When it comes to harmonicas, Hohner is one of the biggest in the industry. With beginner and pro level harps, the brand has used old style techniques and upped it a bit to achieve a great quality. Their Special 20 has earned its place in the top harmonicas for any level player. It is a classic that never gets old or out of shape. It is one of the most versatile instruments for beginners to start their practice on and for intermediates to reach pro levels. I don’t want to overgeneralize so let’s just get into it.
The Special 20 is a diatonic harmonica in the key of C. Hohner used brass reeds, metal cover plates, and injection molded plastic comb. Moisture resistant plastic comb used on this model is standard-setting, it’s high quality and easy to maintain. The reeds, no matter how good they are, will wear off at one point or another. This is especially true if you play a lot. Thankfully, Hohner manufactured reeds just for replacement. So you can just open the harmonica (it’s pretty easy with this model), replace the reed, do the regular maintenance and continue playing like it’s a new harp. This model also features airtight design. For me, and many others, an airtight design of a harmonica is the key to a great instrument (most times). With this construction, the instrument becomes a lot more playable and easy to bend. You don’t have to put in too much effort (literally) to get a great response which is why it is also amazing for beginners.
Apart from great construction and quality materials, the Special 20 offers great sound and nice tone. The airtight design makes it great for bending. It is smooth as hell and great for any style including country, rock, and folk. While the rich tone is vital for harps, playability is of paramount importance when it comes to harmonicas for beginners. Thankfully, this model does not lack that either. While my Hohner model was pretty airtight and did not leak any air unfortunately that is not the case with all of them. I have heard quite a lot of people complain about the leakage. The problem with this model is that there seem to be inconsistencies. While you might get a perfectly fine model, you also run a risk of getting one that does not have the same, great sound.
Hohner Special 20 harmonica in the key of C is a great place to start if you have never played the harp before. It is also great if you are looking for a solid quality and great sound. Once you pick up this harp you know that a lot of time and expertise went into making it. Its smooth edges, well-polished construction is why so many intermediate and pro players use it. While it might seem a bit more expensive for beginners this model lasts for a while and with replaceable reeds, you can enjoy it for years and years so don’t let the price scare you off too much.