Hohner Meisterklasse MS 580 Diatonic Harmonica

The Hohner Meisterklasse MS 580 Diatonic Harmonica in the key of C is the very first harmonica that I bought from Hohner.

hohner meisterklasse
The Hohner Meisterklasse Diatonic Harmonica in the key of C major.

Starting off with one of their higher-end models, this diatonic model established my love relationship with this well-regarded German manufacturer of harmonicas and other musical instruments. This relationship would later lead me to buy another harmonica, a chromatic one, from Hohner. See here for the write-up of my Hohner CX12 Chromatic Harmonica.

The Hohner Meisterklasse Diatonic Harmonica comes in a myriad of keys, with the beginner and common keys in C, D, F, G and A. As my first diatonic harmonica, I got the one in C.

hohner meisterklasse
The gold letterings on the case, worn and now barely visible from years of contact.
hohner meisterklasse
A shiny chrome diatonic harmonica sits snugly in its grey plastic case.

Construction and Features

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Item Name: CX-12
  • Variations: Black, Jazz, Gold, Tollak
  • Type/Tuning: Chromatic
  • Keys: C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb, B and Tenor C
  • No. of Holes: 12
  • Reeds: 48 nos., Brass
  • Reed Plates: 1.05 mm, Brass
  • Reed Plate Surface: Brass
  • Cover Surface: ABS
  • Mouthpiece Surface: ABS
  • Slide Construction: Zigzag
  • Comb: ABS
  • Length: 168 mm

The Hohner Meisterklasse series of diatonic harmonicas consist of a metal comb made of sturdy and lightweight aluminium, with nickel-plated brass reed plates of 1.05mm-thick mounted on the top and bottom sides of the comb, creating a tightly-sealed environment for efficient air movement.

The acronym MS in the model name stands for Modular System, and as its term suggests, is an integrated design concept that consists of components which are fully compatible with other Hohner harmonicas that carry the MS designation.

Compatible components such as covers, reed plates and combs allow the player to create a combination of parts to suit and match the musician’s individual requirement of playability.

Some of the other diatonic harmonicas in the MS series today include those in the Blues Harp, Blue Midnight, Big River Harp, and Pro Harp collection.

Hohner Meisterklasse MS 580
An immaculate mirror finish on the surface of the Hohner Meisterklasse MS 580.

A grey rigid plastic case keeps the diatonic harmonica protected in a compact pocketable package. The words M. Hohner 580 Meisterklasse MS are engraved on chrome-plated cover plates. These elegantly-finished cover plates complete the overall distinguished appearance of the Hohner Meisterklasse MS Diatonic Harmonica.

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Tonal Response and Playability

The Meisterklasse Diatonic Harmonica plays with a clear and moderately bright timbre across its range of three and a half octaves.

It is not particularly a very loud harp, and one may find its projection to be slightly lacking when performing on it unplugged with a combination of acoustic instruments in a band.

The draw has a slight resistance to it, allowing the player to bend notes quite easily with a constricted air passage. Still, it is not the easiest harp from Hohner to bend on, and if one requires a harp that bends more readily, the Blues Harp or Blue Midnight could be a better choice.

Some players have also commented that the reeds are not as durable as the Blues Harp when it comes to bending.

hohner meisterklasse harmonica
The Hohner brand name is proudly stated on the rear side of the aluminium comb.
hohner meisterklasse diatonic harmonica
The opening at the rear has the form of a horn that aids in sound projection.
hohner meisterklasse
The diatonic harmonica cradled in the hands ready to be played.

Sample Performance

Conclusion

Hohner Meisterklasse MS 580

hohner harmonica
Hohner Meisterklasse MS580 Diatonic Harmonica

VIEW ON EBAY

I bought the Hohner Meisterklasse MS 580 Diatonic Harmonica in Singapore in the early 1990s for about S$100, which was about US$62 at that time. It still plays well and in tune to this day over 20 years later, and lists for about US$170 (Euro162) today in 2016.

The Hohner Meisterklasse MS 580 Diatonic Harmonica may not be so suitable for the beginner player, who may prefer to opt for a Hohner Marine Band instead for ease of playing. It is discontinued and no longer listed on the Hohner website, but is available from a number of third-party sellers.

SEE ALSO:

HOHNER DIATONIC HARMONICAS


SEYDEL DIATONIC HARMONICAS


OTHER DIATONIC HARMONICAS


HOHNER DIATONIC HARMONICAS ON eBAY
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