Author Topic: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?  (Read 459 times)

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Offline Spikeybrummy

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Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« on: September 12, 2017, 08:14:37 AM »
Hi All,

I have come across this discussion a few times, but have never found a concrete answer, so decided to do a bit of investigating of my own:

Here in the UK, Suzuki SCX64's usually retail for 220-260, however Amazon UK are offering them for 136-154. If these (as some message boards suggest) are Japanese imports of genuine Suzuki harps, then they are an amazing bargain. However the reviews have been "a little mixed" (not that Amazon/retail reviews can always be trusted).

As Amazon offer a generous "no quibble" return policy, I thought I would buy one and check it out. Initial impressions seemed very good. The harp was solid and well constructed, it had Japanese/English literature in the box (which lead me to think it was indeed a Japanese import) and the initial sound was clear and strong. However I started to notice that a few notes did not ring out properly (or at all). There are one or two notes at the very top end which do not sound and one or two at the mid/low range which exhibit a strange sort of harmonic pulsing (presumably a harmonic resonance from neighboring reeds).

Presuming that these anomalies were simply tuning issues, I took the cover plates off to check the condition of the reeds (pics attached).

My initial findings were that there were a couple of missing windsavers (higher-end notes) and that there seemed to be an excessive amount of scratching on the reed plates from where individual reeds have been tuned. However, having never owned one of these before, I have nothing to compare it to and, as such, am relying on feedback from your-good-selves for verification.

Regarding the windsavers, the missing ones do not appear to have come off, as there are no glue marks where they (should?) have been. This leave me with a few thoughts:
1) they are intentionally left off by Suzuki, for reasons best known to themselves
2) they were missed off by a dodgy counterfeit manufacturer
3) the harp is possibly "Suzuki B-Stock", hence the low price...)

Regarding the reed plate scratches, I have never experienced this on any of my diatonics (even cheap Swan ones), although I admittedly have never owner a Suzuki one (I tend to play Hohners and Lee Oscars). However, whenever I have needed to re-tune reeds, the instruction I have always followed is to place a thin tool under the reed to support it and to shield the reed plate against these very scratches. If I can do this at home, I would not have expected such sloppy work from a company such as Suzuki.

For those of you who already own these harps; are my findings in line with your own experiences, or should I be concerned about the quality and authenticity of this instrument?

Offline Keith

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 08:34:28 AM »
I'm no expert, heck, I've only been at this for around 8 months, but that looks to me like a refurbished  instrument, the reeds & reed plate seem tarnished, & it looks like new windsavers. (The top two holes don't always have windsavers, from what I've read.)

Offline Carl SC270

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 09:38:31 AM »
Hey Spike, I wonder who's going to get this harmonica after you send it back. My SCX12 looks pristine in comparison, actually it looks new. Does Amazon retune these things in the back room?

Offline culo

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 09:52:02 AM »
I never saw windsavers in the higher notes.

Offline jimjams

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2017, 10:49:03 AM »
Did you buy from Amazon directly or from a third party via the marketplace? Agree with Keith, that's a used instrument.
James
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Offline Grizzly

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 12:24:04 PM »
1. Who in their right mind would counterfeit a Suzuki harmonica? The tooling alone would be prohibitive. Making it cheaper would mean cutting corners. You said yourself that it appears solid and well constructed

2. Omitting windsavers on the top couple of reeds is common.

3. Because tuning is an art and not a science, the blow reeds in adjacent holes 4 and 5, and 8 and 9, which are nominally the same pitches, can be off a little when played together. It hardly makes a difference if only one hole is played; the wavering sound will not happen.

4. The scratches you see could very well come that way from the factory. Even with so-called laser tuning, speed (resulting in sloppiness) enhances the bottom line pricing.

5. Unresponsive top notes are common. They may play better by breathing into them instead of blowing as hard, and tongue blocking instead of puckering.

My opinion: Genuine, new.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline BillyR

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 12:27:04 PM »
Hello Spikey...
I have been on a mission for the last 4 or 5 days to my new Suzuki SCX-56 into good playing condition and have had it completely apart so many times I don't remember. 

