica...made in China i know...but it works good, bends like nuthin' doin'!
I have no clue how much it costs, but it can't be that bad....and it is an excellent beginner harp in my non-expert opinion.
--BT

P.S. They have Boy Scouts in China? Grin
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gregmatic
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2011, 04:21:36 PM »

I like the special 20, suzuki bluesmaster, and the Bushman Delta frost. I like the response and playability of the special 20 the best, and I like the way the bluesmaster feels on my lips the best of the three. I don't see anything about the Delta Frost that I like better than the special 20. Don't get me wrong, the Delta Frost is a really good harp, but for me it didn't exceed the special 20 in any way so I wished I had bought a special 20. In theory I guess the reeds should last longer and that would be a plus. If I could get the reeds from a special 20 in a suzuki bluesmaster, I think I would have my perfect harp.
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Charles
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2011, 05:57:03 PM »

Okay. I think I'm going to get a Hohner Spec 20 and Golden Melody, a Suzuki Bluesmaster, and a Seydel in the same price range. I can get a feel for how each plays and decide what I like best and go from there.
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McManus
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2011, 07:29:27 PM »

My kinda guy!
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Joe
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2011, 08:05:34 PM »

Good choices Charles let us know which one you liked the best.

Just curious you got all good harps coming in.

harp On!!
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“Give me a string bean, I'm a hungry man” A shotgun fired and away I ran.

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Ken Balbari
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2011, 09:07:23 PM »

I've gone through this myself over the last couple of months, and ended up trying a dozen different models. I think you've made some good choices to start with (I still haven't tried the Golden Melody myself, it really should be next on my list).

One thing I found out in doing this is that the key the harmonica is in had more impact than I expected. The lower keys always seem nicer to play to me; if comparing one model in a low key and another in a high key, I would usually like the model in the lower key. I like almost anything in G, Ab, A.

Another thing is that all of the harmonicas in the $25+ range are pretty good; many of the differences here tend to come down more to personal preference; some like the feel, tone, or sound of a model that's smaller, larger, thinner, fatter, wood, metal, plastic, open, closed, equal tempered or just, recessed or exposed reed plate edge, etc. Sometimes it's just a matter of what is most comfortable for your mouth and your playing style. For me, the Seydel Blues Seesion was one of my least favorites, not due to anything really wrong with it, but just that it was fatter than all the other models I tried and I didn't like the feel in my small mouth.

Of the models I've tried, the one I would add to your list, just because it is different and has it's own unique character, is the Marine Band 1896. There are all kinds of reasons why this model isn't normally recommended anymore for beginners as a first harmonica, but as long as you are already trying several more modern plastic body designs, it's worth it to try one of these for a very different experience; smaller body, more narrow holes, wood body, unique tone, and for all of it's well documented flaws, it's still a hell of an instrument.

I'll also mention that I really liked the Suzuki Harpmaster. I don't think you need to add that one right now, as it's a very similar body design, size and feel to the Special 20, with reeds that respond similarly to the Bluesmaster. So wait and see what you think of those models first.


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fj1200
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2011, 01:28:56 PM »

I'm watching this with interest. I'm looking at where to go next - was thinking Big River but I can't afford anything just yet. Had a bit of a breakthough with some draw chords and blues stuff today too! Grin

Also I want an A harp - I find the C is ok but a bit to high for me, and most players I see seem to use an A or Bb.
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I've come so far
But I still got so far to go...
Charles
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2011, 05:28:37 PM »

I just ordered a Spec 20 on ebay for 29.89 with free shipping in C. I wish I would have bought one of the sets when JP had them on sale.
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Joe
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2011, 08:06:15 PM »

Charle's you got G.A.S. (gear aquisition syndrom) who gave it to you.

You know that's highly contageious right...

Harp On!!
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“Give me a string bean, I'm a hungry man” A shotgun fired and away I ran.

