Courtesy of the UK's top harmonica teacher Ben Hewlett, we have a new entry level diatonic on the market. Looking somewhat similar to Hohner's recent Blues Bender PAC, the Sonnyboy's Special has a black plastic comb with fully recessed reedplates and covers vented at the ends in the fashion of the venerable Hohner Marine Band. They are tuned in a compromise tuning rooted around A=444Hz and combined with the slightly thicker than standard reedplates, this gives a nice blusey sound to the harp. For the most part, both the tuning and reed adjustment was quite consistent over all the samples I played, except for one - an F harp that felt a little leaky to play, but which was just fine after a bit of regapping. I particularly like the stainless steel covers - the upper one has very minimal engraving (just the name and the hole numbers) and the lower cover has no engraving at all, giving a nice smooth playing surface. All in all, several steps above the usual cheap Chinese-made diatonics and possibly some real competition for the mid-priced harps by the major manufacturers.
This version of the Sonnyboy's Special has been discontinued and has been replaced with an improved model, reviewed here.
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