I only have the one Suzuki which I bought from Rock'n Ron in San Diego not from Amazon.  The numbers on the top plate look consistent with mine.  The scratches are also consistent with mine.  In Suzuki's defense, any contact with a metal tool easily scratches the plate.  It is very easy to get scratches just by gapping the reeds.

I would not be able to say if you have a counterfeit but I will for sure tell you that your harp is not out of line with the one I bought from a very reputable dealer.  It is my opinion that the workmanship is not up to what I would expect on the reedplate on mine or yours.  I have had to make many adjustments to get mine playing like I want.

If you are happy with the way it is playing, then my belief is you should be VERY happy with it.  I wondered about mine also but decided to learn all I could about adjusting it and getting it playing as well as possible.  The info on these forums has helped a lot.

If your harp is a counterfeit, just my opinion, I would be pretty surprised unless we both ended up with harps from the same source. 

Please follow up with post that tell us about how it is playing.

Thanks,
Billy Robertson

Offline Spikeybrummy

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 12:39:11 PM »
Thank you all for your replies.

Did you buy from Amazon directly or from a third party via the marketplace? Agree with Keith, that's a used instrument.

It was bought directly from Amazon themselves.

Hey Spike, I wonder who's going to get this harmonica after you send it back. My SCX12 looks pristine in comparison, actually it looks new. Does Amazon retune these things in the back room?

I presume they just send any returned stock back to whoever their supplier may be.

I'm no expert, heck, I've only been at this for around 8 months, but that looks to me like a refurbished  instrument, the reeds & reed plate seem tarnished, & it looks like new windsavers. (The top two holes don't always have windsavers, from what I've read.)

They definitely look a lot more ratty than the reed plates in any of my diatonics.

1. Who in their right mind would counterfeit a Suzuki harmonica? The tooling alone would be prohibitive. Making it cheaper would mean cutting corners. You said yourself that it appears solid and well constructed

2. Omitting windsavers on the top couple of reeds is common.

3. Because tuning is an art and not a science, the blow reeds in adjacent holes 4 and 5, and 8 and 9, which are nominally the same pitches, can be off a little when played together. It hardly makes a difference if only one hole is played; the wavering sound will not happen.

4. The scratches you see could very well come that way from the factory. Even with so-called laser tuning, speed (resulting in sloppiness) enhances the bottom line pricing.

5. Unresponsive top notes are common. They may play better by breathing into them instead of blowing as hard, and tongue blocking insead of puckering.

My opinion: Genuine, new.

Tom

I am fairly satisfied now that this is not counterfeit. More likely to be a grey import, but also possibly a refurbished harp. I'm leaning towards sending it back and paying the full UK market value for one from my usual harp retailer...

Offline Edward Brock

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 01:00:43 PM »
I don't know but here's my take on it.
Like the Great & Powerful Grizzly said, it would be kind of
cost prohibitive for someone to tool up just to produce a fake.
So, if it plays reasonable and it looks ok then just start playing it.
You didn't spend much on it compared to many other chroms so
even IF it's fake you probably got a fairly good deal.
Relax & enjoy it.  And if it bothers you too much, just send it to me
and I promise to give it a good home with good food & fresh water
every day.  ;D

Offline John Broecker

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 04:44:42 AM »
From the beginning of harmonica manufacturing,
companies have made fake versions of another
company's popular harmonicas: Messner copied
Richter, Hohner copied Messner, Weiss copied Hohner,
Wuxi copied Hohner, etc.

But, today, if you buy a discounted harmonica from
a website, company or private owner, it's probably
a real model that may have been altered by a harp
customizer or by the prior owner.

Best Regards

John Broecker
Sussex, Wisconsin, USA

Every time I play harmonica, it weakens the nation.

Offline Spikeybrummy

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 08:19:09 AM »

Please follow up with post that tell us about how it is playing.