Talkin' World War III Blues Bob Dylan

http://www.youtube.com/user/jfeeney4
Charles
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2011, 03:12:50 PM »

I was hoping my spec 20 would come today. It didn't. According to USPS tracking, it was processed in Denver in the wee hours of the morning today. I was thinking they would get it on the truck that comes out here and it would be delivered. I was wrong but I should have it on Monday.
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Charles
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2011, 06:04:28 PM »

My spec 20 came today.
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Joe
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2011, 09:37:38 PM »

Pretty cool let us know how you like it.

maybe play and post something.

harp On!!
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“Give me a string bean, I'm a hungry man” A shotgun fired and away I ran.

Talkin' World War III Blues Bob Dylan

http://www.youtube.com/user/jfeeney4
Burning Thunder
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2011, 09:49:29 PM »

Weeeeelllll.....how does it play for ya?
--BT
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Charles
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2011, 02:50:48 PM »

I have been really busy and never even took it out of the package. I just opened the box to make sure it was the right one.

As for recording something, I have no idea how to go about it and I'm not ready to take my playing public yet. I stink.
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Burning Thunder
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2011, 02:54:40 PM »

Oh ok well when you play it a bit tell me how it goes! Wink
Best of Harpin' to ya!
--BT
P.S. As for recording, there are free sound recorders out there on the internet, but you need a mic. But I complety understand not wanting to go public yet. Wink
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Jonathan~Janzen
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2011, 07:38:31 PM »

In my oppinion, the harp you're playing on doesn't really matter as much when you're first begining. You're gonna sound like crap no matter what harp you're playing on! Wink JK, but seriously, I learned on a 10 hole diatonic Dove key of C. It broke apart (literally) about 3 months after I got it, but I learned on it. And it worked, for awhile atleast. So if you're just beginning, don't worry so much about which harp you're gonna buy, as much as you should worry about your technique.
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BE ALERT...

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Charles
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« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2011, 07:44:29 PM »

So if you're just beginning, don't worry so much about which harp you're gonna buy, as much as you should worry about your technique.

Good advice but too late. I already bought it.
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Joe
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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2011, 08:49:23 PM »

As for recording something, I have no idea how to go about it and I'm not ready to take my playing public yet. I stink.


You don't stink your learning and so am I and so is everyone else, just at different levels.

As long as your having fun.

And I don't think you need a mic to record yourself using your computer.

Just download this free program: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

And start recording yourself it's a good way for you to get better by hearing
yourself play. Even if you don't want to post keep it in a file on your
computer and you can chart your progress.

And it's fun

Harp On!!
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“Give me a string bean, I'm a hungry man” A shotgun fired and away I ran.

Talkin' World War III Blues Bob Dylan

http://www.youtube.com/user/jfeeney4
paulbunyn
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« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2011, 10:44:27 AM »

I have been told and find it to be true is what you hear while you are playing is not what others hear! To hear what others hear play in an enclosed area like the shower stall, closet,laundry room etc. or record it for yourself to hear as suggested.
When your ready to "go public" this will be the best place to start as we your fellow harpers will give you encouragement not criticism.
I have found that other people are impressed (even from the beginning) and "wish they could do that".
I did a Yahoo search for the " Les Stroud Hohner Harmonica" and found it is a SP 20 with his name engraved on the cover and sells for $19.95, it only comes in key of C though.
Best of luck to you!
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Tyson
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2011, 11:16:27 AM »

Heythere, Charles! I bet your not any worse than I was! Skim through all these post and you'll find acouple of me playing. I like to think that I get better with time.
 I remember when our friend Paulbunyon told us of his first experience. How bad he thought he did. Then not to long later he posted a tune, As the Deer Panteth for the Water. Beautiful! And, it was using a Peidmont! WOW, what a fantastic job he did!
 So, I encourage you to post something! Let us hear, I assure you that you are among friends! Grin
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Mark Redd
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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2012, 08:17:14 PM »

I like the Special 20 harps for a beginner. I also have a set of "Cross Harp" because they are more for rock not blues or country or gospel.
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Mark
folkrevival
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« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2012, 07:00:05 PM »

For the money I would go for the Lee Oskar 1910-C it costs about $38

http://www.folkmusicinstruments.com/harmonicas/lee-oskar-1910-c-harmonica-review/
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