Hohner on a downhill?

I was messaging a store owner in NY when I was finally getting a new harp and was pretty adamite about wanting a hohner, 1- because of the country it was invented in but 2 - because of the quality.
He told me the quality of hohner has went down compared to suzuki or seydel these days. He didn’t play himself, that’s just what he’s been told.
I went with a hohner anyway but has anyone else experienced a drop in quality with them? Just wondering, I know it’s all personal preference.


Hi @RollyJoe

Since this fellow does not himself play harmonica, but only knows second hand from others “what he’s been told” … I would tend to doubt him. My personal experience has been that other harp companies have improved, rather than Hohner having a “downhill” trend.

In particular, the company Seydel was producing lower quality products (most likely as a result of the DDR – the former German Democratic Republic that was under communist control: nearly all of its technical industries went way downhill as a result of mismanagement, corruption, and numerous other factors – and the Seydel company was located in that region of Germany) until the DDR collapsed and Germany was re-united in its current form (the BRD – the Federal Republic of Germany). Today the quality of Seydel harmonicas is at the peak of harmonica technology, and they are innovative as well.

As far as I know, Suzuki has made quality harmonicas for quite some time. I own several of their Richter harps and find the quality to be very good.

Basically, you cannot go wrong with any of these three companies. They all will occassionally produce a “lemon” – but that is simply a matter of fact with mass production of products that require such close tolerances. “You get what you pay for” applies here as well and the less a particular model costs, the higher is the probability of purchasing a “lemon”.

You are also 100% correct: personal preference is king.

– Slim :sunglasses:


And Hohner makes a huge range of diatonic harmonica models across the full price spectrum. Their cheap harps obviously won’t have the same quality and longevity of their expensive ones.

Just thinkin’…does that help validate Lee Oskar’s business model?


@Slim Yeah, makes sense. This is almost like getting a tattoo. Once you get one you want another. :laughing


@Maka Can I ask what that means? I know who Lee Oskar is but don’t know his business model


The Lee Oskar business model is to make diatonic harmonicas in different tunings (Major, Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Melody Maker) but not different models. As they are all the same quality, Lee Oskar is not ‘vulnerable’ to having its reputation tarnished by selling inferior quality, cheap models as well as more expensive models - which apparently is an issue for Hohner


Yeah I disagree with the NY store owner. Hohner’s quality now is actually much higher than in days of old. In the 90’s it was hard to to bend Marine Bands. In the 2000’s Special 20’s didn’t last long. These day Hohner’s professional quality harps (SP20, Marine Band, Golden Melody, Crossover, Rocket) are all superb quality.

Everything @Slim said was right on the money. I din’t know that about Seydel, btw, that’s fascinating! I agree that Hohner, Seydel, Suzuzki, and Lee Oskar all make top notch professional quality harmonicas. The rest is personal preference.

And just as with anything, occasionally a baddie might make it out of one of their factories, but if it does, they’ll make it right as we saw recently on the forum with a Lee Oskar.

Yeah, interestingly some of the Hohner Models are TERRIBLE. Perplexing to me. I asked a rep there once, “Why do you guys even make the Hot Metal? IT’S HORRIBLE!” He said, “some people just want to buy something very cheap.” :rofl:

@Maka, I don’t know if Lee Oskar’s business model is more profitable (I’m guessing not.) There is something about it that’s refreshing though, isn’t there?

Rock on y’all,


@Maka (and) @Luke Interesting. Thanks