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Below you can find my text review of the Suzuki Hammond harmonica from the Harmonica Jamz website. I highly recommend that if you actually prefer the text version so go ahead and read it in the website with all the pics:
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Suzuki Hammond Harmonica Review
Hey everybody! A short review today about the Suzuki Hammond harmonica. Suzuki is a Japanese manufacturer and after Hohner they seem to be the 2nd or 3rd biggest harmonica company. They have great diatonic models in all the different price ranges – from 10$ to hundreds of dollars and a wide variety of chromatic harmonicas as well.
In the “commonly distributed” harmonica category (most people would not pay more than 10-40$ for a harmonica) this is probably their top model or one of the top models, and it competes with Hohners from the similar price range – for example: the Hohner Marine Band and the Hohner Blues Harp. The Hammond is actually a bit more expensive, when I purchased it in 2015 it cost 50$ but now I see that the Amazon price is 60$ which is quite expensive. Let’s see if it’s worth it.
So let’s see how the Hammond does by itself and how it compares to Hohner harmonicas from the similar price range – which I consider as the standard. I have one in the key of E and I also played one in the key of C before.
Suzuki Hammond – Pros:
The looks: It’s a stunner. You can call me superficial, but the thing I like the most about the Hammond is the beautiful looks – the premium looking “blacker than black” case combined with the cool rainbow colored logo just make for a handsome combo.
It’s “satisfyingly” heavy: The Hammond is made from a solid quality metal which feels great in your hands and has a perfect weight. It’s not like those cheap plastic harmonicas that feel like toys – but this one feels and looks like a premium musical instrument.
Multi notes sound great: As opposed to the single notes which I will get to in a bit, the multi notes on the Hammond sound very good and “wide”. works great for covering Bob Dylan’s tunes…
Solid and pretty hard shell case: The Hammond comes with a hard shell case that is also in a beautiful design in maroon red, and it also feels like a higher quality case than any other harmonica that I have had in this price range.
Durability: It’s a beast and easily took abuse while I traveled with it and leaving it out of the case pretty often. This thing is built like a tank.
Suzuki Hammond – Cons:
Responsiveness: Compared to Hohner models at this price range, the Hammond just does not feel as responsive. It takes a bit more air pressure to move the reeds and for me that can be the deal breaker between a harmonica that is a real fun and a real breeze to play and a harmonica that just feels “alright”. Note that this is not even just in the “out-of-the-box” condition but also after I modded it for a tighter airspace between the reeds and the comb which usually does wonders on the Hohners, but here it barely had an effect.
Bending is pretty hard, even after my modifications. Although this is an E harmonica which is tuned pretty high and E harmonicas are usually not as easy to bend because of the tuning. I also have a Blues Harp in E which defiantly feels easier to bend in comparison.
Single notes feel harder to control. (volume and “feel” wise…) Again, that’s compared to similar priced Hohners. If you mostly play song melodies and you require a lot of single notes action out of your harp – that’s not the harmonica for you. I would actually highly recommend the Hohner Golden Melody if song’s melodies are your thing.
Final Verdict: 7
That’s it. So all in all, it’s a nice harmonica and it is defiantly the most attractive harmonica in my collection, but regarding the playfulness and the tone – you’ll probably have a better time with the Hohners at the same price range. I wouldn’t start with a Hammond as a first harmonica, but if you have a wide harmonica collection – I would defiantly consider getting it as a cool extra.
All the best,