Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Bob Dylan signature harmonicas unveiled

October 8, 2008 | 11:00 am

They’ve bottled and sold Elvis’ sweat, so I guess there’s a certain logic to offering rock fans a shot at some of Bob Dylan’s spit.  Once you get past the initial “eewww!” factor, though, the new collaboration between rock’s poet laureate and the Hohner harmonica company holds a certain fascination. 

It’s the first time Dylan has ever endorsed any product, in this case a signature line of the Hohner harmonicas he’s been wheezing into for the better part of a half century. The Bob Dylan Collection is on exhibit at the Sam Ash music store on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and boasts the answer of what to get for the truly expectorating, er, discriminating Dylan fan: a harmonica actually played by the man himself.

There’s a hand-signed set of seven harmonicas — one in the key of each note of the C major scale — and they’re authenticated to guarantee that Dylan not only owned them but blew into them at some point in time.

The price tag? $25,000. Act fast, there are only 25 sets for sale.  Don’t have $25K to spare? A slightly more modest option is available. A single harmonica, hand signed — but not played — by the Bard of Hibbing, Minn., comes with a record of authenticity inside the box for just $5,000. Just 100 of these are out there.

Finally, there’s the custom harmonica in the Dylan series without the actual signature or spit for $129. But they do boast gold-plated reed plates and cover plates with an inscribed replica of Dylan's autograph. Just for comparison purposes, a garden-variety Hohner marine band harp played by thousands of folk, rock, country and blues musicians averages $25.

Are the Dylan harps worth the difference? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

--Randy Lewis

Photo by Karl Walters / Getty Images