Summary: I am not a harmonica player, so I was looking for a decent harp at a fair price. Even though I am a beginner, I didn't want to buy just any beginner's harp so I thought I would go up a step and buy this intermediate harmonica. Research told me Hohner was a very good brand, and it couldn't be more true. I am a singer and I have always loved one of Billy Joel's more popular songs "Piano Man". I learned the song fairly quickly and this harp sounds incredible.
Summary: The Big River is touted as the "workhorse" of the German made Hohner line. Another way of saying that is that it's the lowest end of their "quality" harps. OK. Fair enough. It's certainly better, much better, than their pitiful Chinese made junk, eg., the Piedmont Blues harp or the Bluesband harp (I speak here from experience on the latter).
Summary: The Big River has great sound. A few days ago I was bending blues loudly, while walking on an Oregon beach. The sound really carries. I've been playing Hohner blues harps for quite awhile and finally worked around to my first big river and I'm sold! Truly I cannot say if new benders would have a problem with them because I've been bending for years and so can't tell. My impression is that big river is a very durable harmonica and fantastic for the price.
Summary: This is not a bad harmonica, however, I bought this harmonica as a beginner and did not find out until yesterday why I was having so much trouble hitting single notes. The comb of your normal harmonica sticks out from the rest of the harmonica. This harmonica's comb is pushed farther inward instead of outward. It may not seem like it means much, but when I bought another harmonica whose comb stuck outward, I hit all single notes.
Summary: Got this harmonica from my sister last Christmas. It's in very good quality sound and very responsive. The Big River looks great, easy to hold and comes with a neat plastic case. Totally worth it!