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Suzuki Promaster vs Hohner Meisterklasse MS

Suzuki’s Promaster and Hohner’s Meisterklasse MS are two harmonicas that look very similar on paper: they both have full length cover plates, alloy combs and a highly polished look. In practice they are quite different, though, so let’s take a look at where the similarities end.

The Meisterklasse falls within Hohner’s MS range of harps, which share a modular architecture that enables any major part from any one harp within the range to be fitted to another. I’ve never known any player who do this, though, so it always seems to be an unnecessary feature. The Meisterklasse is something of an oddity within this range, as it is significantly more expensive than any of its siblings; in fact, it’s one of the most expensive standard diatonics that Hohner makes.

The Promaster, despite recent price hikes, is significantly less expensive, yet build quality and materials are extremely similar to the Meisterklasse. The main difference is the reed plates, which are phosphor bronze on the Promaster and more traditional brass on the Meisterklasse. The latter harps also features 1.05mm reed plates (compared to the standard 0.9mm MS reed plates on the Blues Harp/Pro Harp/Big River) which gives it a deep and powerful sound, at the slight expense of bendability, which requires a bit more air than the Promaster.

The Japanese harp also has equal temperament tuning, which is typical of harmonicas manufactured in the Far East, and sacrifices the purity of perfect chords for more highly optimised single not playing. The Meisterklasse features modern compromise tuning, making chords sound slightly sweeter. Many players will struggle to hear any major differences however, so remember that these disparities in tuning are slight.

The phosphor bronze reeds on the Promaster should, in theory, last longer than the Hohner’s brass reeds, but, again, the differences are slight, and this should not be a major factor in your purchasing decision. What is key, though are the relative prices: a Promaster is significantly less expensive than a Meisterklasse – a difference that could add up to several hundred pounds on a full set of harps.

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Suzuki Promaster Harmonica
Hohner Meisterklasse 580/20 Harmonica
Harmonica NameSuzuki Promaster HarmonicaHohner Meisterklasse 580/20 Harmonica
Harmonica TypeDiatonic HarmonicaDiatonic Harmonica
Number of Holes1010
Comb MaterialAlloyAlloy
Number of Reeds2020
Spare Reeds Available?YesYes
TuningRichterRichter
Valved?NoNo
Musical StylesBlues, Rock, Pop, FolkBlues, Rock, Pop, Folk
Available KeysA, B Flat, D, Low F, G, C, F, E, B, E Flat, G High, F Sharp, D Flat, A FlatA, B Flat, D, G, C, F, E, B, E Flat, F Sharp, D Flat, A Flat
Price from£51.99£89.49
View details & BuyView details & Buy
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