Hey everyone, This is going to be a negative post: Just a heads up, the company Gold Plated Harmonicas ( www.goldharmonica.com) they do not do good or honest work and their customer relations is rude, irrational, and terrible. The guy who runs the site is "Raymond", Here's what happened:
I ordered 13 or so double sided gold plated special 20 coverplates for my harmonicas. My reason for doing so was to end the problem of rusting coverplates. As you all know I travel constantly and deal with a wide array of weather/humidity conditions and even though I always try and wipe my harmonicas down and keep them as clean as possible they rust like crazy. The more you clean them, the more you wear the metal down and thus the faster they rust each time. I ended up paying something like 13.50 or something like that, a side, 540.00 dollars total. for 13 or so coverplates ( hard to remember) . Richard Sleigh had done some custom work on them as well and a small share of the money went to him, Richard Sleigh's work unlike Raymond's work was excellent as always!
The fella who runs goldharmonica.com, Raymond (sorry no last name ever given to me.) website claims the following:
"Increase Your Investment's Value ! Harmonicas don't cost 25 or 50 cents anymore ! They cost 10's - 1000's of dollars, so why let them deteriorate quicker than they need to ?. Keep them looking great for many years to come !. Get Them Gold Plated !! 24Karat Gold Plating by us keeps your harmonica cover plates, mouthpieces etc.... lasting longer than any chrome cover and they look great as well. You'll be proud to own your own gold harmonica !!! RW Designs.........."
Here's what I got 8 MONTHS after I ordered them from Raymond at goldharmonica.com : 8 double sided "Gold" plated that were not even fully "gold Plated" there were patches through out the plates of silver (Steel/original coverplate metal) coming through, they looked liked like they had been air brushed Gold! The rest of them had not even been "Plated" at all on the bottom/insides at all (as requested.) After they were finished and mailed to me, Richard told me that Raymond had said That he was having trouble plating Hohner plates! Pretty funny since his website claims they plate all brands and styles of harmonicas! No one called me through out the process to inform that the plating was not going well and would I like to discontinue the order or receive some kind of discount! It seems only logical that I should not have to pay for sides NOT plated! Instead he sent a few pairs of un-"Plated" knock off, cheap, Chinese blank coverplates as a consolation without even asking me if that was cool which it wasn't, ( I have tried using those with my own building). The reason I quote the words "Gold and Plated" is because I'm not sure they are Gold? I'm not a chemist but does Gold rust? Maybe it's just so, so thin thats its rusting underneath? I have no idea...He wouldn't answer this question.
Any way, when I got them I was stoked even though the work wasn't perfect I figured, what the hell at least they wont rust where they are plated, right? WRONG! After a week of laying they started rusting all over inside and out much FASTER than if they were just brand new steel! I was furious I called Raymond up and told his machine how pissed I was. Shortly there after my phone broke and the result was a wave of rude, apathetic, emails from raymond never answering any of my questions about a re-do, refund, or partial refund anything! By the time I pinned him down to a refund I was terrified that I would never see the money upon mailing them back. This guy was SO RUDE and far removed from reality during correspondence. He repeatedly told me he had already said this or claimed that nothing like that had happened, I had almost no communication with him until I voiced my complaint and he came alive. I knew when he started making things up out of thin air that reconsiliation would be difficult if not impossible. In hind site, he was trouble from the start, In an attempt to get a discount, I offered to hook him up with Richard Sleigh, Brad Harrison, Joe Spiers, and Chris Michalek and get those dudes to start carrying his stuff as options for their customers, so he declined (Which of course was normal) but was rude and arrogant about how busy he was and how he didn't care about my offer.
I'm not a big star like Bruce Willis or Van Morrison (the guys he boasts on his site) but I hope I can do some damage this company (goldharmonica.com)! Spread the word yall. Sincerely Jason Ricci aka Violin Cat
Last Edited by on Oct 25, 2009 9:22 PM
Buddha, Violin Cat, someone, anyone... I just superglued my harmonica to my lips...
