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Dec 31, 1969 11:00 PM GMT
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Personally, I'm not fond of any of the Suzuki chromatics at all, especially the ones using the cross tuned slide setup (which is what Hohner uses on their 16 holers since about the mid 60's). For easy out of the box playability, I would go with Hering and that's what I've been using forover 10years and for the last 5 years, Rod Piazza's been using them exclusively (part of his endorsement deal). If you're fairly new to a chromatic, avoid getting the models that use a thicker reed plate because if you don't exercise good breath control, they can get easily blown out fromtoo muchbreath force.
What Rod uses and what I first started using about 10 years ago was the Hering 5164, which is stilla pretty good deal, and uses a round holed mouthpiece, as they do with all of their chromatics, they're straight tuned, andtheir mouthpieces are pretty comfortable.
What I've sometimes used are the comb/reed plate assembly from the 6164 which has the thicker reed plate but with the 5164 cover plates.
Hering chromatics tend to use a tighter slot tolerance than does Suzuki or Hohner, and like Hohner, they use long slot reeds and one of my pet peeves with Suzuki chromatics is that they use short slot reeds, but as long as you maintain good breath control and avoid trying to do hard bends like you're playing a diatonic, the 5164 is a good deal. Just remember, with a chromatic, the most you can bend is 1/4 step flat and none of them regardless of who makes them respond well to being played hard at all.
With Herings, it is very important that you do regular maintenance on the mouthpiece/slide assembly, which is basically keeping it very clean and the first few weeks, the windsavers, especially in the bottom octave tend to buzz, until it gets more used to being played regularly and/or warmed up first, and the windsavers are always a problem on every chromatic no matter who makes them.
Coast To Coast Music and Musician's Friend carries them in the USA, as does Harp Depot, but the stories I hear about these people since they bought the business from John Hall of Bushman Music leaves me a bit nervous.
Hey Harpaholic, just FYI there is a video on Rock'n Rons site of Brendon Power playing one of the Suzuki's. Maybe you have already seen it, but gives an idea of the tonal quality.
Rod plays the 5164 as the 16 holers and the 5148 for the 12 holers. I play that, as well as the 6164, and the combo I mentioned using 6164 reedplate/comb assembly (Hering calls that a combo, which is what you want to get if you need replacement reed plates), but using the 5164 cover plates. The 5164's originally came with a wood comb until 2002, but even if you have those old wood comb versions, all of the newer parts will fit quite easily, which can't be said for the wood and plastic combed versions of the Hohner 64 Chromonica.
Rod for many years alternated between the 64 Chromonica as well as the Super 64, and using the 270's in keys other than C. I also use Hering 7148's for keys other than C (for Bb, F, and G) and when they first came out, they were known as the Charlie Musselwhite Signature Model.
BBQ, When did Hering make the Musselwhite Signature Model?
Only problem with the Herings iswhere to get them fixed? It's long been an issue. Maybe recently resolved...has it been? My one Hering '64 ..the antique gold one, bought brand new (wrapped in a box) at a Convention, smelled and tasted horrible. Jason can vouch for this since I had him and Bobbie Giordano (co-maker of the Renny) try it out just to verify I wasn't nuts. Our overall conclusion was that it might be insecticide..it was truly vile. I could have returned it to the vendor, but it was the last day, everything closed up. Decided to take the advice of some of the more knowledgeable chromatic guys on Slidemeister...using all sorts of 'smell removing' devices...then ended up airing it out for weeks in a high-ceilinged room with the windows open. Eventually the smell faded and I cleaned it thoroughly to remove the taste. Now it plays okay when the valves don't buzz. It needs to be kept warm all the time.
Couple of my friends like Herings but I much prefer theSuper 64 (Hohner) for a 16 hole. Asked Brendan to play some Suzukis for me at SPAH (2009)...and while he plays beautifully, I'm not sure I'm all that enamoured of the 16's more 'breathy' tone. I liked their 12's better, but then I'm still in love with CX-12's...play them in different keys. If I was going to switch from Hohners would probably look at Suzukis.
Bottom line. We ALL have our preferences for what our ear likes best. You really do need to listen to the instrument up close..it's an investment of some cost. So you should try it out for yourself...and ease of ability to get it fixed or tweakedshould figure in as well. Good luck!
There isn't really anything wrong with the Hohner 64's. I've got two 64 Chromonicas. I use it for Blues in third position. They are fine. I've also got an old 2016 CBH that's got a killer sound to it.
I wonder, what is like "the Marine Band of Chromatic harps;" like the industry standard or most popular chromatic harp? I'm quite curious about the world of chromatic harps; seems like a whole different animal. Where do most people start with chromatic harmonica? Who (besides Stevie Wonder) are among the best and most well known professional Chromatic players?
I used Herings extensively about 4 years ago, but they tend to loose reeds much faster than hohners. The same problem was noticed by much other users. Once I blow out reed on almost new 5148 while playing live with orchestra and it was pitty.