Thanks,
Billy Robertson

Hi Billy,

Bearing in mind that this is my first chromatic...  I had a go on it last night, playing a few tunes that I am already familiar with on the diatonic, as that would give me the best chance of forming a half-decent opinion.

Other than getting used to the physical size (as well as having a button to play with) here are my findings:

Mid range holes (3 to 8 ish) sounded fine, but above and below started to become somewhat problematic. The higher registers felt a little inconsistent, with some  notes deadening out with a decent strength blow. I am aware that some of this may be down to technique, but it was frustrating none the less. In the lower register, around the 1-2 holes, I kept getting that harmonic warble kicking in and out. In the Low 1-4 range, I found that on several of the notes, I was unable to get a consistent, good, clear sound, with the note deadening out, similar to the high end.

I could also her the windsavers flapping open and closed as I played, which was a little off-putting at first. Once I had begun to ignore this, I noticed that, instead of being able to let a note fade out (as I can on my diatonics), as the windsaver flapped closed, it would cut the note off before I wanted it to.

As I have never played anything with windsavers on, is this  something I am to expect?

My overall impression has unfortunately not been a very positive one and I am leaning even more towards sending it back to Amazon and possibly paying the extra for one from a more reputable harp retailer.

Although this does leave me with two distinct possible outcomes...
Outcome 1) The new harp is a vast improvement (both in playability and internal condition) and my increased spend is justified
Outcome 2) The new one is much the same and I will have just wasted the best part of 100...

Open Question:
If I did send it back, as a chromatic newbie, would I do well to stick with a Suzuki SCX 64, or are there any other (modestly priced) chrom's that may serve me better?


Offline Edward Brock

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2017, 12:18:22 PM »
I have an SCX64. They are really quite nice. IMHO anyway.
Generally speaking, any SCX is a good product.


Offline Age

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2017, 01:53:22 PM »
Yeah, I have a SCX-12 in G and a 14 holer. Both are excellent.
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Offline Mike D

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2017, 02:06:11 PM »
Hi, i have the SCX-56 and also a SCX-48 in A.  I like them both, and play by ear.  I prefer the 48 in A for playing ballad types, as it does sound more mellow in the lower key, also it is a nice fit in the the hands.  Maybe something to consider coming from a diatonic.  That is if you do decide to return the 64.
Mike

Offline Keith

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2017, 02:14:53 PM »
I, too, have a SCX-56, though I prefer to play my Seydel Deluxe Steel (orchestra tuned). :)

Also worth checking out Hohner CX12, there's a whole thread on here  called The CX12 Fan Club.

Offline Edward Brock

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2017, 03:04:37 PM »
Why not send that one back & call DannyG at Newharmonica.com for
a Genuine, Bonafide, Guaranteed, sure-nuff, Wizz-bang SCX.....(?)

Offline jimjams

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2017, 07:07:46 PM »

Please follow up with post that tell us about how it is playing.

Thanks,
Billy Robertson

Hi Billy,

Bearing in mind that this is my first chromatic...  I had a go on it last night, playing a few tunes that I am already familiar with on the diatonic, as that would give me the best chance of forming a half-decent opinion.

Other than getting used to the physical size (as well as having a button to play with) here are my findings:

Mid range holes (3 to 8 ish) sounded fine, but above and below started to become somewhat problematic. The higher registers felt a little inconsistent, with some  notes deadening out with a decent strength blow. I am aware that some of this may be down to technique, but it was frustrating none the less. In the lower register, around the 1-2 holes, I kept getting that harmonic warble kicking in and out. In the Low 1-4 range, I found that on several of the notes, I was unable to get a consistent, good, clear sound, with the note deadening out, similar to the high end.

I could also her the windsavers flapping open and closed as I played, which was a little off-putting at first. Once I had begun to ignore this, I noticed that, instead of being able to let a note fade out (as I can on my diatonics), as the windsaver flapped closed, it would cut the note off before I wanted it to.

As I have never played anything with windsavers on, is this  something I am to expect?

My overall impression has unfortunately not been a very positive one and I am leaning even more towards sending it back to Amazon and possibly paying the extra for one from a more reputable harp retailer.

