Hering Master Blues

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

Hering Master Blues

Postby dcblues » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:01 am

I got a Hering Master Blues harmonica tonight. It's a pretty nice harp, and it's moderately priced (more on that at the end of this post).

The original Master Blues had a plastic comb. I don't like plastic combs much, but it was one of the few that worked for me (the only other one I like is the Hohner Big River).

This one has a wood comb, and it feels and plays a lot like a Marine Band to me. But it's like a Marine Band that's much tighter and put together much better. It has screws instead of nails on the cover plates and reed plates. Hohner really should stop using those little nails and go to screws on their Marine Bands.

It plays really nice out of the box (actually not a box, but a faux leather pouch). I'm not a player who takes new harps apart and tweaks them (I really should be, but I'm lazy). I think it might be one of those harps that could be easily regapped to play better, especially since it's easy to take apart.

I haven't gigged with it yet, but I will next week.

The last new Hering I was excited about was the Vintage 1923. Great harp, but it went flat quicker than any other one I've played. Hopefully this one will have more life in it.

Getting back to the price - My regular vendor doesn't stock Hering, so I had to order it from one of their competitors. It was around $17.00 when I ordered it last week (and I see now that the price has gone up to $20.99), plus a $7.00 shipping charge. It would be nice to get them cheaper, but I guess they're close to the price of a Marine Band.

I'll post more about this harp when I get a chance to play it live.
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby mike932 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:01 am

I have heard nothing but good things about the herings, perhaps I should get a couple.
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby jeffl » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:18 pm

So, I'm assuming at that price that it doesn't have a sealed comb; is that right...? And, I'm with you concerning the 1923. I'd guess I haven't given that harp a fair shake (I only own and play one - a C), 'cuz I trust Hering's thinking. My complaint was that it took me a long time and careful use to break mine in, and I've basically assigned it to tunes where I do alotta chording, 'cuz I think it's got more bell-like tones than any other harp in my case. It might sound goofy, but heft and feel are important to me in my harp choices, and that's where I fell in love with the SP20 (a very subjective decision) . The 1923 is heavier and slightly smaller than the 20 and I'm not accustomed to it. Mebbe I'll have to give one of those cheaper Herings a try, even though I'm happy with the 20s.
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby barbequebob » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:34 pm

The 1923 Vintage Harp needs to be played gentler in terms of air pressure because of two things: A. The reed slot tolerances are much tighter than most stock MB's and B. the reed plate thickness is 30% thicker than a stock MB, (The Vintage is 1.20mm and the MB is 0.90mm), and the Master Blues reed plate thickness is the same as a stock MB, so there's less chance of a blowout if you tend to use too much breath force in your playing all the time. I believe that the Master Blues, much like the 1923 Vintage and Free Blues are also tuned to 7 limit just intonation also.

Just remember, whenever harps use tighter slot tolerances (customs all have this in common) and/or a thicker reed plate (again, do not confuse this with thicker reeds, which is an entirely different thing altogether), you need to use less breath force when playing them because air stays with the reed longer, making it play louder and more aggressively, as the chief cause of air leaks have been eliminated.
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby watertore » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:59 pm

Hi barbequebob: Have you tried one of the hering master blues harps yet? I will have to order a couple. Walter
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby barbequebob » Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:39 pm

I haven't just yet, but I may do so at some point to check them out personally. It's tough going back to anything stock once you've played customs because they spoil the hell out of you.
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby watertore » Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:04 pm

barbequebob wrote:I haven't just yet, but I may do so at some point to check them out personally. It's tough going back to anything stock once you've played customs because they spoil the hell out of you.


I can only imagine! That is why I am sticking to stock ones. I put my extra $ into studio upgrades. I am saving my gig money (put it in a jar) for a universal audio mic preamp/compressor (one like sinatra and the like used). Thanks and does anyone know where to buy them on the net? I checked coast to coast and they don't carry hering harps (or did I not see them?) thanks. Water
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby barbequebob » Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:29 pm

Coast To coast no longer carries the Hering line anymore, but you can get them at http://www.harphouse.com as they're now the main distributor agent in the USA for them now. I've checked their site and these are tuned to just intonation and they have the same plate thickness as the stock MB, and if it uses the same reed material and slot tolerances as the Vintage Harps, you shouldn't have to worry about them blowing out so quick because the plates aren't as thick, but in return, it won't be as loud, however if you alter the outside of the cover plates, that will compensate and make them louder (tho not as loud as the Vintage). If the covers can be interchanged with the Vintage (won't know until I get one), it'll be a best of both worlds.
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby watertore » Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:55 pm

barbequebob wrote:Coast To coast no longer carries the Hering line anymore, but you can get them at http://www.harphouse.com as they're now the main distributor agent in the USA for them now. I've checked their site and these are tuned to just intonation and they have the same plate thickness as the stock MB, and if it uses the same reed material and slot tolerances as the Vintage Harps, you shouldn't have to worry about them blowing out so quick because the plates aren't as thick, but in return, it won't be as loud, however if you alter the outside of the cover plates, that will compensate and make them louder (tho not as loud as the Vintage). If the covers can be interchanged with the Vintage (won't know until I get one), it'll be a best of both worlds.



