Hohner Thunderbird Review (Low tuned Harmonica)

Lee Sankey gives an overview of the new Hohner Thunderbird, a range of low tuned diatonic harmonicas in the spirit of the Low C used by Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) on “Bye Bye Bird”. The Thunderbird was developed in conjunction with ace customiser and player Joe Filisko who designed the innovative cover plates that eliminate the reed buzz associated with low tunned diatonic models. Check out the video for more information about this interesting harp.


Zompei says:

what key is this

Lee Sankey says:

@arthur1062 Hi Arthur, which make was the low D in? I would definitely try the Thunderbird if you want a playable, responsive low harp without the reed buzz. Thanks for the comment about my playing. See you soon, Lee

brendo thedude says:

“Bye Bye Bird”

Marco Nogueira says:

Have you tried overblowing those harmonica?

Andy Mueller says:

Love the sound of this Thunderbird! It reminds me of the old Gunsmoke show. Very warm and moody. All you harpers are welcome to add me on Facebook. 🙂

Mark W Silliman says:

I’ve been thinking about getting a low F since I struggle with the regular F harp. Appreciate your evaluation…think I am gonna make the plunge.  Had a low F Big River, but accidentally destroyed a reed while cleaning it. I love the sound and your demos and lessons are always helpful. Cheers!

Lee Sankey says:

What do you think it sounded like?

Lee Sankey says:

@freereed29 It must be, Ill try and find out for sure.

griswold says:

Do you know if the reed plates are ms or not

kisho bhar says:

thanks bro…but…but…it seemeth…that you need FAR more power to push ?
very tiring to play, si ??

Lee Sankey says:

It’s not an MS harmonica. It’s modelled on the Crossover. Best to look on Hohner’s site for more details.

Lee Sankey says:

I’m not sure Dylan used low harps. But the main point is to use the right key of harmonica for the song. So if you get the match right then of course you could use a Hohner Thunderbird. The low tuned sound might add something new and different. Lee

Lee Sankey says:

@caracho1980 No problem, it’s an interesting and very well built model. Worth a look if you are considering a low harp. Lee

Lee Sankey says:


Dilan Hewa says:

Hello lee , im a beginner what would you recommend for me ? Marine band or crossover ? Thank you

Ben White says:

Good review man! I had a Marine Band 364 in G arrive today so I’ve been having fun with that 🙂 I also now think I may take the plunge in the next month or so and get a low G – can’t wait to do some brilliant chugging a la Rice Miller!

Iked Etpison says:

Would you rather buy a thunderbird in the key of A or in the key of D? Do the higher notes like D,E, and F have more volume? I have a C and Im thinking of getting another but im not sure which to get and they are quite expensive.

GreenHausNetworks says:

Thanks for posting this! I play around a bit with harmonicas, but never enjoyed higher pitched ones. I think this is one I’ll be looking at.

Shane Boylan says:

nice vibrato mate, is that throat or diaphragm?

LibertasVeritatis says:

lee,you are a great ispiration to me!

Geetar2112 says:

Just ordered my first low harp, a Thunderbird in F. Thanks for the review!

ivansaric33 says:

Excellent review Lee, you convinced me. I’m getting one but I’m going to do some busking to pay for it.
Can’t wait to try Bye Bye Birdie on a Low C
Your videos are so helpful mate THANK YOU. Ivan

Mark W Silliman says:

Question: Is this based on the Marine Band in terms of the size of the holes? I prefer Sp20s because the holes are bigger…great job with your introduction..really appreciated it!

griswold says:

Thanks for that Lee, love your vids by the way, very informative and great playing too. Just wonder if there’s any chance of doing you one on vibrato, that would be great.

Robbie Speirs says:

Nice review

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