Author Topic: Valves in Swan harmonicas  (Read 2465 times)

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Offline Ed McCullough

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Valves in Swan harmonicas
« on: January 05, 2023, 11:29:15 PM »
Mr. A:
-. Did you write a while back that you have had a Swan harmonica for years and have not taken it apart? If that is a true story, then it means that the Swans' valves are fantastic. If that is true, then maybe we should buy Swan harmonicas and rob the valves out of them.
--On the other hand, does the Swan company sell their valves as replacement parts?

Offline Age

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2023, 01:50:42 AM »
Mr. A:
-. Did you write a while back that you have had a Swan harmonica for years and have not taken it apart? If that is a true story, then it means that the Swans' valves are fantastic. If that is true, then maybe we should buy Swan harmonicas and rob the valves out of them.
--On the other hand, does the Swan company sell their valves as replacement parts?

Hi Ed,
Of course I've had it apart! :) Heck, I even filled the nooks and crannies in the comb with plumbing solder to give it a little extra weight.

It's a Swan 1248-6 and I've had this old girl for 12 yeas (gunna be 13 in May) and it now has more hours on it than all my other harmonicas combined. (and I've been playing since the 50's. (Now That's a statement!) I'm on my third set of coverplates, third mouthpiece, second slide, and second spring, but have yet to replace even one valve. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't my favorite Chromatic in the world. Still looking for the right set of screws for the old girl to go with my Crawforde wood covers. :P

I don't know what planet the valves come from but I managed to get just two extra valves from the Swan people, but that's it! Over the years, I've tried a lotta different valves and have yet to find anything that even comes close to these little red jobbies under the hood of my Swans.

The Swan people have now given me four of of these, but I can't seem to have any luck getting them to sell me any parts, so I just robbed the spare parts off the other ones they gave me. ;D
« Last Edit: January 06, 2023, 01:53:59 AM by Age »
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2023, 03:00:38 AM »
Do the Swan valves require less cleaning than other valves?

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2023, 06:46:23 AM »
My experience with Swan valves was that they were better than Hohner valves. I don't know why that should be the case as both are just plastic two layer valves - but they are different. It may be that the 'red film' top springs just work a bit better. And as we know in this game - a little better can mean a lot.

Another thing I noticed about the Swan valves on my model, was that they were fitted with some kind of rubber glue, which gave them a bit of extra resilience - that too might have been an advantage in the operation of the valves.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2023, 06:49:11 AM by streetlegal »

Offline John Broecker

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2023, 09:11:55 AM »
My Swan 1456 (14 mouthpiece holes)
slide Chromatic Harmonica is always
ready to play, and plays instantly,
with no sticky valves or humidity
problems.

The sound is clear and full. I've had the
1456 for at least 20 years. It's got gold-
plated (?) covers, mouthpiece and slider.
I've never taken the covers off.

It's a pleasure to play, but I don't use it often.
It was bought as a substitute for the Hohner
MK, but that harp (Meisterklasse chromatic)
has never had problems, either.

At a Milwaukee Harmonica Club rehearsal,
the 1456 sounded flat, compared to the
other players' 12- and 16-hole chromatics.
So, I don't use it when playing in a group.

I checked the tuning with an electronic tuner.
It's tuned to treble clef A = 440 cycles/second. 
Standard slide chromatics today are tuned to
A = 442, A =443 or A = 444.

Best Regards, Stay Healthy

JB


« Last Edit: January 08, 2023, 09:08:46 AM by John Broecker »
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Offline Age

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2023, 10:33:55 AM »
Do the Swan valves require less cleaning than other valves?

I'd say: Yeah, (compared to my others)
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2023, 11:03:49 AM »
I tune my harmonicas so that A=440.

I have an extremely new Hohner harmonica and I'm sure they did their best to put excellent valves into it.
Still, I want to get a fistful of those red valves and try a few in my Hohner.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2023, 01:29:56 PM by Ed McCullough »

Offline Age

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2023, 12:16:07 PM »
Good luck, Ed!

