Hohner MarineBand 1896

How to keep it shinning


The present day Marine Band 1896 has stainless steel covers, which do not discolour through playing. You only need to wipe them down with a soft cloth. Older examples however have nickel plated covers, which lose their shine through contact with saliva.


as you are putting in your mouth, do not use any harsh cleaners like oven cleaner, WD40, ammonia. They also thin the plating making more pitting in the future. saliva on kitchen towel rubbed in circular motion keep repeating this hope this helps.image
even this looks bad after repairs inside and out now happy to play.


To clean the cover plates properly, remove them from the harmonica. Even just rinsing them in warm, soapy water and a light brush will clean them up pretty well. Dry and wipe down with a soft cotton cloth or rag. Don’t soak the whole instrument in water. You can wash plastic combs. But do not wash wooden combs.

Then after using the instrument, a good way to clean and shine the instrument, is to use a silver cloth as used by orchestral/marching bands on tubas, cornet, horns etc. These cloths are made for silver plated instruments and are an excellent cleaning tool for harmonicas. Trevor James (flutes) and Denis Wick (mutes and mouthpieces) are two manufacturers who make these cloths. Both are excellent quality.

Finally, just wipe down the outside of your harmonica after playing and that will help keep your instrument clean and in good condition. It’s much nicer to play an instrument like that.

I hope that helps.


Hi All,

Happy New Year and thanks for all the information you shared here.
So, just to be clear: does a Hohner Marine Band 1896/20, with wooden comb need to be taken apart for cleaning?

Thanks and regards,

Hi Greg,

welcome to the forum and thanks for your question.

Both covers and reed plates of the Marine Band 1896/20 are affixed with nails (they look a little like small screws but aren’t). This instrument was not originally intended to be disassembled for cleaning. However, it’s certainly possible and some players do. I would only try this if the harmonica is malfunctioning in some way (e.g. a reed is sticking or severely out of tune). Hohner accepts no liability for any damage incurred.

If you decide to take the harmonica apart, proceed as follows:

Carefully lever up the ends of the covers with a knife blade so that the nails are pulled out. Leave them in their holes in the covers. Then gently lever off the reed plates, taking care not to bend them and also leaving the nails in their holes (they’re easy to lose otherwise).

To reassemble, pinch the nails back into the original holes with pliers.

This is fiddly and needs to be approached with care, which is one of the reasons why we introduced the Marine Band Deluxe and Crossover models, which are entirely assembled with screws for easy maintenance.

Hope that helps

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Huh, Thank you, Steve. I genuinely appreciate your advice. Perhaps one day, I’ll summon the courage to dismantle it, following your guidance!


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