As to gold plating, gold is really, really soft, and 24 karat is the purest, softest gold out there and plating is really thin. I don't remember this for sure, but I seem to remember from shop class that one ounce of gold turned into gold leaf can cover a tennis court and plating is thinner, I think than that.
As a practical matter I don't think 24 karat would work well for something that it going to be exposed to constant friction. If you are going to shell out that kind of money you might want to go to a reputable jeweler and get one made out of a harder grader of silver. It worked for silverware.
Am i getting the story right this guy burned Jason Ricci. If so man did he screw up.Thats messed up but its allmost funny on the part that he screwed up big time.From a business point.Thats like selling tiger woods messed up golf clubs.I got a lee oskar 25th anerversery gold plated harp i havent played it much because i was afraid of wearing the gold off.its pretty but if gold holds up good i sure would like to play it more.Ill never do business with him thanks for the warning.My qestion does gold hold up good or not?
Last Edited by on Oct 23, 2009 9:46 PM
My first post dissappeared. Gold plating is REALLY hinky. It takes very toxic/ poisonous chemicals such as various compounds of cyanide. The base metal can be like oil if certain dissimilar metals are in the compound. Chromium is notorious. Zinc as well. It sticks to others, but not reversed.
I seem to remember that to properly plate with gold, one needs to first plate with silver.
Would be pretty, very expensive...and after minimal playing the gold would bleed. Gold is too soft for a finish that gets worked. Even 10K that is mostly copper.
Why not just have a supply of stock covers in waiting? Or...is there anyone that plates with titanium?
[ I had powder coated some covers in wild colors a few years back. They looked REAL cool in neon reds, blues, and greens; but after playing a month they got sludgy. I would go for major glissandos and literally get stuck! Great theory...bad in practice. ]
OH, stay away from any cadmium coating! More than anecdotal evidence of a link to ALS!
Great to have this forum. Thanks for the warning. I had been debating with my allergic self for the longest time now to try out some silver/gold (or else) plated harps.... Sorry for you or anybody getting this kind of a treatment!
Superglue spray is one thing, but there must be lots of spray on varnishes that might work. It's a case of finding out which is the best (not intending to imply that I doubt that superglue is the best)
But that makes me ask what Brad Harrison is using for cover plates and whether he has looked at stainless steel? ---------- Bollocks, Wiglaf!
Last Edited by on Oct 24, 2009 2:10 AM
The finish on hohner coverplates has long been a gripe of mine. I have had to have all my SP20 and MB ones re chromed or painted. Even the black ones on the old Pro Harps deteriorate and I think they are powder coated.
Believe it or not, the cheap harps like Merano, Johnson Jambone and the like have identical coverplate dimensions to SP20 plates and while the finish may "blue" from the acid in saliva they do not rust. The "blue" is easily removed with metal polish.
Now that would be a good wind up if JR was spotted playing what appeared to be "entry level" harps at his gigs.
Funny how Suzuki and Lee Oskar covers don't suffer from this problem. Neither do the very cheap Hering Free Blues which have what I think are stainless steel covers.
I know you are a busy guy, Jason, but an appearance with so-called, "Raymond," on 'The People's Court' would be appropriate punishment with this kind of common crook. Entertaining, too.
Lots of harp players would be indebted for exposing a dishonest businessmen and the message it sends to others noodling ripping us (anyone) off. Keep 'em honest---sue 'em hard and fast.
Make him squirm---in court---and it really does not have to be on "Judge Joe Brown"-type programs. You could generate lots of arm-flapping media coverage in his hometown courthouse. Adult-kind of fun? You bet!
You can't take counsel to small claims court, but you can get help planning your case before hand. I'll bet you could get lots of testimony from other dissatisified customers---might not be admissible, but every judge is different---I know you are shocked to hear that.
If you have lost wages because of this misadventure you have damages and standing to litigate. I know it s not a lot of money and our legal system is a cluster-F**K hassle, but sometimes that's not the issue, right? If you are 'mad as Hell,' court is the place to get your pound of flesh and the news media would love it, his Chamber of Commerce would love it, too. Court is the place to put this guy out of business for all of us.
