The Hohner Marine Band 1896, or Classic Marine Band, has been around for years. In fact, it is the mouth harp that most other mouth harps are compared to. It has been a staple practically since blues began. Legends like Bob Dylan have blasted out the Blues on the Marine Band many times, and for a good reason. It's sturdy, reliable, and dependable. The quality craftsmanship includes a wood comb, 20 reeds, and stainless steel covers, as well as side vents. However, it does have one problem. It's not easy to take apart for cleaning and tuning. So, it may be easier to replace than repair, if something does go wrong. However, it is built to be tough, rugged, and long-lasting.
This is the quintessential blues harmonica from Chicago Blues Era. It's a total classic. The Special 20 uses the Marine Band technology and this reviewer prefers the Special 20 because the plastic comb on the Special 20 doesn't swell over time.
As the harp ages the wood comb can swell over time from absorbing moisture. The problem with this is it can tear up your lips. Ouch... Have you ever heard the line from Bob Dylan's song Sweetheart Like You, "Got to play your harp until your lips bleed." Well now you know why. : )