on December 20, 2010
After my Hohner Super Chromonica 64 was stolen I bought a Hurricane Harp 1664 harmonica as a cheap replacement but I was never happy with it even after working on the reeds to improve response. Recently I bought a Swan SW1664 chromatic harmonica purely on spec (there were no user reviews). I figured it couldn't be worse and possibly might be a little better than the Hurricane Harp. At least it was a brand I had heard of.
Well, I lucked out. Actually, the Swan is a much better instrument than the Hurricane Harp, even though it is cheaper (maybe because it comes in a practical black plastic case instead of an oversize faux cherrywood box with brass hinges). The one I have has good response over the whole four octave range except for one reed: the sharpened draw reed on the top hole (16) is unuseable but I think easily fixable. (The Hurricane Harp has several reeds with chronic problems that have resisted attempts to fix them.)
I have the impression that the Swan 1664 is generally built to a higher quality standard than the Hurricane Harp 1664. It is certainly easier to play and tuning of the reeds, especially in lowest octave, seems more accurate. The slide became a little sticky after playing for a while. I dabbed on just a little WD 40 using a toothpick and that took care of the stickiness.
The Swan 1664 is actually better adjusted right out of the box than my Hohner Super Chromonica was (I had to fiddle with the reeds to make it playable). The tone is comparable. The professional 1664 chromatics like Suzuki, Hering, and Hohner selling for three to four times the price are presumably better than my Swan but I suspect only marginally so (certainly not three to four times better). For me as an amateur player Swan 1664 is perfectly adequate. I enjoy playing it.
on January 20, 2012
For the price, I really didn't expect too much. Chromatic harmonicas are pretty expensive and cheap ones are usually pretty poor. I wanted to try a 16-hole chromatic though, and I saw some previous favorable reviews, so I thought I'd try the Swan.
Now, this is not a Hohner Super64x. It's not a Suzuki SCX-64. But it's in tune, pretty well made and it's held up to some aggressive playing.
Considering this harmonica is about 1/3 of the price of a similar Hohner or Suzuki, you really can't go wrong as a beginner or someone who wants a 16-hole to play around with without spending much.
If you are game for opening up the harp and maintaining your own harp, you can really make this a playable instrument for any level player. It leaks air like crazy, so if you've been playing a Suzuki or a Hohner CX-12, you'll be very dissapointed. But after I added a small bead of beeswax (from a local beekeeper) above the inside of the slide mechanism, it was fantastic. I'm more used to the 12-hole chromatics, and being able to dip down into the range of a tenor sax is great fun. The build quality of the Swan is pretty decent so it can hold up to a little customization.
What I would recommend, if you're a chromatic player and you buy one of these (or for any chromatic player) is find the Hohner YouTube channel and watch their series of videos on chromatic harmonica maintenance and repair. When you can keep your own axes in tune and working right, and make the slides quieter and the valves more responsive, it makes playing the chromatic harmonica much more enjoyable and effective.
One big complaint is that the plastic insert in the case that holds the chromatic is so cheap that it didn't survive delivery. It just fell apart the first time I removed the harp from the case.
on January 2, 2013
Finally I decided to definitely write a review for this Chromatic, Else it would be injustice. I have at least like 20 Chromatic(All of them the top class ones like Hohner,Suzuki,Hering and so on.).Chromatics are Very expensive and sensitive Babes.If You are into some serious aggressive practice/learning/Experiments and would not like to wear off your Expensive ones, Swan is the best choice.I always practice on the Swan ones and then when it comes to have some high quality recording/performance switch to the more expensive ones. For a beginner/learner you may not even see the difference at all.This is definitely a very good Chromatic, You can DEFINITELY do what ever you could on other ones. The Best thing is ,it is 1/3 the Price of the others.I was impressed.Shape and Size was exactly the same as Hohner Super 64, Which is again a BIG BONUS .Finally would say go for it , if you want to practice daily on this one. Not for Performances though. Thanks to the Makers of Swan. I will always use this one going ahead. Who doesn't love to save money ?
on July 29, 2011
I Ordered this about a month ago and at first I hated it. However I kept in mind that I didn't exactly know how to play it so I kept it around. Once I learned how to breathe while through the instrument, I became better. The only thing wrong with the instrument itself is that the second octave is out of tune and has a slow draw response. The first isnt as apparent when playing alone but the later can be frustrating. Also the highest octave's draw isn't always responsive either. When you draw, you'll probably get an extremely high tone and then the real note. But I haven't had a harmonica that hasn't done that before. Overall, considering you paid less than 1/5 of the Super 64, it's not a bad harmonica. If you plan to use it in concert, though, I would suggest a beter quality harmonica
on February 23, 2013
This is a good, even great, harmonica. The lower range is especially satisfying. I'm rating it a 4 out of 5 only because the slide sticks, but that is remedied by a simple push and then it's free again. It has plenty of volume and I especially like the chrome finish. The case is also nice, and it comes with a little cleaning cloth to shine it up after use. The only harmonica I have owned which is louder is the Hohner Chrometta 12, for $174.00, at more than double the price.
