Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > vintage hohner blues harps
vintage hohner blues harps
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groyster1
3468 posts
Nov 06, 2019
12:47 PM
I recently bought 2 of these harps,possibly new old stock,that play very well...….other than cover plates how were they different from marine band 1896?
HarveyHarp
783 posts
Nov 06, 2019
2:41 PM
George, if they are nailed together, then they are the Pre MS Blues Harps. To my knowledge, the only difference is the cover plates.
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HarveyHarp
groyster1
3469 posts
Nov 06, 2019
6:18 PM
yes they certainly have nails......JI tuning?????they seem to be blues tuning
SuperBee
6255 posts
Nov 07, 2019
12:12 AM
There was some hype about them at the time but my understanding is that it was all hooey, and they were just the same as an 1896 apart from the covers. So tuning would depend on era. I believe 1968 was the first issue, and those from the 80s are just as terrible as the Marine Bands of that time, but the 70s editions were probably sometimes pretty good
barbequebob
3621 posts
Nov 07, 2019
10:07 AM
When the original Blues Harp model came out, Hohner advertised that it was set higher. What that meant was that they were tuned higher in pitch, more like A443-ish because they began noticing how much harder people were playing them and by doing that, they kept players from playing below A440 whenever they played them too hard. Eventually, the entire Hohner line was set up closer to that. That was also the time that standard pitch varied quite a lot from country to country and the standard pitch varied anywhere from A437 to as high as A445 before A440 became largely the worldwide standard (and that has been standard pitch in the US for many decades).

These were tuned to 7LJI, like almost every diatonic harp at the time and stayed that way until Hohner went to 19LJI (with the exception of the GM) until that version was finally discontinued and put into the MS line in 1992.
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Littoral
1707 posts
Nov 07, 2019
11:32 AM
80's harps. I was victimized by those damn things and had no idea. I figure it set my playing back a long ways. The only thing I knew was to buy another one and hope. Those damn bellows things I wanted to steal one just to light on fire. I could hear if they were in tune but that's it. I coulda been a contender.
ridge
770 posts
Nov 08, 2019
4:29 AM
Littoral, you got me with that last line!

Starting out in the late 90's, I think I still may have been getting some NOS harps in some cases. We're all richer for the experience... ?


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dougharps
2028 posts
Nov 08, 2019
6:50 AM
Really, the only difference in the MB and the BH was the more closed covers on the BH. If there was a reference pitch difference, I didn't hear it back then. I played the original Blues Harps and Marine Bands beginning in 1970, when I began to switch from chromatic to diatonic with the help of Tony Glover's book. I needed a different sound for the music I liked. Bending took a while...

I eventually followed the soaking suggestion in Glover's book for more responsive harps. Of course the combs would swell, so you would have to shave off the tines to avoid shredding your lips. Once shaved off they would shrink back in when dry, so you always had to soak to play.

They didn't last long when you abused them like that. I wish I had not tossed them. I may have one old set of covers in my harp junk box. Hmmmm...

I figured out how to tune reads back to pitch when my stupidly hard unschooled playing stressed them flat. Then the nails wouldn't be tight, so I would use rubber bands on the ends until I started drilling out the fake screws that were really nails and replacing them with bolts and nuts on the ends. I switched to Special 20s when they became available. Then later, Lee Oskars...

The harps available today are constructed better for taking apart for repair and re-assembling. Tolerances are tighter, too.

However, I recall paying $3.50 for a Marine Band or Blues Harp. At that time minimum wage was $1.60 and a job paying around $9,000 for a fresh college grad seemed like a pretty good deal at the time.
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Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Nov 08, 2019 6:53 AM
groyster1
3471 posts
Nov 08, 2019
9:09 AM
although I loved tonys book,I never ever soaked harps with wood comb......that had to wreck the harps life....I cannot believe anybody fell for that that advice...….far beyond me that anybody would!!!!!!!!!
jbone
3047 posts
Nov 08, 2019
10:29 AM
Probably my first couple of Blues Harps were the "good ones" but when SP20 came out I jumped ship for the most part. Some 2 decades later I tried a Blues Harp and it was crap. By then MB were just as poor.
Also early on I soaked harps and embraced that whole disaster. I was ignorant about instruments of any kind then.
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groyster1
3472 posts
Nov 08, 2019
11:04 AM
not to worry jbone…….we all profit from mistakes
nacoran
10187 posts
Nov 08, 2019
12:00 PM
MBs with different covers, but the different covers, aside from just having different side vents, give you another advantage. If you want to radically round the ends of the combs and reed plates you can do it without the ends of the covers causing problems. I keep meaning to get a full set and do this to them. Really comfortable.

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SuperBee
6260 posts
Nov 08, 2019
12:24 PM
MP worked on one of mine, and told me of it ‘you can’t make a silk purse etc’.
He sent it back with Marine Band covers, and suggested I try it, then refit the original covers and decide which way to go. I did this experiment and the result was that I put the Marine Band covers back on and lost all interest in ever playing a harp with blues harp covers again.
On the topic of rounding the ends, I have one of Deak’s customs with rounded ends. I put up with it for over a year but I never grew to find it comfortable. I actually don’t have any problem with the stock shape. I’ve put the Deak away now.
groyster1
3473 posts
Nov 08, 2019
5:59 PM
micheal peace or mark prados?????they are great harp techs......love my deak custom marine bands.....all 4
SuperBee
6263 posts
Nov 08, 2019
7:36 PM
George, it was Mark in HI ie MP on this forum.
HarveyHarp
784 posts
Nov 09, 2019
9:02 AM
I think I am going to change my name to Marvey Perman, just so I can further confuse the MP thing
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nacoran
10190 posts
Nov 09, 2019
10:31 AM
Superbee, huh, I love rounded ends. Most comfortable harp I own. I guess we all hold our harps a bit different. I've got smallish hands so it lets me wrap my hands around for a good seal without jabbing me. I also pretty much fully cover the side vents when I'm playing a MB, so I don't get much use out of them.

HarveyHarp... if you do I may have to revisit my attempt to make a directory of MBHers. It's confusing enough that half of you are over on FB with 'real' names that I have to try to remember on top of the names I know you here by! :)

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Nate
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First Post- May 8, 2009
Thievin' Heathen
1180 posts
Nov 09, 2019
11:29 AM
@ ridge

Re:Starting out in the late 90's, I think I still may have been getting some NOS harps in some cases. We're all richer for the experience... ?

Lee Oskar is richer from my experience. With appreciation.


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