Ted van Beek’s reviews of double-reed harmonicas are well worth a look if you’re considering buying one of these unusual instruments. Here’s Ted’s take on the Hering Seductora.
The Hering Seductora (Model 79/48) is an Octave-Tuned harp with 24 holes and 48 reeds. It is available in the key of C. Two other versions are available, with 16 holes (Model 79/32) and 20 holes (Model 79/40). It is made in Brazil; in the USA the street price has been floating due to the infrequent availability. The review is based on two new harps.
This harp comes in a blue plastic slide-together tube common to the Hering double-reeds. It is totally out of character with the quality of the harmonica. The harp is similar in appearance to the Hohner Echo Octave series, but with more subdued graphics and a rounder profile to the covers. The wooden comb looks very nicely detailed, and is finished perfectly.
Both harps played without flaw right out the box. All the notes sounded in tune, and all reeds had a well balanced response. Both harps were air-tight.
On the Bench
The overall dimensions measured at 7.1×1.4×1.2 inches. The stainless steel covers are 0.017” thick, about heavy weight, and are quite sturdy. The reed plates are a Yellow Brass, 0.036 inch thick. Each plate is held in place by 9 small nails, some of which unfortunately are placed into the reed chamber walls. The plates have a pronounced curve to them. The curved wooden comb uses almost full-length reed chambers, thus the outer chambers are much longer than the inner chambers. The bottoms of the chambers have an elliptical front-to-back profile that is different for individual reeds. I could not determine the type of wood used. (But it’s pretty).
All the reeds on both harps were accurately centered and straight. There were no loose reeds. All reeds were gapped consistently. On the low octave (upper) plate the low 11 reeds have weighted tips (the low 6 reeds on the high octave plate) and this results in a uniformity of the tonal quality.
As usual with nailed plates and wooden combs, re-assembly takes a bit of care so as not to damage the existing nail holes. I wet the nails before driving them
in. With this model, insert all the nails part way, then drive them in starting with the outer ones and work in towards the center.
After the Break-in
The harps were still airtight after re-assembly, with a little leakage caused by gaps between the reed chamber walls and the plates. They would seal after a few
minutes of playing. The reed tuning was consistently accurate, Just Intonation (25 cents), centered on 442. Reed response was very smooth. Overall volume was quite loud.
Playing these harps is a pleasure. The mouthpiece design provides good tactile feedback, yet is not rough on the mouth. They have an individual “sound”, with a
nice “raspy” edge to it, that is applicable to many musical genres. The tone is easily controllable, and the dynamic range is amazing. Of all the “stock” Octaves I have, the Seductora will play bends the easiest.
Final rating (on a five star scale)
Out of the box: Four stars.
Both harps were great out of the box. The deduction is for the terrible box/tube and the nailed assembly.
After Setup: Four and a half stars.
The factory did an excellent job of setting the harps up, so the improvement (mainly balancing reed response) was minimal. This is an absolutely wonderful instrument. If you love harps, you will love the Seductora. If you have never tried an Octave, this model will amuse you for months, maybe forever. My Seductoras are on my save list (i.e., the list of harps to be grabbed prior to exiting the second floor window if the house is on fire).
Note: The usual Hering bad news is that these harps are difficult to obtain, especially in the USA. They are hand made in limited quantities and the distribution priority seems to be the local Brazilian market, but they are well worth waiting for.