Kingley, thanks for that clarification and your time---glad to know I rise to the level of somehow referencing old Will Shakespeare. I've impressed myself...perhaps, I need to thank Andrew for pointing that out---and thanking my eighth grader teacher for making us read, 'The Merchant of Venice.'
Like you, I meant no harm. And as you said, it seems a stretch to indict our argot.
I certainly hope this forum doesn't become too politically correct and striden, perhaps I mean we should not start parsing each word in fear of misunderstanding or unknowing, unmeaning, historical references. I am not, however, saying we should every be insulting, rude, racism, elitist, threatening, homophobic, harassing, and all the rest.
Sometimes I think our fear of saying the right things, using the exact right words stop us from talking honestly about the issues above. It's a touchy area, so let's lighten up---this is the blue harp forum, gees.
I've read the typicals, Hamlet, MacBeth, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Julliet, but they were all for school. Come to think of it it was tedious wading through the archaic stylings and hidden themes, but at some level I enjoyed it. I think I'll check it out, it has been a year plus since I've read anything for recreation.
I like Shakespeare, but then I was an English Major. Never read any of the tragedies if you are already depressed. Romeo and Juliet is downright happy compared to Hamlet or King Lear, but back to point...
Titanium would make great covers. Mark Lavoie makes titanium combs. I don't know about covers. Aluminum doesn't really rust either, I don't think. How much metal do you think is in a harmonica cover? Silver is kind of high right now, at about $20 an ounce.
Andrew- As a English major I had an opinion on the word, I just wanted to keep my head down on this one. Your right, words change meanings and connotations over time. Just because someone uses a word that has become racist doesn't mean they are a racist. They may not know it's connotations. My mother has two cats, Clifford and Digger. One day she had them outside. I heard her calling them in baby speak. Unfortunately, that meant she was calling them Quiffer and Wigger. She had know idea what either word meant.
From my experience, I suggest that there be guidelines displayed about what moderators can and cannot do. If editing posts for content is within the mandate of moderators, then I think everyone should know about it and not find out like this - this makes the situation all the more ugly.
Also from my experience, this conversation may become a long and drawn out argument between proponents of free speech versus proponents of keeping the discussions to a certain range of topics.
Long story short: Censorship is black or white. Either editing of posts is acceptable or not, but it's very difficult to maintain harmony when the rules of what's okay to discuss and what's not are subjective.
Sometimes, censorship is required to keep an online community in harmony, and that's fine. Other communities don't take to censorship very well and it weakens the community. So, what approach is best for this place?
I can't remember if someone mentioned silver plate. If you look at all the flutes in the world, 99.999% of the ones used by professionals are silver-plated. The only reason James Galway plays a gold one (if he does) is because someone gave it to him as a present. Or you might get gold-plated flute mouthpieces if someone is allergic to silver (like my mother). Silver is much cheaper than gold and it does the job, and I guess because it's cheaper, it's put on thicker than gold. Silver flutes don't seem to tarnish much. Perhaps they use spray lacquer, which I know you can use on silver to stop it tarnishing, so I think spray-lacquering cover plates seems like the option to examine. ---------- Bollocks, Wiglaf!
I didn't hear anything about the most important subject when "altering" coverplates. How much does the sound change?
I remember reading about the history of the marine band. The coverplates were very thin during the war... When resources were available again, they did them thicker again - but apparently people didn't like it, because it made the sound duller.
Gold seems to be a very poor choice because of its weight (also if applied scarcely). And I would imagine, that this is similar with the other metal coatings. Probably the best choice is Buddhas glue spray - a thin and light layer should change the sound the least.
Any other ideas out there of a durable protection of coverplates?
I have removed every comment I made on this thread.
Even though I know that my reaction to the comment made against me was correct.
I took this course of action as I believe that this forum should be about the discussion of harmonica and all that pertains to it.
Jason I wish to apologize to you personally that this thread had been overtaken and the original content detracted from. I sincerely hope you find a solution to the problem of the coverplate corrosion.
