Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > I was talking to Hering...
I was talking to Hering...
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nacoran
10073 posts
Mar 13, 2019
6:28 PM
I was trying to make a list of what harps had nickel in them for someone with a nickel allergy and that got me reaching out to a any brand I could find and I managed to track down Hering's FB page. I'd tried accessing their old site but it was gone- but I'd seen a few on ebay recently so I suspected they were still around. They sent me a link to their new site.

No idea how to get their harps from Brazil (and it may not get better... their new president sounds pretty nuts) but I thought I'd share the link for people who like looking at a variety of harmonicas.

http://shg.art.br/?fbclid=IwAR36kNpNv3GMUF6ADBr4App-vg4EDYc4POUlrm5_6SITYSiw5SYD-X0StYE

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Nate
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First Post- May 8, 2009
Komuso
805 posts
Mar 13, 2019
6:52 PM
Interesting, thanks. I used to have one of their chromatics years ago. It was nice, except the windsavers kept falling off.

Do you know much about the new cheapo harps coming out of China? Brands, quality etc?

Is there a comprehensive list anywhere of all the harmonica brands, as it seems a bunch of new ones have appeared recently.


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Paul Cohen aka Komuso Tokugawa
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jbone
2855 posts
Mar 13, 2019
8:05 PM
I had a few different Hering models some years ago. Still have and use a low C chromatic. Good harp. The 1923 Vintage model was a beautiful instrument but the reeds were either very soft or very thin. I killed a lot of reeds on the '23's and with the big lag on getting either reed plates or new harps into the US I had to leave them behind.
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nacoran
10074 posts
Mar 13, 2019
10:15 PM
Kongsheng seems to be quality from what I hear. I'm still waiting for my first one. You won't save much money on them though. The top of the line model from them runs $50.

I've got one Easttop. You can get them on alibaba a bit cheaper than Rons, ($15-$25) but from alibaba it will take about a month to arrive. From Rons it will be a couple days. For a $15 harp it is really good. I've been told you can't supe them up like you can a $40 harp, but I think, OTTB it plays pretty close to a Sp20 or LE.

Don't know anything about Shinling, and Huang still doesn't have the quality they used to. I had a $5 Swan that played better than a $5 Hohner.

The Easttop was good enough, and you can get package deals on a bunch of them, that I've considered buying a full set for a backup set. They seem to have different color covers on some models but I haven't figured out the system. I wish they'd do different colors on a full set. That would make it easy to tell them apart. They are labeled pretty well though.

So, I know of Hohner and Seydel (German), Tombo (LO) and Suzuki (Japan), Hering (Brazil), Kongsheng, Easttop, Swan, Huang (Chinese), Shinling, Melissa and Doug... there was an Italian company a few years ago called Murano... they still seem to sell instruments but I think they were just rebranded.

Yonberg (French) seems to be switching from Seydel reeds to their own reeds which would bump them up to full manufacturers. There is a Czech company that makes reeds, including for accordions, but also some harmonica ones, including I think, some for a customizer.

And someone makes Johnsons, but I have no idea who, but they've been around the whole time I've been playing. And there are a bunch of other names that seem to be rebrands -Fender, SonnyBoy (for Ben H. in England, he's a harp teacher).

A lot of smaller brands that I suspect are vanity brands. I think they are all out of China, although who knows. Someone sold me a new old stock Polish harmonica. Who know Poland had a harmonica company at one point. (Octave harp. It's name translated into Boy Scout or just Scout).



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Nate
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First Post- May 8, 2009
Komuso
807 posts
Mar 13, 2019
10:45 PM
Very interesting. Thanks!
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Paul Cohen aka Komuso Tokugawa
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SuperBee
5854 posts
Mar 14, 2019
4:57 AM
I found the remains of a harp on a beach once...turned out it was a Hering which I thought was quite amusing.
Or did I dream that?