thanks for all that info barbequebob! I ordered one in A and E. I look forward to trying them. Walter
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby jeffl » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:55 pm

Give us a report,Walter, when you play 'em. I took my sweet time breaking mine in, and slowly put it into my case rotation; I still think that maybe I got a bad one, but like BBQBob sez, mebbe I still played it too hard, even though I thought I was babyin' it. I still use it, but on a limited basis.
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby mike932 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:06 am

barbequebob wrote:I haven't just yet, but I may do so at some point to check them out personally. It's tough going back to anything stock once you've played customs because they spoil the hell out of you.


I have got to give a custom harp a try. Suggestions on where to obtain one would be appreciated. I am practicing on my new chromatic , but it will be a long time before I am ready to gig with it.
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby watertore » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:48 am

jeffl wrote:Give us a report,Walter, when you play 'em. I took my sweet time breaking mine in, and slowly put it into my case rotation; I still think that maybe I got a bad one, but like BBQBob sez, mebbe I still played it too hard, even though I thought I was babyin' it. I still use it, but on a limited basis.



will do and will add soundclips of the MB vs the hering. Walter
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby dcblues » Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:00 am

Mike, here's a few links to get you started:

http://tinyurl.com/6k6zo6
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby barbequebob » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:47 pm

mike932 wrote:
barbequebob wrote:I haven't just yet, but I may do so at some point to check them out personally. It's tough going back to anything stock once you've played customs because they spoil the hell out of you.


I have got to give a custom harp a try. Suggestions on where to obtain one would be appreciated. I am practicing on my new chromatic , but it will be a long time before I am ready to gig with it.


Before you go ahead and order one, you will need to know exactly what your playing needs are, how you play (including amount of breath force you use all the time), what genres of music you play, do you use overblows/overdraws, etc... Why? Unlike out of the box stuff, which is geared to a one size fits all approach, the custom is tailored to you and you only, and the first thing all customizers are grill you on first before any and all work is done and all of the above questions I've mentioned are what will be asked of you immediately, and these harps will be hyper responsive so that an extremely minimal amount of breath force is necessary and the average player too often have no clue about their own playing and playing habits, so it's vitally important that you have this together first because, for example, if you do overblows, and you don't tell them about this before any work gets started, trying to cheap your way out of it, it clearly won't the customizer's fault if you become unhappy with their work because the setup for it is completely different, so the onus would be on you. These harps aren't cheap and there is a long waiting period because this all done with hand labor one by one, which on a production line, would be far too expensive for manufacturers to do, and this kind of detail work is very time consuming, and if you think you're gonna pay the same price and get the same waiting time as anything out of the box, think again very carefully because that is not going to be the case because if you want quality, it ain't gonna be on the cheap!!!!
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Re: Hering Master Blues

Postby mike932 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:49 pm

Thanks Bob, that is the info I needed. I do a pretty good job with the off the shelf MBs. I was talking with Jason Ricci one night and he too loves the custom jobs, in fact he does some customizing himself. I use overblows , overdraws, and bend the notes as far as I can, but with your input I have learned not to blast the harp apart. I play with two different bands, one is mellow and I get by using minimal amplification. The other group is loud and wild, I use a Fender bassman 10 to punch over the mix. The wild group has a lot of harmony in their songs and we do not like to mic instruments and rely on the amps. Their sound is incredible, and loud. The bassman 10 works,( just don't tell Rico he was right) and punches through with no problem. My favorite amp, a Newcomb, is only about 5 watts of tube sweetness and I do not have to mic it when playing with the mellow group. I use a ART tube preamp to bring my bullet up to line through the Newcomb and the tone is what I like. Randy (the Blues Box) is currently giving my amp a Joan Rivers job. I am interested in the customs for the mellow group, we play old swing songs along with the Blues. I want to be able to provide a real soulful sound with minimal effort to keep the tension of the song in check. I am working on the chromatic but it will be awhile before I am ready to perform with it. I really like the chromatic, after watching and listening to TooTs , I have to learn it. Now the big question, who would you recommend for the custom harps?
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