Beginner Questions

Hello guys and gals,

I‘m fairly new to this hobby.
And first of all I’m quiet surprised and happy to find an active forum on my „study“ website.

I got an old hohner MB 1896 that I really don’t like and I think it’s a little bit kaputt.

Since 2 weeks I got a special 20 that makes me much more happier.

My questions:
How long lives a harmonica?
Does makes sense to buy some different harps in c to find“my“ best and stick to that line?
I heard Seydel steels hold longer, is that true.

Thank you in andvance.


Hi Robin
Harps last long if you clean them and always rinse your mouth before using them. I think buying a few different harps to try is a good idea after you achieve the basics in playing. It is very personal. I like Lee Oskar. Some guys like Golden Melody. I travel a bit so I always buy one as a souvenir wherever I go.
December I will go to Japan.
Where are you? I am in Western Australia. Harps are not big here and very few available in stores.
Don’t give up.


Hey toogdog,

I will try my very best to keep the harmonica clean and taken care of.

Actually I live in the motherland of the harmonica as I learned the other day.
Hamburg, Germany.

I have my eyes on a seydel and the Suzuki Hammond… we will see.

Thank you for your welcome on the other thread.

The souvenir idea sound lovely. Maybe I will use it for myself :wink:


Hi r.seftel,
I’m new at it too. The first harmonica that I played was a blues harp and it nearly put me off the instrument. Uncomfortable to play and the wooden comb swelled easily. I bought a special 20 and like you, I am much happier with it. I have two special 20s now.
I agree with toogdog that you should learn the basics first. Then you can decide what other models you might like to try. I think it also depends on the music that you like.
Some harmonicas I’m told, are more suited to certain genres. I live in Western Australia also and as toogdog said, it’s not a very popular instrument here. Blues is not popular here as it seems to be in America. I can’t answer your question about how long harmonicas last as I don’t yet have the experience. Except to say that my blues harp didn’t last long because I threw it out the window.


I’m not fond of wooden combs. It’s like licking sand paper.


@r.seftel Robin,
well, can you even have enough harps of one pitch? I think not necessarily :rofl:! I now have different manufacturers of the most important pitches C, G, A and several (2 - 3) per pitch. In terms of price, they are in the middle to higher range. I use wood and plastic combs and have no problems with either wood or plastic. My first harps from Hohner in C and G really suffered in the first few months! But today I like them more than when I first started! I pay attention to hygiene with all harps. After the game, I let them air dry overnight, warming them up either with my hands or in my pocket. No problems! Why do I have different models of a pitch? Because I play different genres! Some songs are soulful, some are blues, some are different. Then I decide which model and which pitch I use. For me, that’s exactly what makes playing the harp so appealing. Try to get a feel for it and trust yourself and your ears. Give yourself time, it will develop little by little. Yes, there will also be regressions. Patience, patience, patience and relaxation, don’t put pressure on! Regards from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Oh wise one you as always speak the truth.


@r.seftel Harmonicas well taken care of can last for many years. Other advice given is 100% correct.

You could try different harps in C, but it’s kinda nice to expand your keys while exploring brands.

The Suzuki hammond is my favorite of the Suzuki line, but has kind of a “metallic” sound to it. I rarely play it. Still a great harp though.

Yes it’s true that Seydel’s with their steel reeds last much longer and can sustain really hard playing better. My favorite of the Seydels is the 1847 Classic. I’m not a huge Seydel fan tho personally. I just love brass reeds.

@Rob3 I agree with you for a Marine Band 1896 or Hohner Blues Harp, but the Crossover and Marine Band Deluxe are both VERY comfortable wooden combs. I think probably just as comfy as plastic.


Yes clean them, dust and goo from saliva builds up. I also use canned air to blow out unwanted debris, it isn’t perfect.