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Hohner Crossover? New Suzuki?

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Will Vogtman
Apr 08, 2009 11:45 PM GMT

Anyone hear anything about the Hohner Crossover or a new Suzuki model?

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Apr 12, 2009 3:05 AM GMT
Civet Cat Replied:

theres a new suzuki coming out soon...cant say much more about it other than it will be better than the fire breath and cheaper or the same price. The cross over is now big whoop, just a glorified MB deluxe.

Apr 12, 2009 4:31 AM GMT
Zack P Replied:


Apr 12, 2009 8:24 AM GMT
Randy S Replied:

I did combs out of bamboo laminate flooring years ago but it burned the tooling pretty bad.

Smoked like mad. Was an awesome material though. After I sanded the pitch from the slots.

Very stable and I highly doubt it would even need to be sealed. A friend still has some and they are still straight and have never warped or swelled up.

Apr 12, 2009 2:06 PM GMT
John P Replied:

No matter what type of new comb material they may have, I've never played a Hohner that has compression as good as a Suzuki.

Apr 13, 2009 1:46 AM GMT
Bluesie Replied:

John, you are right about the compression still, the SP20 comes very close in that department. My complaint with Suzuki is their reeds which are quite fragile. Most of them, even the cheap Bluesmaster overblow quite easely out of the box or don't need too muck tweeking to do it. So, if Suzuki was out with an harp with tougher reeds like Hohner does, it would be my definite choice.

Apr 13, 2009 2:56 AM GMT
THOMAS F Replied:

The "Crossover" is completly sealed,bamboo comb.0.9 mm thick reedplate harp from Hohner.

$60.00 MSRP.

Apr 13, 2009 12:20 PM GMT
John P Replied:

My experience with Suzuki Hammonds and Promasters is that their reeds aresignificantlymore durable than any Hohner reeds. I've been playing my performing set of Suzuki Hammonds for almost 3 years, usually 2-3 nights a week and i have not had a reed go bad yet. I've been using my Promasters for practicelongerthan that and have not had a reed go bad yet. I used to play Hohners and they certainly did not have that sort ofdurability. i don't know about Bluesmasters, but the Suzukis I have are definitely not fragile.

Apr 13, 2009 5:46 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

The two big sifferences between the MB Deluxe and the MB Crossover is that where the MBD uses a partially sealed pearwood comb (that is, sealed only on the outer edges, like the way a Hering 1923 Vintage Harp and Hering Master Blues is presently), the MBX comb is laminated and fully sealed bamboo, and other thanspending the money ona custom harp, the only other stock diatonic that has a fully sealed comb is the Seydel 1847 Classic, which has the fully sealed maple comb. The other difference is that the tuning being used is a comprimise tuning, but an entirely different one where no note is more than 6 cents flat, so it's a lot closer to ET than what's presently being used on the Hohner MS series, which was designed to be closer to that than with the MB, MBD, and Sp20. Supposedly, the slot tolerances are going to be a bit tighter too.

Apr 13, 2009 6:26 PM GMT
John P Replied:

The Suzuki Firebreath is a stock diatonic that has a fully sealed rosewood comb.

Apr 14, 2009 5:15 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

The new Suzuki you may be referring to is the model called the Fabulous. It is the first Asian made diatonic that uses long slot reeds, which German and Brazillian made harps use, which tends to be more overblow friendly, and generally has a deeper overall tone. The comb material is silver plated brass, and that's gonna make it weigh like a ton of bricks (I can attest to that when I played a chromatic that Mike Turk had made for him by Frank Huang, who at the time, was a harp tech for Hohner before he left with his brother, Cham-Ber Huang to form Huang Harmonicas, and the harp used pre-WWII reed plates, slide/mouthpiece assembly, special designed covers, and chrome plated brass comb and was not a harp you'd try holding together with a mic in your hands with because of the enormous amount of weight).

It comes in two different tunings: one in ET largely aimed at the overblow players, and 7 Limit Just Intonation, which is aimed at blues players, which is a market that Suzuki really hasn't made that big a dent in, especially in the USA, more so with the traditionally oriented players.

Having tried a brass combed harp, it tends to emphasize, to my ears, the highs a lot, and is louder, but it may not be to everyone's personal taste and it goes for about $200 each, and for about $20 less, I'd rather get a customized harp from the Filisko guild of customizers Joe Filisko/Richard Sleigh/Jimmy Gordon than pay that much for a stock harp, given the history of stock harps by comparison.

Apr 14, 2009 8:06 PM GMT
John P Replied:

Suzuki Firebreaths have long profile reeds and predate the Fabulous. i've got a Fabulous. Very precise and responsive instrument but the basic tone is BRIGHT. Pretty heavy, too, but not so heavy that it's hard to handle.

Bob, What's your opinion on how comb material affects tone?

Apr 14, 2009 8:59 PM GMT
Joe Replied:

Firebreaths do not have long slot reeds.

