Chromatic Harmonica

The Chromatic Harmonica – what is it and why should I be interested?

When I began to master the basic elements of the diatonic harp, several years ago, I started to wonder how difficult it would be to play the chromatic harmonica. After all, I was a classically trained pianist, and the layout of the chromatic harmonica didn’t seem to dissimilar to a piano keyboard. At least, that’s what I thought…

Trying to Play

Sitting in the corner of the office was an old Hohner Chromonica II Deluxe – a remnant from many years ago. I picked it up, expecting instantly to sound like  Stevie Wonder (maybe a bit ambitious, but there’s nothing quite like false hope). The resultant cacophony, however, seemed to be most appealing to the local dog population. Less so, sadly, to my colleagues.

If we take a look at the construction of the chromatic harmonica, we can see, perhaps, how my expectations differed from the reality. In most cases it has two sets of reed plates – one mounted above the other – and a button that activates a slide, by which the air is directed to the top or bottom reeds (the exception is cross tuned harps, more of which later). The top reeds are usually tuned to an altered diatonic major scale, whilst the bottom reeds are usually tuned to the same scale, but a semitone higher. Thus, all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are available by using the slider to switch between which reeds are activated.

Visualising the Notes

My primary issue was that I was visualising the tuning as being akin to a piano keyboard – white notes on the top reeds, black notes on the bottom set. In reality, however, the bottom reeds actually contain a complete set of notes from the scale that is one semitone higher than the top reeds (so, on a C tuned chromatic, all of the notes from the scale of C#). This results in some duplication as the two scales will have some shared notes (C, D and F, in this case). In my naivety I expected to depress the button a few times and perform the sort of trills that Stevie Wonder achieved so effortlessly. Instead, as I was visualising the notes incorrectly, I was getting the sort of atonal chromaticism beloved of Arnold Schoenberg.

The other main difference I experienced, compared to a diatonic, was related to bending notes. Chromatics, generally speaking, can only bend notes down, and only by a semitone. There are some exceptions to this rule, but only in the case of non-standard chromatics, such as the Tombo S50, which achieves its chromaticism without a slide. Thus, chromatic harps are not the sort of instrument on which you’d achieve the traditional blues harp sound, and my ham-fisted attempts to do so did not help my cause!

Where they do excel, however, is in jazz and classical music, where their ability to play any note from the standard Western scales instantly, with no recourse to bending, and to pick out trills and grace notes with ease, is more important than achieving the wailing sound of the diatonic harp.

Let’s have a closer look at a typical chromatic harmonica to see how it achieves this.

How it Works

Although slider operated harps had been around in one form or another from the late 19th Century, it wasn’t until Hohner produced their first chromatic at the start of the 20th Century that something akin to what we play today was widely available. Indeed, the 10 hole Chromonica 260 from 1910 is very similar in appearance and specifications to the modern Chromonica 48.

We have already seen that most chromatics use a slider to switch between the two sets of reeds, but how these sliders operate can vary. The traditional straight tuning has the two reed plates tuned as explained above. Cross harp, in comparison, has a slider with a zigzag of holes, meaning that the notes are split between upper and lower reed plates when the slider is open or closed. There are some supposed advantages of the latter setup, including greater volume, due to the larger openings, but I struggle to hear or feel any appreciable difference myself.

What on Earth is a Windsaver?

You may have heard the term ‘windsaver’ bandied about when people talk about chromatics. This slightly mystifying word refers to the small valves that are used on most chromatic harps to make them more efficient. Due to their construction, chromatics tend to experience more leaks than diatonics; windsavers limit this leakage, and also help to shape the tone of the instrument.

They, also, make bending notes more difficult, which has led to some players experimenting with their removal, and the creation of slideless harps that do away with their valves altogether.