After I blew out 5 reeds or soout of heringsI bought hoher chromonica 48 which is ok for last 3 years and chromonica deluxe 48 for gigs.
I have to note, for last 5 years I play very gentle both chromatic and diatonic.
Now I have only one heringin my gigcase. It'sdeluxe black 64 chrom but I use it only for gigs (for jazz balldes). I practice with cheap Chinese Swan 1664. Hering has great responce, but I'm affraid of blowing out reed and I dislike that in tuned much higher than I liked (446Hz vs 443 which is ok) and sometimes it sounds really bad with piano and I have to bend it a little (or find a day to retune all 64 reeds).
I never tried 16 holers from suzuki but once I tried Suzuki 14 hole chromatix and it was ok except last two holes which squeeze very easily. Anyway I still recommend you Hohner.
I believe David Payne of Elk River Harmonicas is now the authorzed US repairman for Hering. for many years, the only guy authorized in the US was the legendary chromatic tech/customizer John Infande.
Breath control when playing Herings is very important because they use a somewhat longer, thinner reed than Hohner and their slot tolerances are tighter and if you get the ones using the really thick reedplates, this is even more important to pay attention to. The 6164 uses a thicker plate and the 5164 uses the standard thickness, which will have a far less chance of getting quickly blown out, but again, breath control cannot be overemphasized.
Still, regardless of the manufacturer, chromatic harps do not respond well at all to bing played hard and this is a big problem with diatonic players making the transition to the chromatic.
I seen Suzuki is releasing a new line of Chromatics (Sirous), "hope I spelled that right".
I forget where I came across it, but seen some of a video. Sounded like quite a change in design that would simplify & give better air tightness. Anyone else seen that, & have ideas about it?
I'm not from United States. I can repair my harmonicas myself but it takes time, which I prefer to spend for practice. I sure that my breath control is ok, I play with soft attack, I don't use vibrato and bending on chromatic so extensively. You can listen to my chromatic playing herehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8nFg6MkFwE or herehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvw1nI9dHPM (closer to the end)
My Hohner chromos and my diatonics are ok, but not hering chromos.
One more question. If I have to play carefull on my herings whyarethey tuned so high (A4=446Hz)? It makes me bend them a little to fit piano tuning, it can reduce reed life too.
The ones I have are tuned to A443, which is close to where the vast majority of them are, so who knows if they're an oddball or what. I've never personally run across any Hering chromatics tuned up higher than A443. On the other hand, I've heard of a number of diatonics in certain keys from a wide variety of manufacturers sometimes tuned up to A444, and some higher pitched Hohners from D and up during the 80's sometimes came in as high as A445, and one Hering diatonic, the Golden Blues actually is supposed to come out of the factory tuned at A445.
I understand that the new Suzuki chromatic line is also going to use long slot reeds, but will have a redesigned cross tuned slide setup that will minimize the slide travel, which is one of my pet peeves along with very uncomfortable mouthpieces associated with the cross tuned slide setup that originated with the Hohner 64's in the mid to late 60's.
I've seen and own old hohners MS from the end of 90s which is tuned uncommon sharp. the last 30 I bought were tuned relatively good 442-443 Hz (443 is acceptable for me but a bit sharp too).Anyway It's not to hard to retune whole diatonic, I usually do that with any new diatonic (along with embossing, arking and gaping). I prefer compromise with limited 5th and I always retune any diatonic. It takes an hour maximum. Once I had to retunehering special 48 from 446 to 442 to fit slightly flat (439) piano in concert hall. I spent about 3 hours (longer reeds, mess with valves) and gets tired and nervous ((-:
It seems that hering send the bunch of their rejected harps to russia. Maybe they still thinks that bears can't play harmonica good.
Boris, one thing I forgot to mention that often gets forgotten is that many countries have different pitch standards. Here in the US, the standard pitch for decades has been A440 while in a number of European countries, the standard pitch has been A442 to as high as A444. It is also very possible that at one time, the standard pitch in Russia may have been higher than that, so you may want to do a little digging and even consult with a symphony orchestra about that as well. These standards sometimes changes over the years.
Russian standart for orchestra are 440 Hz, most pianos tuned to 439-442. I don't see any logical reason to tune harmonicas higher that 444Hz.
I've found the sc slider 16 hole chromatic from suzukito be the best for me. Bright tone and good response. Tried the scx and didn't like it as much but it does come down to personal taste. I've had herings and hohners, thought the herings weren't to bad but don't rate the hohners. I used to play hohner exclusively, both diatonic and chromatics but have switched to suzuki. They are better instruments for my style of playing. Again it really does come down to personal taste. Sometimes you have to spend the money and hope for the best, I've spent a fair bit of money on harps that I wanted to try andfound they were not right for me. Pity we can't try them in the shop like guitarists etc. All the best on your quest