Newer harp player here. Only been playing for about 6 months, but I've advanced enough to the point where I'm looking at buying more harps because I can't jam in enough keys with only an A harp.
I ordered an "A" Lee Oskar a while back on the recommendation of this site, harmonicalessons.com, since I had completely destroyed my cheesy Hohner "Bluesband" "C" harp by then. It's lasted quite a while, but has worn out, of course, and prompted me to buy a couple more. I decided on an "A" Marine Band and a "Bb" Special 20, ordered from WWBW, of course. The Marine band has curiously gone up in price on that website since then, oddly.
I got the Marine band first and was struck by how good of a harp it was for being about half the price of the Lee Oskar. It's not nearly as comfortable, of course. The holes aren't smooth and the wood sits behind the reed plates, so I tasted metal for a while and it took a while to get used to having those ridges there. Still, I can see why this was the preferred harp of many famous players as it's much brighter than the Lee Oskar and very "reedy" in tone. And even if it is not physically as loud, but I amp it and it sounds better amped with my equipment. The Lee Oskar has a much purer, "cupped" tone. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Bottom line, for $18, it seems like a steal.
The Special 20 arrived today and my guitar friend and I jammed for a bit. This harp impresses me, I have to say. It is extremely responsive, much moreso than the Lee Oskar, and has a more "bluesy" tone, IMHO. It also takes less effort to bend notes than on the Lee Oskar, again contributing to a smoother, quicker, mroe responsive feel. I like it a lot.
I would pose the question as to what you guys see as the advantages and disadvantages to these harps and which one is the "best" in your honest opinion. Also, are there any other harps I should try before I decide to order a set of a particular type?
Right now, to be honest, I'm torn between the Marine Band and Special 20, but surprisingly, I can determine one thing: they indicate to me that the Lee Oskar is very over-hyped and certainly not a very good deal harp-per-harp when compared to these Hohners. Really, the only thing it has going for it is that more "cupped", mellower tone (which is personal preference), the fact that it is louder than the others (non-issue when amped), and the fact that its build quality surpasses the Hohners by a significant margin (not worth $15).