Budget vs. Name Brand (newbie qeuestion)

Hello all you blues folks. I have some newbie questions for you. I am trying to learn. For the sake of the thread, lets take the East Top 008 vs. Hohner Special 20, or Lee Oscar. If you put an East Top and a Hohner in the hands of a beginner, is there any real world difference? Sure a 30 year player could tell, but to a beginner, does it matter? Next, could it be said than the ET 008 is following the 80/20 rule? 80% the quality but 20% the cost? Sure Hohner or Lee Oscar make a higher quality instrument, but if a newbie is learning, can the difference be noticed? At which level of skill will the differences start to become noticeable?, Advanced? Thank you for helping me learn.


The East Top 008 is very good quality. The two big differences between the Chinese harps and the German ones is the tuning which is equal temperament as apposed to Germans who use compromise tuning.

The other difference is the reed material. Chinese use phosphor bronze, Germans use brass so do Lee Oskar (equal temperament).


Hohner Golden Melody: Am I a joke to you?

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If you’re going to take answers that are not yours and, get upset over them, then you do have a problem. Don’t interact with me again.

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I’m not upset. I’m just making a joke. I don’t know what’s your problem with me.

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sorry the way you wrote it didn’t come across as a joke. I don’t have a problem with you.

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This is why I want to use tone tags to prevent something like this from happening again.


I am glad both you wonderful folks got this worked out. You both rock.


I’m glad you guys got this worked out as well. You are both @Dai and @KeroroRinChou such valuable members of this community, and I appreciate that our community is supportive.

@BlindFarmer my answer to you is YES you are correct. An East Top 008 is GREAT beginner harmonica. Differences can sometimes be noticed by people very early on. I’ve heard people say “it’s so much easier to isolate notes on a Hohner Rocket, or Lee Oskar, or Special 20.” So it’s a personal thing, and not one to lose sleep over!

@Dai tuning and materials are not related to WHERE a harmonica is made.

Hohner has the Marine Band 1896 and MB Deluxe which are tuned for chords, the Golden Melody which is tuned for single notes (the source of @KeroroRinChou’s joke,) and the Crossover which is a compromise between the 2.

Seydel’s are made in Germany and use stainless steel reeds, and there are Chinese models that have brass reeds.

Every brand/model of harmonica has a slightly different sound and feel. People can get obsessed about it, but there ARE important differences. AND I AGREE WITH YOU 100% @Dai, TUNING is one of the most important!


Here is an interesting article by Pat Missin.


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Thank you for the article.


My thought has always been if you can make any quality of instrument sing then you are learning something. If you are a beginner then a beginner instrument will suffice. Just play, learn and don’t overthink it. As you get more experience then you can invest in the better instrument.


I find the blues 8s Easttop a nice responsive harp, the resin comb very lip friendly, like the hohner rocket, keep it clean, brush teeth before using. The wood comb of the 20 has more rasp and grit and needs warmed up. they say don’t wet it, but I started as a kid and I knew a guy that soaked his harps, So don’t be chicken to get wood wet, it used to be wet when it was a tree. I wouldn’t soak them in a bucket like he did.

break in time varies, go easy then as you get a feel for the reed (in the mind’s eye and ear) push it some little by little.