Thanks for the address, Nate.
ROBERT TEMPLE II
63 posts
Mar 18, 2019
2:56 AM
I have recently been gifted two beautiful SHG-Hering harmonicas, direct from their factory in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brasil. I would have to disagree with you on this one, Nathan, the new owner is very nice, to say the least, certainly not crazy, at least not in my book. You can understand why I may be biased a bit. Not sure why you wrote that the new owner is crazy, Nate, seeing as it seems you have had virtually no contact with them. I would suggest you might want to hold off on the quick judgement of SHG-Hering.

Were you able to actually speak with someone there? Do you speak/read/write Portuguese? My contact there had, it seemed, minimal English skills but she certainly took care of me. My dealing with them over the past three months had been mostly in English. All I did was ask, repeatedly, without any expectations, about availability of their harps. They sent me a reasonable quote for the two harps, shiping included. They said they could sell to me direct from their factory. THAT was great news. So, I asked, repeatedly, for a way to get the money to them. I had given them my mailing address here for future reference, so that they could ship to me once they had my money. Then, out of the blue, Monday, March 4th at 10a.m., came the two harps to my door in a package I had to sign for...FREE!!! I don't know them personally, I'm just some guy who showed a big interest in those two models. They gifted me their "C6 tuned" 12-hole "See See Rider" [SWEEEEEET !!!] and their excellent 12-hole solo-tuned diatonic, the "Special 24", an excellent replacement for my larger, tired, old Huang Cadet Soloists.

I will say that it might be hard to communicate with them, I've heard that from a prominent U.S. dealer recently, as well. However, if you use Google translator, you can at least send them a question...or fifty. Perhaps it was easier for me as I am fairly fluent in Portuguese. I have lived in Brasil off and on since 1991 and have an affinity for their fine harps. Their welcoming culture is the complete opposite of what we are currently experiencing here in the U.S. Remember, the answer is always no, unless you ask, especially in dating. Well, maybe not so much in Brasil, but I digress. It's hot there, weather's nice, too.

There are a few Hering models available out of England at Eagle Music Company, in London, I think. I own several keys of their 12-hole chros, the 501/48 model, all from their older Hering company. They are all excellent harps, I have never had a valve fall out of any of their 501/48s, ever. I bought those 501/48s in the mid-1990s through the since-folded F&R Farrell [R.I.P.] I own a 16-hole Hering Deluxe Chromatic, a Golden Blow diatonic in C and one of their older models of their Master Blues with the black, non-wood comb, in F. ALL are superior harps. The Golden Blow is a really nice harp all the way around, easy ob/ods and the coverplate shape is perfect, for me, very similar to the Huang Silvertone Deluxe's shape. Their Special 24 solo-tuned diatonic is loud, crisp and only a tad longer than a standard diatonic which makes it easy to cup, even when holding a mic.

So, don't give up on SHG-Hering. Indeed, they need to get their business plan together if they intend to sell their products here in the U.S.A. I have recently learned that their main distributor is "Kelley Distribution." If you Google that company and add SHG-Hering, you will see SOME of the current SHG-Hering harps, all rather pricey. It is my understanding that Kelley is not really much interested in doing harmonica business, for reasons unknown.

If you know someone in Brasil, THAT would probably be the best way to get your SHG-Hering harps to the U.S. Course, shipping is a consideration, too, not cheap. Shipping alone for the two harps sent to me cost around $US 60. The best plan would be to go to Brasil. Lovely people there and with a backyard FULL of so many fine musicians, you can't imagine. They are my favorite people on Earth, so very appreciative of the arts, music and just really fun to be around, not uptight. They are very hip people.

I don't know if anyone noticed in their look at the link Nate attached above for Hering, but there IS a button to hit for English once you get to the SHG-Hering main page, top right. So, in case you missed that option, I am sending this link and a couple more.

http://shg.art.br/index.php/en/home-en/

The following link, in English, will let you send them a message, question, greetings, plea or whatever.

http://shg.art.br/index.php/en/support/

Here is the link I found for Kelley Distribution.

https://kelleydistribution.com/collections/hering-harmonicas

My hope is that in the near future we will read good news here from somebody who also loves SHG-Hering harmonicas and who may've recently purchased some. KEEP AFTER THEM !!!

