[Harp-L] Re: Chinese & Japanese Harmonica Companies
Here are the websites for a few Chinese and Japanese harmonica companies. In
general, the Japanese harmonicas are better, but there are a few exeptions.
One example of a Chinese-made harmonica is the Huang brand. Huang, Inc. is a
USA company that has it's harmonicas manufactured in a large harmonica
factory in Shanghai. I wish I clould remember the name of that company.
Wuxi-Suzuki is a joint venture company with it's factories in China. Wuxi
(Chinese) and Suzuki (Japanese) have combined in this to make harmonicas. Most
of the Wuxi-Suzuki products are not the highest quality, but are definitely
playable. I own the Wuxi-Suzuki "Golden Butterfly WH-12" chromatic. It's a
copy of the Hohner CX-12 chromatic harp, at about 1/3rd the price of a Hohner.
The WH-12 Wuxi-Suzuki is identical to the Hohner CX-12 black, except for the
The Swan brand is also a Chinese company. They make respectable harmonicas,
playable and they sound as good as any other brand, but at a much lower price
than Hohner or Suzuki products of comparable models. As in the other Chinese
brands, the sound is as good as the German and Japanese brands (in my
opinion). The difference between German- or Japanese- made harmonicas and the
Chinese harmonicas is usually in the lower labor costs in China, plus the lower
quality of materials used. I have a Swan 16-hole chromatic that plays as well as
it's German competitor, the Hohner Super 64. The Hohner is made to last. The
Swan doesn't have the same craftsmanship or materials behind it, but the
sound is, to my ears, as good as Hohners or Suzukis).
The Chinese brand Golden Cup is, to be kind, inconsistent in quality, but
low in price. They also have a few products that no other known manufacturer
sells, such as a 3-deck chord harp. I have never dealt with the Golden Cup
Tombo, a Japanese company, makes superior products, but they aren't
distributed in the USA, except the Lee Oskar brand diatonics, made by Tombo. I have
3 Tombo harps, one a valveless chromatic (in my opinion it's the world's best
valveless Unica Formal slide chromatic), a 3-octave solo-system diatonic,
and a mini-harp. If you are interested in the Tombo brand, you must deal
directly with the Japanese factory personnel. They have a salesman that reads and
writes in English, and the company is consumer-friendly. You'll pay by US
Postal money order. Follow the directions of the salesman. It is a slow process,
but you'll be very satisfied with the Tombo products.
_www.suzukimusic.com/harmonicas_ (http://www.suzukimusic.com/harmonicas) or
Suzuki, another Japanese company, makes superb harmonicas. A Suzuki model in
general costs a little more than the comparable Hohner model. They have an
office and repair facility in Santee, California:
In general, the Japanese companies are consistenly of the highest quality.
In general, the Chinese brands are of inconsistent quality, but are lower in
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