If I were able to actually buy them, I'd prolly put them on everything I own. I have a sneaky suspicion they ain't cheap. ::)
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2023, 01:57:21 PM »
A,
. . . And you already said that the Swan company does not sell parts.
If they opened an office or a warehouse room for stocking replacement parts, hired a few people to work there, set up an email account, set up a bank account to receive credit card payments and PayPal payments, stocked parts for most of the harmonicas they ever made, kept track of orders, sent parts through the mail and UPS, etc., etc., They would spend thousands of dollars before they received the first order for a valve or a screw.

--- dang

What is the ground like where they have their factory? Do you think we could tunnel under it?

Offline Age

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2023, 02:48:11 PM »
Yeah the ones I was finally able to talk Yvonne out of were the ones they had there at the store (swanmusicstore) to replace the occasional farkled up Chromatic. She said ll the "parts" are across the pond and hard to come by.
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2023, 03:32:52 PM »
Their website gives no street address. They must not have any physical door open to the public.
I just emailed a message, asking if I could buy 50, or 100, or packages, or sets of valves.

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2023, 06:13:07 PM »
I just bought a batch of Hohner valves.
They work fine, IMHO.
I still have some  Suzuki valves, they are also fine.
And my only complaint with the Seydel valves is that sometimes they were not properly installed on their chromatic harps (I heard there was a brief period of bad glue).

Offline Age

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2023, 08:12:44 PM »
Their website gives no street address. They must not have any physical door open to the public.
I just emailed a message, asking if I could buy 50, or 100, or packages, or sets of valves.

I've always communicated with them (Yvonne) by email. I just tried to call and just got a machine. :P
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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2023, 10:40:36 PM »
The valves in my Easttop have worked very well. Better than my Suzuki SCX. Maybe the Chinese have figured out chromatic valves. Or maybe the more airtight you make a harp, with tighter tolerances, the more critical will be the valve performance. The valves in my leaky old Chrometta work perfect also.
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2023, 12:11:11 AM »
I am not a harmonica guru, but if Mr A thinks the Swan valves are unusually good, I would like to compare them to the excellent Hohner valves.

Offline Laina

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2023, 03:43:56 AM »
The valves in my Easttop have worked very well. Better than my Suzuki SCX. Maybe the Chinese have figured out chromatic valves. Or maybe the more airtight you make a harp, with tighter tolerances, the more critical will be the valve performance. The valves in my leaky old Chrometta work perfect also.
I've the same experience with my Easttop EAP12 new model, holds up pretty well. Also SCX 12 hole performs better than the 14 hole. The best for me is Will's make alu 14 hole, fitted with Hohner chrometta reedplates, standard valves. Would be interesting to know how well the new entry level Orrita brand stands up as it's a similar design? Sadly the lovely CX12 is just the worst for valves in cold weather.

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2023, 10:03:25 AM »
The CX12 model is the hardest test for valves - that is probably what I am basing my criticism of Hohner valves upon. Now it would be good if someone could refit a CX12 with Swan valves - using a 'rubber' glue like Swan use to attach them to the reedplate - and then see how they perform. If they work well on a CX12, then they will work well on any chromatic or diatonic harmonica.

So how to get hold of a supply of Swan valves, without taking a job at the factory in China - Thunderbolt and Lightfoot style 8)?

Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2023, 10:29:43 AM »
My seat-of-the-pants opinion is that the choice of glue will not affect whether or not the valve sticks due to moisture.

Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2023, 08:28:44 PM »
Chromatic harmonica theorem 6A: Beyond every 15th hill there may be a mirage that will coalesce into a better harmonica if you have seen a green flash at sunset on the preceding day.

Chromatic harmonica theorem 6B: Beyond every 110th hill there may be a mirage that will coalesce into a better harmonica valve if you have seen a green flash at sunset on the preceding day.

Offline Age

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2023, 09:11:40 PM »
My seat-of-the-pants opinion is that the choice of glue will not affect whether or not the valve sticks due to moisture.

