Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Hohner Piedmont Blues
Hohner Piedmont Blues
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chrisa11
1 post
Mar 30, 2008
8:46 PM
Hey guys.
Is the Hohner Piedmont Blues 7 Piece Harp Set a Good Enough starting pack for an intermediate beginner?
thanks.
chris
Jeff
30 posts
Mar 31, 2008
7:32 AM
The timeless phrase is true. You get what you pay for. And there's a big reason these harps are only $2 a piece.

My good buddy bought these when he first started. And he said that nothing is more frustrating than trying to learn on a harp that seemingly can't do anything well. You're better off getting one or two good harmonicas than spending the same and getting seven very low quality harmonicas.

Could Little Walter pick-up one of these and rock out something decent? Sure. But just because these are dirt cheap doesn't translate to mean these are a good pick for a beginner. If you're serious about learning to play, why not start on the right foot and get a decent harp?

You'll agree when you find that playing low quality harps is a chore that can be very unenjoyable. You'll find yourself expending much of your energy and focus merely trying to overcome the harps shortcomings rather than on your playing (the Piedmonts are VERY leaky and greatly effects the tone).

Unless that is all you literally can afford, I would strongly suggest not getting them. Most agree they're the worst harps Hohner has ever manufactured (there were some posts on this just last week on HarmonicaClub). Many people buy the set only for the case. Aside from some Huangs, practically *any* Hohner or other name-brand harp on the market is better than the Piedmonts.

If price is the major limiting factor for you, I would suggest a Suzuki Harpmaster or Bluesmaster. They're only $16, extremely airtight, loud and responsive (exact same coverplates/comb as the $37 Delta Frost). If you want a more classic sound and are willing to deal with the swelling comb, a Marine Band is more expensive (around $25) and is the all-time classic to start on.

When it comes to a musical instrument you should enjoy, don't cheat yourself out of a quality product just to save ten to fifteen bucks.

Last Edited by on Mar 31, 2008 1:49 PM
superchucker77
24 posts
Mar 31, 2008
10:46 AM
I bought a set of piedmonts about a year ago. I wanted to have several different keys to play in without having to spend a lot of money. Plus I thought that the case was an added bonus.

I was not as good of a player as I am now when I first bought them. When they arrived in the mail, I thought that they were incredible. But that was back when I was pretty much a beginner. Now I now that they are of pretty low quality. The sound is a little weak and they do not respond all that well.
But do not let that stop you from getting them if you are a beginner. For a beginning player, I believe that they are the best thing out there. You can play them and you can make them sound good. You can learn on them. Later on you should definitly get a few better harmonicas, but to start off they are great. When you get them you will think: "a harmonica can not possibly get very much better than this". That will make you want to play them all of the time. You can get very good on these harps, trust me. And when you upgrade, you will already have a wonderfull case to put the new harps in. It's the only case that I own and it's holding up great. So by all means try them out. You do not have anything to loss by getting them, you can only gain.
leanground
Guest
Apr 01, 2008
1:54 PM
Old Standby's are a good harp to start with for $8.
I have full sets of many more costly harps but use Standby's to beat new techniques into.

enjoy
oldwailer
19 posts
Apr 02, 2008
4:55 PM
The Peed(sic)monts taste terrible--I threw them out--but I did keep the case!

Charlie McCoy said, in an interview in the book "Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers," that the Old Standby is his favorite harp--of course they only come in C these days, and they don't last real long. . .
Patrick Barker
33 posts
Apr 02, 2008
5:16 PM
I've heard that the old Standby used to be a lot better than it is now as its manufacturing has been moved to China along with the rest of Hohner's standard line.
ChipperHarp
3 posts
Apr 03, 2008
5:59 AM
The best start pack for a beginner is a couple harps like A, C, and D or E. That way you have a bit of differing key to fool with. The A will come in handy on a lot of blues tunes such as Sonny Terry. The C is a good all around harp.
At any rate, I prefer the Special 20. It's the same as a Marine Band but with a plastic comb. Search out the cheapest prices and grab a couple. On the net, Musicans Friend and Coast 2 Coast music. I know here in Mass., Guitar Center will match their prices.
Bottom line, all you need is one harp to get going while a couple more won't hurt.
Best,
Chipper
www.myspace.com/chipperharp

Last Edited by on Apr 03, 2008 5:41 PM
Jeff
31 posts
Apr 03, 2008
7:31 AM
I used to recommend the Standby to beginners all the time. But as Patrick pointed out, since the manufacturing has been moved to China, they went downhill real fast. Hohner up'd the price also. The things last only a month, don't sound that great and are only a few dollars cheaper than many other great harps out on the market.