I'm sorry Jason got stung but if you go to the offending website and do just a little digging you'll find that it looks rather tired and many of the pages haven't been updated since 2003. There is another customer on their blog complaing that they hadn't received a harp they bought six months ago and that was in 2007. They haven't even bothered to delete the post. The state of the site tells me all I'd need to know about this company. Unfortunately it is buyer beware but a little digging on a site can tell you a lot if you intend spending money with them. ----------
I definitely feel for him. I did the same thing recently. Spent hundreds of dollars on products/services with someone whom I never did business before to later regret having done so. Sure, I knew better but it sounded great. Usually it's best to stick to your guns and make a few smaller business dealings with someone to get to know how they are with their products or services even if they are quoting Bruce Willis.
---------- ~Ryan Pennsylvania - H.A.R.P. (Harmonica Association 'Round Philly)
There are several things to think about with harp covers...
Durability: will it bend, ding, rust or otherwise wear out.
Looks: Lets face it, we all want our harps to look great.
Sound: We don't want our harps to sound muffled.
Cleanliness: We don't want something that will collect germs or be hard to clean.
Smoothness: We want something that feels good and slides easy.
What can we do about it? Well, lets test things. Drop your iPhone on the ground. Does it break? Dent? Drop your toothbrush in the kitty litter box. Does it clean up ok? Do you get a funny aftertaste? Lick everything in your office cubicle. What seems to be the smoothest? Report back with your findings to this thread!
jason, how about just rechroming them at a local chrome plater.. i would guess that harp cover plates are chromed as cheaply as possable.. at least with a local plater you will be able to meet them face to face..
just try 2-3 and see how they hold up when professionally done..
Last Edited by on Oct 25, 2009 5:58 PM
Holy crap Randy! (genesis) Thats messed up! goldharmonica.com sucks! lol, I didn't know you got FAKE reedplates too....I think, that he thinks, we are all as dumb or dumber than him or something, that we won't be able to tell the difference between gold, hohner, suzuki etc... So far that makes four people already not including me who got ripped off by Raymond at goldharmonica.com. maybe I really should take him to the peoples court. Thanks for Posting Randy! J
Last Edited by on Oct 25, 2009 9:23 PM
Hello to all , just heard the news via a forum about Gold Plated cover plates. I do remeber years ago I had a Golden melody it was beautiful and played very well for me , I had that harp for 4 years till it started to go rusty and flakes of the gold plateing started to peel off from the rust underneath it!. I know it wasn`t real gold and I think thats why Golden melodies dont do em in gold no more !. I am sorry to hear about your being treated badly (J) Violin cat. Here in New Zealand he would be put outta bussiness real quick by his attitude and work ethics , there is such a department called the consumers institute that helps people like us comsumers to get a good deal and fair tretament , one thing in Bussiness "THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT" , thats the basic motto that all Bussinesses are based on and should be monitored regularly. If you got a fucked up job you deserve to get it put right or your money back ,and thats all your money back!!!. Personally id go for stainless steel plates they will never rust. Im sorry to hear about your situation (J) Violin cat. You go get that bastard, he needs to own up and pay for his mistakes!!!. Sincerely your friend, Davey G. New Zealand.
"The fella who runs goldharmonica.com, Raymond (sorry no last name ever given to me.) "
The guy in question is Ray Caraher, a British ex-pat. He seems to own about a bajillion different domain names promoting himself and his various activities which range from web-design (as someone in the business, IMHO they all suck), a writer (apparently unpublished), the aforementioned gold-plating business, running an British ex-pats association, and some sites dedicated to the memory of dead harp players. He's all over the web like a rash (a rash with very poor web-design skills)
There are several court shows. Don't go to the one with Judge Judy. That bitch decides the case the first moment she glances at the contestants, and after that, nothing else matters. She's already made up her mind.
With the facts of your case, you will win, but with Bitch Judy, your reduced to 50/50 odds until she glances at the two of you and decides.
