Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby straightblues » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:56 am

Hey guys, I am just starting to play harmonica. I have a Specail 20 and I need harmonicas in a few more keys. I see all of the these cheap harmonicas from China that are under $10. Are they worth it or should I just stay away? I was thinking I would buy a whole set so I at least have something for every key, and then as things progress, replace them all with Special 20's or some equal harp.

I am a guitar player so I have several amps and my dad used to play harmonica back 20 years ago, so I have an old JT30.

What do you think?
straightblues
Regular
 
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2003 5:46 pm

Re: Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby gheumann » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:14 am

I've tried a few - they were really and truly garbage. Special 20's are a great value - very good harps for not a lot of money. I know of nothing much below them on the price spectrum that's worth a damn.
gheumann
Regular
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:30 am
Location: Sonoma County Wine Country - California

Re: Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby jbone1 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:59 pm

i tried several cheepies years ago and was uniformly disappointed. then the bushman delta frost came along which i suspect is a suzuki harp slightly tweaked. i recently bought a suzuki bluesmaster just to check it out. the cover plates are interchangeable with a delta frost and the sound is very similar for about $7 less a harp. i do keep delta frost harps in my case and use them on a lot of things but i have also "graduated" to the suzuki manji, which is more expensive but worth it imho.
sp20 is a good work horse harp as is the big river, also a hohner model, made in china, but pretty well made. the big river is slightly bigger than an average harp and takes a bit more wind to play- different reeds and plates i think- but is a decent enough harp.

if i were starting out, i'd go with sp20, big river, or suzuki bluesmaster. all pretty well made and dependable if one doesn't draw too hard too often!

and btw, grteg heumann is a hero of mine- an ace mic builder and modifier! he's a go-to guy for your mic needs.
jbone1
Regular
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:43 am

Re: Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby dcblues » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:08 pm

The Hohner Piedmont Blues are worth getting for the case they come in. You can give the harps to kids and put your regular harps in the case. I did that a few years ago.
User avatar
dcblues
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 1398
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Re: Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby bottleneck » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:18 pm

i think the suzuki harpmaster is one of the best bangs for the buck.if yyou can find them,hering master blues are also good lover priced harps.
bottleneck
Regular
 
Posts: 488
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: PHILADELPHIA

Re: Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby too2tall » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:00 am

If your just learning harmonica then I agree the low end suzuki is the best bang for the buck as you get better then personal preference for the upper end harmonicas. Then on to customized and lots of dollars but playability that is necessary to do the more complex stuff. But James Cotton still uses Horner Marine band last time I saw him and he makes those things wail.
User avatar
too2tall
Regular
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:15 am

Re: Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby jeffl » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:45 pm

Regardless of what you play through in the beginning, no harp will stand up to the kind of abuse most of us perpetrated on our harps when we began to learn. BarbequeBob Maglinte-- one of our more accomplished harpers on this board -- would jump in with a sermon here about primarily playing with too much force when you start out. It's natural to do so, and it wrecks harps. Also, it's normal to develop too much saliva in the beginning, and that's hard on reeds as well. You're probably gonna blow up harps, so ya' just decide how nice a harp yer' willing to destroy.

On the other hand, we all know that no matter what instrument you play, an instrument that feels, looks, and sounds good can be an inspiration and a motivator to you for the purpose of advancing your abilities.

Force destroys harps, and it also slows you down and makes your playing less nimble. Practicing without amplification is preferential to wailing away through an amp. If you develop the tones you want acoustically, you'll only sound better amplified. You can always hook up the gear and get your ya-ya's when you've finished a good acoustic practice session... at some point you gotta learn the gear too. :)
jeffl
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 4051
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:04 pm

Re: Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby TC6969 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:32 pm

Playing harp is like singing in reverse.

A lot of newbies try to get that wailing sound from the reeds before they learn that it actually comes from the mouth and diaphragm of the player.

Once you figure out how to shape the notes using your body, the wear and tear (and the replacement cost) goes down exponentially.
TC6969
Regular
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: Are the cheap Chinesse harps worth buying?

Postby TNFrank » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:31 pm

Depends on how much work you want to put into em'. If you're willing to gap and adjust the reeds and Micropor them to make them more air tight then yes, they can be a pretty good value for someone just getting into playing but if you want something you won't have to fool with then spend the extra and at least get something like a Big River or HarpMaster. JMHO, YMMV.
User avatar
TNFrank
Regular
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:22 am
Location: Crossville, TN., U.S.A.


Return to Blues Harp

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron