4 Chromatic Harmonica Reviews David Kettlewell & Frederica Cohen

David Kettlewell & Frederica Cohen review 4 Chromatic Harmonicas: a Swan 16 holer without windsavers, Hohner 280C, Suzuki Chromatix SCX 64, & Suzuki Sirius 64. Before you buy a Chromatic Harmonic, you need to watch this video.

I’d also suggest you look at my reviews of the Seydel Saxony, which is a superb harp and better than any of those reviewed here to my mind.

There have been many valid criticisms of Frederica’s playing of the Swan in this video. People have said a more experienced player would have had no problem. These comments are correct.
Frederica was included as a reviewer because she represents the views and playing of a beginner level player. Swan quality has improved considerably in the last few years, see their rounded mouthpiece models.

Swan’s new SW1248M Masters harp is a great value at about $100. I did a video review of this instrument recently, which you can find on Youtube. Enjoy our website http://www.mastersofharmonica.com and my many Facebook Groups including LOVE OF CHROMATIC HARMONICA


Jon Kannaly says:

Mmmmm…strange review. Was this video Frederica’s swan song? I think David needs an immediate upgrade
as regards his assistant. Perhaps someone who can play the harmonica like an adult and blow INTO it and not ON it. You’ll never get a note by blowing on the coverplates, Frederica.

David Kettlewell says:

I do want to mention that at the time this video was made, the Swan harp tested did not have windsavers, making some technique very very difficult for beginners to perform. Now the instruments do have windsavers. They have a new model a SW 1248M (master) which is a fine harp. It’s about $100 and Frederica feels it’s a great value.

Jay Breedlove says:

I don’t believe a word this lady has to say….. smh
She kills the whole review.

nr3rful says:

She is right. Swan is horrible

lionsareus says:

I voted thumbs up. Complaint: the Sirius sounds flute-like? But u only played it w/ vibrato, flutes don’t have quite that quality, wish u’d played it a bit more “straighter”so I could hear the flute quality.

MannyWyrm says:

I’m a beginner on the harmonica but I have 13 years of Chopin etude level experience… That said .. I purchased a swan 1664 off amazon for around 65 bucks… When it arrived it looked great until I i played it… It was very hard to play most of the notes… It felt like a toy…So I sent it back for a refund and bought the same model from the actual swan website… I spent 90 bucks including shipping … This time was different … It’s indeed a good instrument and easy to play and only needs a very very very very tiny but of petroleum jelly on the mouth piece to solve any leaking air… I love this instrument and will continue to practice 4 hours a day on it following David’s beginner lessons… I do feel the swan deserves an updated review because they are improving fast … This review was accurate with my first swan off amazon but not for the one purchased from the swan website… Like two different instruments

David Kettlewell says:

OUR new book…LOVE OF CHROMATIC HARMONICA…TECHNIQUES AND ADVICE FROM THE WORLD’S BEST! at 678 pages total and 340 pages of interviews with top players worldwide is now available at Amazon and Rockin Rons Music in San Diego and online. Love it!

Khanh Le says:

Go home woman!

stepan frounjian says:

Xi own a Hohner chromonica 280/64 and it is as hard as this swan!

Odette Garbo says:

Kinda makes you wonder about the other harmonica reviews in this series. I feel David was genuinely stunned by what Frederica said.
David sort of rescued the situation and said some good things about the Swan harmonica. I was looking forward to hearing the Swan played by David. Why didn’t David play it?

indica 777 says:

David, you are kind in your reviews. That counts for a lot.

Eric Johnson says:

I think swans are pretty good, not the best, but good. especially if they don’t come defective. and adjustments can be made to the reeds to modify the playability of the harp if you know what your doing and make it play more easier.

david powell says:

to be fair this is an accurate review based on my personal experience with a swan, I bought a swan 1248 thinking it would be ok to start off with based on good reviews and plenty of you tube videos, but some of the draw notes don’t even play unless I work extremely hard which causes me to tire very quickly , so as a result I find it unplayable, so I bought a cheap used hohner crometta and what a difference, so definitely stick with reputable makes, you get what you pay for, nothing worse than paying for something that doesn’t work properly.

MrSupersidewinder says:

Has anyone ever reworked one of these Swans??? I have measured all the slide components and they are a very accurate match to the Honers they are mimicking. If these could be tightened up they could be GREAT. The reeds play in tune, the mouthpiece is comfortable, it feels like a quality instrument. It is also built like a quality instrument, well formed Poly comb, smooth slide, no sharp edges, etc. I would love to hear from anyone who has managed to mod one of these successfully! The only thing left to note is that you cannot simply flip the slide on these like you can on most chromatics, the return spring is not centered so you would have to drill a hole in it to make it work flipped (not a big deal).

Joe L says:

Dear Viewers, remember to click on Thumbs Up for the GOOD QUALITY of the video (this deserves Thumbs Up). You can, of course, add any further comments on the content of the video…whether you agree or disagree, etc. Lately, I’ve noticed some truly mangled and/or botched up videos of some of Hollywood’s best classics. Therefore we should send a message to Google/YouTube with the view of influencing them to improve the quality and standards of uploads on YouTube.
As for the four-harmonica review, I agree with most of the comments made.
HOWEVER, A CORRECTION: The Swan 64 is a valved chromatic (I see that it’s erroneously described as unvalved). Please read my other comments on this website for further details.
In my decades of experience optimizing and playing several dozens of chromatics by over half a dozen manufacturing companies, the size of the mouth, the hands, the genres of music, and even a person’s characteristics can play useful parts in the choice of a chromatic harmonica(s).
For example, I personally would not choose any of the four chromatics for playing regularly or as my primary instrument, except to play slower tunes (the two Suzukis would be okay). I don’t care for the Hohner 280C there; I used to play it over 25 years ago, but never really liked the bulkiness, or the cumbersome and rather slow reactions, especially the draws. It’s also a needlessly high maintenance instrument. I dislike the cover plates on the Chromatix SCX 64, which I replaced them with other cover plates and noticed a dramatic advantage.
So, although I respectfully disagree with Frederica Cohen about the “better playability” of the Suzuki cover plates, I do agree with her that playing the Swan 64 (especially out of the box) as in the video (note that that model is said to be unvalved; it is actually a valved chromatic) has the potential of turning off the newbie, perhaps for good. But please do note also that one of my VERY FAVORITE chromatics is the UNVALVED one-reed/one-hole BUT FULLY OPTIMIZED (not stock or out of the box) and better constructed Swan 1040 (I love the versatility of these 10-hole, almost maintenance free, unvalved chromatics, and they do have some important advantages over all the other valved variety (thank goodness; I hate valved harmonicas for long-term playing because of their relatively very high maintenance demands, even though I am softer and very dry player. I do play valved chromatics, but with much reluctance. If it hadn’t been for the inherently valveless chromatics, either I would have given up playing the chromatic (sticking only to the diatonic) over ten years ago, or I might have possibly come up with a solution to alleviate the windsaver pains!
PLEASE READ my other comments elsewhere on these pages. And thank you for your attention.

Andrea Sanna says:

Excuse me but this is a Suzuki commercial???

John Rodgers says:

What about the Hohner Super 64 C harmonica is is an update on the 280 C.

Joe L says:

D E A R V I E W E R S ! Almost 26,000 V I E W E R S ! Only 60 Thumbs Up and 65 Thumbs Down. Preposterous! I think that viewers should rate a video in terms of the QUALITY of the upload. For example, this is an excellent video; VERY PROFESSIONALLY UPLOADED. Viewers could then add their comments as to the content of the video, and whether or not they agree or disagree on any points, etc. As of this writing (Tue., March 14, 2017), I feel this video deserves 100% Thumbs Up. Please note that WE VIEWERS ON YOUTUBE would like to send a message to Google/YouTube to improve the QUALITY and standards of videos (the contents are up to the individual presenters, uploaders, etc.). In the past year or so, there have been a disproportionately large numbers of botched up, butchered and mangled videos, especially of the Hollywood Classic Movies, as well as movies in general. Thank you.

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