Apr 15, 2009 5:16 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

MY own personal opinion of comb material is that it does effect the tone, but often times, what really effects it more is the reed material, slot length and width, the size and shaping of the holes,the cover plate design, but the single biggest X-factor of them all is always gonna be the person playing it. The person playing the harp is far more likely to hear differences than the general audience ever will, and a highly skilled player is more likely top negate differences than the average player would because of better overall playing technique. Most of the time, the differences tend to be really subtle more than dramatic, but every player's ears are different, and I'm not saying that to be diplomatic about it.

BTW, Joe Spiers, who's one of the best customizers in the business, is telling you the truth about the Firebreath.

Apr 15, 2009 11:32 PM GMT
Zooza Z Replied:

One Day I will have to try some new harps importing issues and such here hohner and lee oskar are the only 2 brands i can get at the moment,

Bamboo comb hmm that means its more environmentally freindly due to cutting down less trees it should be cheaper too then due to how sustainable bamboo is and how fast it grows

New suzuki model I wonder how its going to play

Apr 21, 2009 8:04 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Having just taken a peek at the Suzuki website and reading the description of the Firebreath carefully, nowhere on the website or on the product description does it say that the comb is fully sealed, as all harp manufacturers are gonna tell you that if it is or not in their product description. In fact, there's not a single mention of sealed combs at all, but it says it's (quote) "resistant to moisture and swelling," which is much the same thing when Hohner introduced the MS series with the MS Blues Harp, the now discontinued MS Marine Band (issued only in Europe), and the MS Martin, which uses an African wood called Doussie, which is a much harder wood that is more resistant to swelling, but just because it says resistant clearly does not mean in any way, shape or form that it is sealed, and I know for a fact that the Doussie combs are not sealed at all from the factory and I'd bet the farm that the Firebreath isn't either.

Apr 21, 2009 10:02 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:

What is the MS Martin?

Apr 21, 2009 11:42 PM GMT
John P Replied:

Whether they are sealed or not, the Firebreath combs don't swell.

Apr 22, 2009 4:15 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

The Martin was a harp requested by the CF Martin guitar company to sell along with it's line of guitars and what it was, it was basically the MS Cross Harp (which uses a thicker reed plate than the Big River/Blues Harp/Pro Harp) that used the Doussie wood combrather than the plastic comb the Cross Harp used, and also the same black coating on the cover plates as well (it's a far better coating than what the Pro Harp uses). It's been discontinued for at least 5 years.

John P, rosewood, like doussie, is a harder wood that is less suceptible to moisture than pearwood, especially if it has been cut too close to the knot of the tree, but trust me, it can still swell if not properly sealed with the correct sealing agent, usually if you are in either a high altitude area or in an extremely dry climate.

Apr 22, 2009 9:20 PM GMT
John P Replied:

Bob, Do you think reed plate thickness makes any audible difference? When i was playing MS Pro Harps regularly (before i shifted to Suzukis) I put the thicker Cross Harp/Meisterklasse reed plates on some of them and, to my ear, the thicker reed plates made no difference whatsoever. Absolutely NONE. What do you think?

May 21, 2009 8:33 AM GMT
Bart L Replied:


I got Suzuki Fabulous (equal tuning) from polish Suzuki distribiutor for tests. It's really expensive harp, but really amazing too!

Summary of my test :

+ brilliant possibility of overbending (I can bend overblows and overdraws very easy!)

+ no effect of blocked reeds (for hard blows) at all

+ great materials and finish

+ loud and nice, bright tone

- price!!! (like Rolls-Royce, not for all...)

All informations and photos and mp3s on my web (polish only).

May 21, 2009 8:33 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

If you tend to play really hard all the time, you may not, but if you play with a wider variety of attack, and even more so if yopu tend to play with a more controlled finesse with a softer breath,and wide variety of dynamics, you will notice it.The thicker reed platewill make a reed play louder and more aggressively because the reed has a much wider swing, but if you're among the many who tend to play with far too much breath force, just the breath force alone will place significantly more stress on the reed, and when the thicker plate is added into the equation, it can get blown out faster, and the vast majority of players don;t think they play too hard, but at least 50-75% of players generally play much harder than they realize. If you've ever played a harp that has a double thick plate, it's even more noticeable and everything I've just said applies 100 times over in spades.

May 22, 2009 5:05 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

I don't know, but it has been used far longer than Howard Levy's been alive, so he didn't invent the technique at all.

May 22, 2009 11:33 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:

Birdhead! Birdhead did it first...Well, first RECORDED version. There is no 'inventing' a technique, in my opinion. Something tells me Birdhead had a real bad harmonica, six blow was really tight, and he just blew and it happened. So he started using it!!!

May 23, 2009 4:25 AM GMT
Zack P Replied:

I know, I was responding to Bob's post :)

May 24, 2009 2:07 AM GMT
John P Replied:

Bob, I've never played harp with double thick plates. Maybe i still blow too hard. I don't know...I don't blow nearly as hard as i used to in years gone by. What you say makes sense, but i can't hear the difference. i vary my attack and i haven't blown out a reed for 2 or 3 years. When ifirststarted playing sometimes I'd blow out a harp in a weekend. I like to think i play with a lot more finesse these days. Thanks for the info.

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