Although this does leave me with two distinct possible outcomes...
Outcome 1) The new harp is a vast improvement (both in playability and internal condition) and my increased spend is justified
Outcome 2) The new one is much the same and I will have just wasted the best part of 100...

Open Question:
If I did send it back, as a chromatic newbie, would I do well to stick with a Suzuki SCX 64, or are there any other (modestly priced) chrom's that may serve me better?

Since you bought it directly from Amazon a return should be easy. After that (like wise Ed said) buy an Easttop black and gold from Danny G. IMHO, you would be better served to start with 12 holes.
James
Musical artistry comes via a relentless pursuit of beauty.

Offline Spikeybrummy

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2017, 07:44:56 AM »
Why not send that one back & call DannyG at Newharmonica.com for
a Genuine, Bonafide, Guaranteed, sure-nuff, Wizz-bang SCX.....(?)

Do they ship to the UK?

Offline Keith

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2017, 08:17:58 AM »
Quote
Do they ship to the UK?

In the UK, I can recommend Eagle Music, I've bought several harmonicas from them online, all good, & good service. :)

Offline mmarino

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2017, 08:23:48 AM »
Being a person who works on harmonicas and owns and plays suzuki harmonicas as one of my main harps. This is either Bad B stock or a reconditioned harmonica. As Grizzly pointed out the cost of equipment alone to do accurate spot welding tends to rule out being a fake. The marks on the plates says somebody has been thick fingered with the plates when doing some work. The upper reeds not having valve covers is common to most chromatics not just Suzuki.

Verdict: Genuine but most likely B stock or a recon'ed instrument. Not brand new A stock.

Michael

Offline Mike D

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2017, 08:24:33 AM »
Plus one for eagle music.  Good firm to deal with and speak on the telephone.  That is where i bought most of my stuff.

Offline Edward Brock

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2017, 11:45:16 AM »
Why not send that one back & call DannyG at Newharmonica.com for
a Genuine, Bonafide, Guaranteed, sure-nuff, Wizz-bang SCX.....(?)

I don't know for sure. Why not drop him a line and see?
(newharmonica.com)  Doesn't cost anything to ask. Right?
Wait, what about Brendan Powers? Isn't he over there somewhere?
I know there has to be some place in the UK that can assist I just
don't know who right off hand since I'm in Texas.
Maybe someone else might pop in & help you with that info.

Offline Keith

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2017, 01:13:19 PM »
I'm pretty sure Brendan only does the brass comb models.
http://brendan-power.com/brass-chrom.php

Offline Spikeybrummy

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2017, 03:46:10 PM »
Again, thank you all for your replies.

From all of the feedback I have received, I am pretty certain that this is a genuine but reconditioned harp and it will definitely be going back to Amazon.
I am familiar with Eagle Music and will most likely be purchasing another SCX from them.

One thing I just wanted to check is the phenomenon of the windsavers flapping closed and chopping off the end of my trailing notes (the notes tend to 'stop', rather than fade out):
As I am unfamiliar with Chroms, is this something consistent across the board, or is this another sign of a poor quality/condition instrument?

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2017, 11:53:30 PM »
Sounds like condensation on the reedplates and valves--and yes, it's a common problem. Make sure you warm up your harp, and try not to play long tones on blow notes.

Offline flyingv8

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Re: Amazon Suzuki Chromatix - Genuine or Counterfeit?
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2017, 03:12:35 PM »
 I have never had a problem with wind savers snapping closed. They are very flexible and even a slight amount of air opens them. They are there to shut off the reed that isn't sounding and to block air from escaping around that reed making the harmonica more airtight. I do find flapping of the reeds very annoying. I personally can't ignore it. I have developed a laminated valve with Mylar and a compressed felt material. That stopped the flapping. I am also working on new valves for the low end. Currently my valves and stock valves cause the warbling effect you speak of on the lower notes. The only thing that helps is to play a bit more softly. I like my SCX48 and 56 very much. They are sweet instruments!
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