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Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:04 am
by TNFrank
Which do you think is the better OOTB harp and why? I'm trying to thin out my collection so that I'll have one primary harp brand/type that I can use. Figure it'd be better to have a consistent harp rather then a hodge podge of different brands and models. Right now I've got a couple Hohner Deuce and a Quarters that I picked up from Musician's Friend mainly because they were discounted heavily and they had a wooden comb and I wanted to try a wooden comb harp. My "main" harps are a Suzuki HarpMaster in C and a Special 20 in Bb. I've play em' both and I just can't make up my mind which one I like better. They both sound and play nice. Plus side for the HarpMaster is spot welded reeds and laser cut reeds but for the Special 20 I can get TurboLids. Still waiting on the set that I ordered for my Bb harp, maybe Monday.
Either way I think both are decent quality harps but from your experience which seems to hold up better under normal playing conditions? I'd like something that not only sounds good but will last a while. Thanks for the input in advance.

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:30 pm
by TNFrank
Also, how does this work out if we add Lee Oskar harps to the list? I've been reading about some of their "special" tunings and some look really interesting like the Harmonic Minor and the Melody Maker.

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:04 pm
by jeffl
I've never played the Suzuki, but the SP20 has been my mainstay for years. I don't know how hard you play, but I've used my harps in big acoustic jams for years (as well as amplified straight blues)-- where you gotta play fairly hard -- and my blowup rate has been close to zip... mebbe 1 or two in 5 years. Frankly I play the 20's 'cuz I like their feel and heft best of all the harps (simple, ain't it? :D ). I've got about 5-6 different other models of harps in my case, for various reasons.. including Big Rivers, Herings, Marine Bands, Lee Oskars, and a few others, and the 20's just seem to have no drawbacks for an experienced harper who doesn't tweak his harps or buy custom harps.

The Lee Oskar imo is not a good choice if you do alotta chording, due to the tuning. The chords sound slightly jangly, or out of tune. I like 'em for single note lead playing; they feel looser out of the box to me, and don't require much breaking in - which can be good- but I don't rely on 'em much.

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:37 pm
by bottleneck
i like the suzuki better.parts for the suzuki are interchangeable with bushman delta frosts and most other suzuki diatonics,not including manji's.i like to mix harp parts up.

i don't think the special 20's have replacement reeds,the suzukis do.

that said,i'd take either in a pinch.

www.myspace.com/shakeylyman

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:02 pm
by TNFrank
Part of my choice will also be priced based. I know a place where I can get HarpMasters for $26.50 each if I order two or more. With the "cash for clunkers" rebate deal at TurboHarp I can get Turbo Twenty harps(Special 20 with TurboLids) for $29.95 after the rebate, just waiting for a couple places to get back to me on what Lee Oskars will cost. Then I'll be able to figure out which direction I'll go. Appreciate the replays so far, keep em' coming. :mrgreen:

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:05 am
by TNFrank
Ok, so a quick up date. I went with the Turbo Twenty harps from TurboHarp. Basically a Special 20 w/TurboLids. Seems like a solid enough choice should get em' Friday with any luck. Got the G,A and D to go with my Bb. I can use my HarpMaster in C until I can pick up a C in the Turbo Twenty, I'd also like a Low F and an Eb too. That'll give me enough of a selection to play along with just about anything that I listen to or would care to play with. :mrgreen:

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:16 pm
by allanlummox
I've been using Special 20's with Turbolids for a while now...I like 'em!

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:09 pm
by TNFrank
I got the G,A,and D Turbo Twenty harps that I ordered on Tuesday today. Harps are nice but I'm a little disappointed in TurboHarp for now providing either a box or at least a pre paid return shipment lable for the clunker harps I've got to send back for their "cash for clunkers" deal. You can order up to 5 Harps from TurboHarp, any harps doesn't have to be the Turbos and you get a $10 buck rebate on any old junk harp that you send them back. Web site says that you send it back in the box that they provide but NO BOX. I could use the box that the Turbo Twenty's shipped in if I had a return sticker to pay postage on the return shipping. I called em' up and left a message and I also sent them an e-mail. I'd like to get at least one more in C but if it's going to be like pulling teeth to get my clunker returned for the rebate then I don't know.
Also, the "Free Gift' they give with each order is kind of a joke. They show Key Stickers for your harps, window decals and stuff but all I've gotten in two orders is a crappy little harp storage bag and the harp really doesn't even fit in the bag all that well. This order I bought 3 harps and only got one bag, go figure. Anyway, love the TurboLids and the Special 20's their stuffed with but not liking the Customer Service very much. :roll:

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:30 pm
by TNFrank
Ok, just a quick update. I got an e-mail from Crissy, she basically told me that it was up to me to pay shipping for the return harps so basically I'm not getting $10/clunker, I'm getting $10 minus shipping for each clunker. Think TurboHarp needs to make it clear in the add that the customer will need to pay shipping on the return harps. That means that you're probably only getting about a $9 buck rebate depending on what shipping will run to ship 3 of em' back to TurboHarp. :roll:

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:19 pm
by jbone1
to me the harpmaster is as good as a sp20 for a few bucks less.

re: turbo lids. i have one and use it occasionally for the more muted sound it provides, but i can get that muting with a good cup anyway. NOT using a turbolid allows for a wider range of sound from the harp. each their own.

my case is a mix of 3 or 4 brands/models of harp. different harps in different keys perform and sound different, some better and some worse imho.

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:03 pm
by jeffl
I'm wicha on one thing jbone: different model harps definitely do different tasks better than others. For example, I love my Hering 1923s for 1st position playin'... bell-like tones, esp. on chords.

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:06 pm
by TNFrank
I think the Special 20's are going to work out well. They're a good, solid harp, can be found about anywhere that harps are sold and the price isn't too bad either. Teamed up with the TurboLids as the Turbo Twenty they're really a nice harp that has a great sound, least ways I think so. I'd like to save up and get one in C so I'd have a good, basic set of all the main keys then I'm going to stop buying for a while and work on playing more.

Re: Suzuki HarpMaster or Hohner Special 20?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:46 am
by HenrySlim
jeffl wrote:I'm wicha on one thing jbone: different model harps definitely do different tasks better than others. For example, I love my Hering 1923s for 1st position playin'... bell-like tones, esp. on chords.


Yeah the Hering 1923 is the only harp on the market these days that's tuned to 7-Limit Just Intonation in the factory, hence the lovely rich chords they give you. (Hohner used the 7L-JI tuning up until the mid '70s)
I have one of 'em in Eb...was never really impressed with it in terms of responsiveness, etc, so I took it apart last week & gave it a working over. Come to think of it, the comb must've finished drying out from its sealant bath. Better go grab it. ; )

As for the Harpmaster/Special 20 thing, I'm not a fan of plastic combed harps. If I hadn't sold the Special 20 I used to own I probably would be buying a wooden comb for it from these dudes: http://www.harpcase.com/