beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Difference between Marine Band and Deluxe
Difference between Marine Band and Deluxe
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76 posts
Sep 13, 2017
5:07 AM
Hi guys,
just a quick question regarding the two Hohner models: I was able to borrow a Marine Band Deluxe from a friend; I only used Special 20s so far and have always wondered how the classic Marine Band would play/feel. Since I don't want to buy one just yet, maybe someone could tell me, if it is (a lot) different from the Marine Band Deluxe, which I was able to test for myself now.

Last Edited by SkullKid on Sep 13, 2017 5:08 AM
4949 posts
Sep 13, 2017
6:37 AM
I don't think it's very different but other people have different feelings than me about marine band harps.
283 posts
Sep 13, 2017
12:28 PM
One difference is the Marine band is put together with nails, whilst the Deluxe has bolts which make it easier to tweek. Sound wise they are similar.
4951 posts
Sep 13, 2017
2:22 PM
Yeah, there are things which people dislike about the mb. Nails might be the biggie.
Me too, once. I'm over it now and they don't phase me. It took a while though; I had to get used to the idea of working on harps and learn how to take a nailed harp apart without damaging myself or the harp.
The other things people moan about with mb is that they are too square and uncomfortable. I play tb and they don't bother me at all. You can smooth down the edges with fine paper, that might help. I'd never bother rounding off the corners of the harp. I used to chamfer the tines but I decided that's also unimportant.
The tines of an mb deluxe are chamfered and lacquered which is nice but really after a few years of playing various harps I don't find this to be a factor which matters.

Whereas I find metal combs entirely unpleasant and the manji comb a bit nasty like a raw wood comb, the sealed mb comb doesn't bother me.

In terms of sound, the 2 harps are indistinguishable.

Same reed plates, same dimensions, same covers, same tuning (including individual variations)
77 posts
Sep 16, 2017
2:43 PM
I see, thanks for the reply, guys.
I guess I will stick to the Special20 for at least a bit longer - I actually prefer the somewhat darker sound compared to the Deluxe, but it may change in the future, when I get better.

PS: On a completely different note: I realised that according to the package that the Special20 comes with, it is not a harp recommended for blues (rather Country and Folk) - What is that all about? I am refering to this grafic:


Last Edited by SkullKid on Sep 16, 2017 2:49 PM
4974 posts
Sep 16, 2017
6:34 PM
Really don't know but suspect they are shooting at a perceived market niche.the tuning seems to be the same as it was before.
Sp20 is a great blues harp, better than the 'blues harp' imho, and better than the original 'blues harp' too
Prior to this rebadging of the Sp20 as 'progressive' it was badged as 'marine band' special 20. Hohner made the rocket which is like a 'sp20 deluxe' in a way, and I guess the Rocket may have struggled to find a market (partly because the sp20 is so good I suspect) and the relaunch as 'progressive' may be all about that. I think the Rocket is a great harp btw.
But all these harps are very similar to marine band in that they all use the same reeds and reedplate thickness. The un vented covers are largely to thank for the different sounds of sp20 and mb.
I'm gonna go mend a couple mb deluxe harps right now.
78 posts
Sep 17, 2017
2:08 AM
I see - when I first saw that chart I was afraid that I had bought the wrong harp for blues, but your explanation makes some sense. Thank you as usual for your insight.

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