Special 20's, MB's and Lee Oskars are very solid harps (MB's have increased in quality in the last few years). But then you're venturing into the $25-30 range (but c'mon, you know you're worth it).

If you're looking for a harp under $20, I simply don't think you can beat Suzuki's line. They use the exact same Phosphor Bronze reeds that they use in their $55-90 harps in their $18 Bluesmasters. The better alloy reeds are *much* stronger and more flexible than regular brass making them tanks virtually impossible for a beginner to blow-out. And they're very airtight and have recessed reedplates (exposed plates often agitate beginner's lips).

Last Edited by on Apr 03, 2008 11:29 AM
Warbleman
Guest
Apr 08, 2008
7:22 PM
I completely recommend the Peidmont blues harmonica set. For one reason and one reason only, the case is very nice. The harmonicas, however, are quite possibly the worst musical instrument of any kind I've ever come across. (And I've seen some TERRIBLE guitars in my time) I bought the set, got rid of the harps, and kept the case. I recommend replacing the harmonica's with Hohner Blues Harps, Hohner Marine Bands, Hohner Special 20's, or Lee Oskars. But for some reason, the Lee Oskars are the most expensive harp in the store so I say go Blues Harp.
Grillslinger
2 posts
May 30, 2008
7:26 AM
I got these for Christmas shortly after I started to learn. The case is great....but the harps were good enough for me to find out what keys I enjoyed playing in more than others. Turned out my favorite harp to play was G...so I went and bought a Lee Oskar in a key I knew I liked the sound of.

The harps are not terrible. It's weird...they vary in quality (which is a bad sign). They are good enough to begin with and the taste goes away after you've played a while.

Of course I was more impressed with them when I first got them and was new to playing than I am now...but here is the surprise I had just this week. I was going through some of the keys I hadn't played much in(once I got my Lee Oskar, that was really all I played), and realized that two of the harp, the Bb and the A, are really great sounding harps! They bend perfectly, play smoothly, and I can get great tone and volume on them!

So now, as I buy new harps to replace the piedmonts, I can scrath off needing to get those two. The set is worth it's price. You find out which keys you enjoy; you get a great little case; and you may get a few great ones in there that won't need replacing for a while.
Anonymous
Guest
May 30, 2008
6:41 PM
I was curious about the Piedmonts but after having read so many critical comments on various sites, I lost any interest. My initial reason was due to the low price for a set of harps. I have Hohner Blues Harps in C, D, G, E and a Marine Band in C. I bought the Marine Band in 1973. The Blues Harps in later years in the Seventies. They all still play fine. I paid $3 for the Marine Band and $5 for the Blues Harps. Those were the retail prices at the time (my first harmonica was a Hohner 64 Chromatic that my mother bought me for Christmas in '67 or '68. The price was $20). Being a frugal guy, I just have a hard time with the current prices of Hohners. I picked up a Big River in A a few years ago in a quaint music store in my area for $6 and a couple of Hot Metals in G and A for $5 each. I've since picked up two more Hot Metals in D and F at Guitar Center. They are currently going for $9 something. The Hot Metals are available in Bb, which I want, but have yet to come across. I don't think the Hot Metals are bad. I've not had any problems with mine. I'm not a pro player and they fulfill my needs. Of course, I'd prefer higher grade Hohners, it's just the fact that one used to be able to get six Blues Harps for less than what one costs today...it just irks me. I understand times and economies change. Perhaps I'm just too much of a cheapskate.
oldwailer
56 posts
Jun 02, 2008
10:30 AM
I've done the peedmonts--threw them out bercause they taste like crap and sound worse--but I have noticed some sets made by Johnson that are also dirt cheap on ebay--has anybody tried them? I haven't tried them because I kind of assume that any harp that cheap would be terrible--but I could be wrong!!
Jeff
93 posts
Jun 02, 2008
10:40 AM
The Blues Kings are MUCH better than the Piedmonts. The case is also better than the Piedmonts' (too big for my tastes, though). But still, they're fairly crappy harps, through and through.

I guess I just don't understand why people will sacrifice so much in quality simply to save $10-12 on a harp. What's ten bucks when talking about a serious musical instrument you're going to devote countless hours towards? Dunno....


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