Agreed! Now whether of not the valve stays ~on~ after a warm water dipping is another story. ;)
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Offline John Broecker

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2023, 10:53:33 PM »
Hello, Ed.

The A = 440 is an international tuning standard.
Hohner has said that it's harps are tuned in the
ranges of A = 442, 443 or 444, to serve heavy
breathers. Hohner claims that heavy playing
automatically brings the pitch down a few cents,
to A-440 or 442.

The world headquarters for the Swan company,
founded in 1982:

The following information might be out-of-date.

Jiangsu Swan Musical Instrument Corporation
Maquiao Town, Jingjiang, Taizhou, Jiangsu,
China, 214526. The home email address is
unknown.

The USA distributor of Swan products:
Swan Music Store, P.O. Box 27068,
Louisville, Colorado, 80027.

The USA website:
http://www.swanmusicstore.com
Phone: 1-888-785-7926.

Best Regards, Stay Healthy

JB

« Last Edit: January 07, 2023, 11:02:59 PM by John Broecker »
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2023, 11:31:37 PM »
Maybe some SlideMeister members who speak and read Chinese, or are in C hina can learn how to contact the factory and tell them that customers in the U.S.A. want to buy valves through their store in Colorado

Offline Age

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2023, 11:32:53 PM »
I had one 270 in G that was tuned to 440 (Pretty sure I still have the thing) Sounded fine but I never really played it cuz it sounded awful with whatever I tried to play along with. Maybe I oughtta try to find the thing and make an "Orchestra tuned" out of it. :P
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2023, 11:36:29 PM »
A :
   If you check the pitch as you play the harmonica with your mouth, and make sure your harmonica is tuned to 440, can't you easily play with a piano or organ that is tuned to 440?

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2023, 11:42:29 PM »
Yeah, if I play like I did when I was maybe12. Since then I guess I started loading the reeds or something. Now I hafta play at least 442. (actually, I'm curious about trying 443 or 444 :-\)
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2023, 11:45:42 PM »
A: Therefore, "load" the reeds as you tune them to 440.

Offline Age

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2023, 11:53:15 PM »
Yeah and I guess I must be loading 440 reeds 438.
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Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2023, 10:43:48 AM »
I had one 270 in G that was tuned to 440 (Pretty sure I still have the thing) Sounded fine but I never really played it cuz it sounded awful with whatever I tried to play along with. Maybe I oughtta try to find the thing and make an "Orchestra tuned" out of it. :P
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Offline Grizzly

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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2023, 11:05:22 AM »
When I got my first 16, a Hohner Super 64, I tried playing it with our church's Steinway. Hearing them together almost made me throw up (an exaggeration). I checked pitches on both: the harmonica was 444, the piano 438.

I mentioned here that I sent it to Hohner for a retune to 440. Age questioned the wisdom; said that once I learned to load the reeds, I'd be sorry. After ~20 years, I still don't load reeds, or don't enough unconsciously to make much difference. The piano varies, depending on the time of year, so I've had occasion to use the Super 64. Mostly I use a CX 12.

Pitches on other harmonicas I've bought since then have varied wildly, even within the same harmonica. CX 12s were the worst, around 10-15 years ago, ranging from 436 to 448(!). I retuned most of them to 442-3, and that works okay with other instruments. On Audacity, with a computer-generated piano file, I can adjust pitch electronically on harmonica to 440 with good results on a recording.

BTW, most of the flutes we made before I retired were set at 442, easily flattened by pulling out the headjoint. Many orchestras tune to 442. Exceptions were the 444s we made for eastern European orchestra players, and the 440s we made for U. S. Armed Forces bands. We even made a few 446s.

Tom
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Re: Valves in Swan harmonicas
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2023, 12:20:34 PM »
Age questioned the wisdom; said that once I learned to load the reeds . . .

Ha ha! Actually, I didn't "learn" to load the reeds; it just kinda happened as I searched for a "sound" that I liked more than what came out of the thing when I blew into it. (Who knows? I might end up on 446, cuz still searching,  ;D)
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