Last Edited by on Oct 27, 2009 12:03 AM
Nacoran that is an excellent and constructive idea. I would very much wish to receive some emails off list from those that have additionally come forward and see what is possible. I have not enjoyed this negative posting nor did I ever wish to post this. I tried very hard for two weeks, even including the threat of this happening (In so many words) to resolve this issue before going public.
Rave reviews of shows, arts, and products frequently go overlooked and negative ones stir conversation without fail (one reason I love when people write "Fag" and other insults on youtube and other more signifigant forums). I am very active of course in promotion of various products related to our beloved instrument both professionally and recreationally. All I have ever done (up to now), my entire career is try and highlight the great companies, players, events, small businesses and people that I have fortunately worked with and for. I have done that here on this forum and on every other harp forum I know of, in person at NAMM shows, and other conventions etc... Never have I passed on a bad word, for the sake of flaming, or for the loss of 100.00 or less concerning unsatisfactory purchases or personal dislikes. The only time/times I ever mentioned shortcomings of any kind involving products (Hohner's I believe) was in reference to the differences between stock harps and custom harps, a simple comparison that I felt demanded careful and specific critique for the study's own validity.
As I am currently working for a new harmonica company (Harrison Harmonicas), I too know first hand how impulsive, spiteful, internet ramblings, often made by people not seeking retribution, consolation or refund can hurt a business and paint an other wise positive,productive, educational, forum/discussion or product for that matter black. It is not in my nature to focus my limited time and remaining will in any such direction. Airing dirty laundry almost always draws more attention to ones self than the cause at hand. Additionally I had no professional/endorsement style dealings with this company and this was a simple case of customer-merchant business that I feel makes it all that more relevant and simple (however negative) for a public forum. I also care about other harp players and there are too many good places to spend our hard earned money than to be diluted and mislead by individuals like Raymond goldharmonica.com.
Of course I hope to spend more future time in pursuit of more positive advertising (and experiences for my sake) all around. In breaking my silence here and elsewhere, I hoped to draw extra attention (precisely by being out of form) to this man: Raymond, and his company goldharmonica.com .
This experience was way out of hand and it happened to me personally, to the tune of 540.00, a top customizer's time and energy, and an eight month waiting period. Scarcely, in my 15 ACTIVE years of participation in the harmonica community do I recall many incidents (two infact) of such unapologetic negligence and blatant theft (those two did not happen to me) occuring in our small and generally trustworthy community. In this occasion, it wasn't simply the service/product and the incompletion of those there of, but the arrogance, apathy, and irrationality devoid of accountability and simple logic displayed by Raymond during the "problem solving" resolution period (Two weeks prior to posting) that struck me so hard and deeply. That practically forced me to write here. I gathered from most of all your posts here that you all understood all this completely and I am only writing this to further clarify the description of events that unfolded and why I was so motivated to take unfortunate, negative action against my usual form of discourse. Thank you Jason Ricci
Last Edited by on Oct 27, 2009 3:12 AM
J, it's never fun to have to get negative on someone(unless you are a total dickhead, which you are definitely not), but you were justified in your account, and something positive will come of it-count how many people who actually posted on this thread, and probably many others who at least read it, and be happy that none of them will also get screwed-simply because you spoke up. So, thanks:-)
Have you reported him to the BBB?
---------- Crescent City Harmonica Club www.myspace.com/harpboytodd www.myspace.com/crescentcityharmonicaclub www.myspace.com/am540
In my time knowing jason, he does nothing but speak good of folks, even when something happens he does not like, he still sees the good in people. So when he says he got screwed, he got screwed bad. There is no pattern of Jason badmouthing anyone. In fact, this is the only time I can remember Jason saying anything negative in public. Usually, he takes his lumps and goes on. ---------- www.elkriverharmonicas.com
Just a little update here: So I'm cleaning my harps right now before hitting the road and not only is the gold plating still rusty of course BUT the other dirt and rust additionally takes twice as much scrubbing to get off or even nearly as clean as the regular UNPLATED coverplates! These things were the biggest waste of money ever! unplated harps last longer and clean easier than the products from Raymond at goldharmonica.com ! How terrible is that. I'm so disgusted and frustrated with this situation. J