I did two things I regret after I bought it. First, I put 3-in-1 oil on the slide. That was a mistake; the oil immediately dampened the high notes near where I put the oil. I fixed it by running hot water from the tap on the high notes through the blow holes -- made it as good as new. The second mistake I made was to try and dry it out with a can of compressed air, the kind sold to blow dust off computer keys and clean computer innards. I put the little tube up inside the harmonica and squirted a little air, only to find that the air stream was so powerful it blew loose four or five little red plastic strips, the ones covering the individual reeds. However, I found no difference in the sound. Never again will I try and dry my harmonicas with compressed air!
One last thing -- I went out and bought a pair of soft cotton gloves for $1.00 at Dollar Tree. That way, when I am wiping my harmonica clean, it leaves no prints. You have to rub a little hard with a dry washcloth to get all the oil off from your hands, and I do that with the cotton gloves on. The chrome just gleams after this treatment and it shines like a diamond.
All in all, this is a great harmonica, especially for people like me with big hands. If you can master holding it, you are limited only by your ability to play. By the way, I don't bend notes -- can't comment about using it for blues or bent notes because I don't care about that.
on December 3, 2011
I just could not believe how awesome this Harmonica is. THIS IS AN INSTRUMENT!! Ive never seen, or played such a beautiful harmonica in my LIFE!!! I have only one complaint,,, it made my Dad EXTREMELY JEALOUS!!!! So now i got to buy him one:) And i definitely will. Excellent product!! Top Notch, Top Notch!!!
on June 11, 2016
I bought the Swan 16-hole, 64 tone Chromatic for $52, but what arrived was a Swan 12-hole with "1664" stamped on the top of the harmonica and the numbers 1-12 above each of the 12 holes. I think it's deceptive to call a 12-hole harmonica a "1664" if it doesn't have 16 holes and produce 64 tones.
That's what I thought AT FIRST; I had another look at it, and the holes are numbered, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1 ,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
I hadn't noticed the first four and second four holes had the same numbers above them. That means there actually ARE 16 holes on this harp.
That's good, because the harmonica is beautiful. I didn't WANT to send it back. I was considering keeping it and buying a 16-hole to add to my collection along with my 10-hole chromatic and this (I thought) 12-hole harmonica. Now I get to KEEP it!
I've tried it now, and I'm confused. The notes I am expecting aren't what this thing is producing. I know where the notes for the scale in C are on my 10-hole harp, but this one isn't getting them, at least not in the lower register. The first 5 or 6 holes seem... wrong. The top holes are fine, though..
The holes are considerable smaller, too, so I'm going to need more practice to prevent playing two notes at once.
I am going to need to do some looking through my books on playing the harmonica to see what's going on.
Nothing more to see here. Move along. Move along.
on April 8, 2015
I am very pleased with this product. Plays like ones I remember when I was younger. Sweet tone, a pleasure to learn all over again on this baby! The slide takes a bit to get used to, but after a few times it comes easily. Great harmonica in the moderate price range. Would surely recommend this to anyone wanting to learn or continue with their music training. I would give this a big "two thumbs" up!
on October 10, 2013
This "Swan 16 Hole 64 Tone Chromatic Harmonica" was purchased for my son. In his words "Except for the bottom four holes, the harmonica plays well. For some reason, playing through the lower register produces a rattling sound. Additionally, I had to pay for the shipping when I returned the harmonica to Swan."
Sadly, unlike Amazon's no-hassle return policy, Swan Music Store makes you pay to return a defective product. Not good.
When I asked why return shipping is not included in the refund, I received this laughable response:
"Please refer to Amazon's return policy.
We are not allowed to have our own return policy."
No, not good at all.
on June 6, 2013
I have been playing diatonic harps for years and ahohner 12 hole chromatic for many years. ijust purchased the swan 15 hole harmonica and I am thrilled and pleased with the sound the sturdy bbuild and especially the price all you cats out should not miss out get now by the way I am 81 yrs old