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Pre-War and Vintage Harmonicas

There's an old saying that goes, "They don't make them like they used to".  That certainly applies to harmonicas made prior to World War II.  These harmonicas, affectionately referred to as "Pre-Wars", are coveted not because they are rare and collectable, but because of how well they play.  Beginning in the 1850's harmonica making was a craft that was passed down from generation to generation.  By the time the 1920's, 30's and 40's rolled around Hohner employed thousands of skilled craftsmen who produced millions of harmonicas a year.  The most famous model of all is the Marine Band 1896.  It has been the harmonica of choice for blues musicians for decades.  

Blue Moon Harmonicas has been accumulating Pre-War Marine Bands (including many of the "Mouse Ear" models) and Old Standbys for years.  

We have meticulously restored over 100 of these treasures and put them back into the hands of musicians who make beautiful music with them.  

As you consider your options understand that we are in the unique position of being able to offer you Pre-Wars that can be restored to your specifications.  We can restore them and keep them completely original, including the pear wood combs and nailed construction.  Or we can build you a pre-war with one of our custom combs and replace the nails with screws.  We can keep the original 7-Limit Just Intonation tuning or we can tune it to Modern Compromise Temperament. Whatever you decide.

Pre-War Marine Bands and Old Stanbys were only made in 7 keys - G, A, Bb, C, D, E and F.  Of those, the key of C is the most commonly found with the key of G being a strong second.  The rest of the keys are relatively rare, but can be found.  Condition is another factor.  Surprisingly it is not that uncommon to find Pre-Wars in mint condition, with hardly any play on them.  Others are in pretty rough shape when we get them.  

And so when it comes to pricing the Pre-Wars, all three of these factors come into play - Key, Amount of Customization and Condition.  Supply and demand being what it is, a Mint Condition C will cost less than a Mint Condition D or E or F.  A harmonica with a Custom Comb will cost more than one with the stock Pear Wood comb (which will be flat sanded and sealed).  

We will keep some "Ready To Go" Pre-Wars listed on our website but if you don't see what you are looking for, let us know.  We'll be happy to have a conversation with you about what you want and quote you a price.  And remember, even with the Custom Pre-Wars that we offer, your Satisfaction is 100% Guaranteed.  If you are not completely satisfied we will cheerfully refund your money.

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