Good luck, have fun. Cheers !!!

Last Edited by ROBERT TEMPLE II on Mar 18, 2019 4:09 AM
Thievin' Heathen
1124 posts
Mar 18, 2019
5:08 AM
Saturday, I was perusing Facebook Marketplace for harmonicas and came across a couple of Hering Charlie Musselwhite chromatics. Bb and an E. It looked like a private owner but turned out to be a pawn shop. I went to check them out anyway, but was not impressed with what I found. The Bb had a cracked acrylic comb and the E felt loose, rattley, and just generally cheaply made. For a moment I considered making a low ball offer to try to get the rounded mouth pieces and cover plates, but I was already disgusted with the expedition and left it all with them. Sticking with 270's for the time being. Some of them are real jewels. I enjoyed the Hering website.
Philosofy
899 posts
Mar 18, 2019
6:03 AM
In regards to Huang not having the quality they used to: they aren't made at the same factory anymore. The factory that used to produce Huangs back in the '80's is now making Golden Bird. They have been at SPAH for the last two years, and have two people distributing them here in the US: Connor Frontera and Jarred Goldweber.
hannes
50 posts
Mar 18, 2019
8:14 AM
@Robert: I once bought a Hering Master Solo which turned out to be EXACTLY the same harp as a Swan 12-24, only at 6 x the price ... very cheaply made and almost unplayable. The Special 24 seems to have replaced the Master Solo and I would be willing to give it a try if I can lay my hands on one.
dougharps
1928 posts
Mar 18, 2019
8:37 AM
I haven't tried the new Herings, but do still have a 8 older different keyed Hering chromatics as well as 5 keys of 1923 Vintage Harps. My comments relate to older Hering harmonicas, not new production.

I love how my Hering chromatics ($80 at the time) play, and how responsive they are to playing with expression. They are less leaky than my old Hohner 270s and I like the Hering round hole mouthpieces. However, the expressive reeds do not stand up well under hard playing and reeds would go flat.

I bought many replacement "combos" (reed plates mounted on a comb, just switch covers and mouthpiece for a "new" instrument) with gig money back when I lacked breath control and was playing them too hard at many gigs.

Replacement combos were relatively inexpensive then, under $40. I have also replaced flat reeds in Hering chromatics using good reeds from those damaged combos.

The Hering 1923s I bought have a nice just intonation, though a bit thin sounding. The wooden combs were very inconsistently flat, with one having deep saw marks beyond sanding flat, causing some leakiness. I seldom play them. My one "Hering Blues" bought in that era did not hold up for long, either.

I stocked up on more replacement chromatic "combos" in different keys at great discount when a vendor had an auction at a SPAH after Hering USA went away, so now I am set up with older Hering chromatic parts for quite a while. Still, I am interested in learning about the revitalized Hering Co. products.

I did buy a Caberet chromatic by EastTop per Danny G. at a SPAH a couple years back and I like it. Very airtight and responsive, with phosphor bronze reeds. It is cross tuned. I prefer straight tuned chromatics for ease of repair (so I easily know which plate a problematic reed is on), but so far I haven't had a need to take it apart to work on reeds.

I have some inexpensive riveted EastTop diatonics that play pretty well, though I didn't care for the black painted covers and swapped in some old Big River covers. All I needed to do to swap was some minor bending of the cover support back tabs.
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Doug S.
Lee Shamrock
15 posts
Mar 20, 2019
5:36 PM
Twenty years ago I bought 2 Hering diatonics. Both had multiple reed failures after very little playing time. Never bought another.

Last Edited by Lee Shamrock on Mar 20, 2019 5:36 PM


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