How I discovered the harp:

I started playing the harmonica as a kid with a toy harp (totally untuned) that was hanging around my parents house, probably left there by the previous owners. But I managed to play some melodies, then I asked my parents for a real harmonica, they bought me a Hohner Chromonica 270. I didn't know anything about the diatonic at the time, I thought they where toys. Then for a few years I played with the Chromatic, playing some melodies and folk songs. As I was getting older and started listening to Rock and Blues I noticed there was something different about this harp, it wasn't making the same sound as the harp I was hearing in Rock and Pop songs. The sound was too clean.

One day in 1986 a friend of mine, Patrick, told me that I didn't have the right harp and showed me is little diatonic. I ran to the closest music shop and bought a Hohner Marine band and things started to fall into place for me.

I started by playing what I was already playing with the Chromatic, then I played some Bruce Springsteen and then I discovered the blues. I learnt by imitating Sonny Boy Williamson, Sonny Terry, Charlie Mc Coy, Jean-Jacques Milteau and all the other great harp players. Then, once I had a good technique I started to play in bands and with friends

I have been tempted several times to return to the Chromatic, especially to play jazz, but I find that the pleasure given by this instrument is insignificant compared with the effort. I suppose that if you can play like Toots Thielemans then it must be worth it. I will keep on trying.

York 1990.

My harps review:

Hohner Marine Band
The original one, my first harp was one. I have got an MS serie one now. I don't like it too much because the 2 opening on each side of the covers makes it difficult to work the sound with your hands.
Hohner Blues Harp
Very good wooden harp, although I have got one in G which is crap, too much air leaks due to the wooden body. My C gave me a lot of pleasure.
Hohner Special 20 and Pro Harp
My favourite, they are the plastic version of the Blues harp. These two models are the same, only the colour changes. I noticed that the Special 20 is less reliable but maybe I was just unlucky.
Hohner Meisterklass
Aluminum body, very nice harp but very expensive too. Very air tight covers that enable you to make a great Wah Wah effect. and hand resonance.
Tombo Lee Oskar
Plastic body, very stable manufacturing (no air leaks). I prefer the sound of the Hohner though. The advantage of the Tombo is that you get a good harp for all keys. Whereas the Low pitch (G) and High pitch (F) Hohner are a bit dodgy in my experience.
Hohner Golden Melody
The shape of this one is totally different, great harp too.


My Mic:

A Shure model 520D also called the "Green Bullet", I didn't use it to record the riffs of this page because I haven't dared to plug it into my sound card yet. I don't know if I should switch it to low impedance to plug it into the sound card. I will try soon. The advantage of this Mic is that it's bad frequency response corresponds to what you want for the blues.


I have got a Boss DD3 delay pedal. The delay effect is the most used for the harp. A bit of reverb makes the sound great as well, but this effect is included in most Amps. The effect of the sounds on this page have been added to the sound after recording using a sound editing software.


When you start playing with other people you need to buy a few harps to be able to play in their key.
The most used are (for blues 2nd Position):
C to play in G
A to play in E
D to play in A
F to play in C
Eb to play in Bb
Bb to play in F
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