A few months ago I tried my hand at my fathers old diatonic harmonica. Since I can sight read well and have good breathing technique as a vocalist, I found that I could make some of my favorite classical music sound very good. Seeing my interest, yesterday, my mother gifted me a Hohner Marine Band Deluxe harmonica in the Key of C. It clearly has a reputation as a high quality blues harp, but my attempts at playing classical music seem terrible out of tune.

As it should be very apparent, I am a total novice with harmonica technique, but I would really like to understand the connection between type of harmonica and the music it produces.

In particular: 1) Is it possible to play natural tones on this one, and ones that fit classical music well? 2) If not, then can someone recommend a good harmonica for my needs?

  • Are you only playing classical music on it? Do other types sound fine? I find it odd that you're asking about classical specifically.
    – user28
    Feb 20, 2013 at 19:21

3 Answers 3


I read or heard something a while ago that said that Hohner Marine Bands were tuned to just intonation to sound good while chording, while Lee Oskars were set to equal temperment for better single-note playing.

So, I would look into Lee Oskars.

But you can tune a harmonica to get it set to your needs.


It's entirely possible that the vintage harmonica is tuned differently than the modern one. The earlier one being probably closer to, or in, just intonation, while the more modern one is probably closer to, or in, equal temperament.

A google search on this model, and "temperament" yielded the following disussion


A good harp player told me recently that Marine Bands come "un tuned". I have Marine Band Deluxe, it was out of tune in a week. And came without two screws attached, out of the box...(there's been other customers having the same problem also)

There are no mentioning on Hohners website: Which frequensies the harps are in expect for "blues harps in 443Hz" But not the Deluxe model.

So Hohner is selling instruments which need tuning, but there's no information REAL specific info what the tone of instrument is in fact.

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