[Harp-L] Re: Out of the box harp

Steve Power wrote:
After decades of playing Hohner I stopped playing them about 10 years ago 
and refuse to buy them unless it's an emergency and I have no other choice. 
I had reeds break off twice on draw notes during performance in front of 
very larg audiences. I sent the broken reeds and the reed plates to Hohner 
Germany who admitted in writing that the alloy used was defective.

Steve Baker responds:
As you may know I've worked closely with the Hohner company in Germany as a consultant for the past 25 years. At the time you mention, Hohner did have issues with reeds breaking, this was a frequent topic on Harp-L for years thereafter. However, the reason for the breakages had nothing to do with the reed alloy, it was a consequence of the reed profiles. I can't imagine anyone in Trossingen making any such statement and it's definitely not true that the alloy used was "defective", so maybe something got lost in translation. Reed breakage does not constitute a manufacturing defect and isn't covered by warranty.

As has been discussed on Harp-L on various occasions, the profiles of all Hohner classic reeds (those used in Special 20, all Marine Band models, Golden Melody and also all chromatic models) were changed in about 2003 and the current reed life is far longer as a result. I also play about 100 gigs a year and my harps (Marine Band Deluxe & Crossover) get a real hammering, but I rarely wear out reeds. Complaints about reeds actually breaking off have ceased since the profiles were changed. 

The past ten years have seen far reaching changes in the harmonica industry in general, so passing judgement on any manufacturer's products today on the basis of what they were like then can be misleading. 

Steve Baker

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