Chromatic Harmonica Tuning and Keys

You might be wondering why chromatics are sometimes available in a range of keys. After all, you might think, if you can play any note in the chromatic scale, you shouldn’t need different keys of harmonicas for different keys of songs, as you do for a diatonic. The answer relates to range – a chromatic harmonica tuned to A, for example, will have a lower range (at the expense of the higher notes) than one tuned to C.

It’s useful to note that C is the highest tuned chromatic harp. The order of keys, from lowest to highest is as follows:

C Tenor (low) D (low), E (low), F(low), G, Ab, A, Bb, B, C,

Unlike diatonics, the keys of low D, E and F are not referred to as ‘low’, as there is no equivalent standard D, E or F above C.

Chromatics with 16 holes are generally only available in C, due to the fact that there is little need to offer alternative keys with the range available from this size of harmonica.

In terms of tuning, most chromatics are solo tuned. Of the alternative tunings available, the most common is Orchestra, as shown below in this diagram from Seydel:

Saxony Harmonica - orchestra Vs solo tuning
Saxony Harmonica – orchestra Vs solo tuning (Source: Seydel)

The primary advantage of this tuning is the additional range offered in the lower octave.

OK, What Harmonica Should I Buy, Then?

Because chromatics are more complicated than diatonics, they have a commensurately higher price. Hohner’s Chrometta range, which is targeted at beginners, sits at the £50 – £100 range (the larger models being more expensive), and is the entry point for chromatics.

Hohner Chrometta 10
Hohner Chrometta 10

The next step up is the Chromonica 48, which is noticeably weightier and deeper in tone than its less expensive brethren. At the same price point is the Seydel Deluxe Chromatic, which is similar in design and construction to the Hohner, but features an acrylic, rather than wood, comb.

Seydel De Luxe Chromatic Mouth Organ

The Hohner CX12, at around the £140 mark is unique in its design: it’s an extremely modern looking harp, with an ABS cover and easily removable reed plates. Sound wise it’s a bit brighter than a Chromonica, and its construction makes cleaning and maintenance exceptionally trouble-free.

At the next price point we have a range of chromatics: the Chromonica 270/48 Deluxe has thicker reed plates than the standard model and a fuller sound; Suzuki’s SCX-48 offers their signature phosphor bronze reeds; and the Seydel Deluxe Steel add unique stainless steel reeds to their Deluxe range. All are great harps and will give years of service if properly cared for.

Above the £200 mark we find chromatics with alternative comb materials, such as the Seydel Saxony, with its aluminium comb, and those with more than 12 holes, such as the 14 hole Suzuki SCX-54 and the 16 hole Hohner Super 64. As the price increases, we start to see more exotic materials, and in some cases, such as with the Hohner ACE 48, unique features such as the VarioSpring and Accoustic Coupling Elements. The Seydel Symphony even comes with a heated case that enables the harp to gently heated to the perfect temperature for playing prior to any performance.

Seydel Symphony ACRYL Grand Chromatic Harmonica

So, there you have it – the chromatic harmonica. It’s tricky to play at first, but, as with any instrument, persistence will reap rewards!

As ever, any questions, feel free to email us.


Hohner Harmonicas – Choosing the Right Model

To help you choose the best harmonica for your needs, we’ve put together a series of buyers’ guides. As it’s the biggest and arguably best knowm harp maker, we’re starting with Hohner.

Hohner – The Brand

There are some brands whose names become so synonymous with the products they manufacture that the brand itself becomes the generic noun used to describe all similar items. Hoover is an oft-quoted example of this, but there are others, including, incredibly, ‘Bubblewrap’ and ‘Ping Pong’. Whilst the brand ‘Hohner’ might not be quite so interchangeable with the word ‘harmonica’, it’s safe to say that it would probably be the first company the average person would think of if asked to name a manufacturer of the instrument.

A Little History First

Founded in Trossingen in the south west of Germay in 1857 by watchmaker, Matthias Hohner, the company can lay claim to being one of the oldest extant harmonica producers in the world (the honour of oldest actually goes to compatriots and rivals, Seydel, who were established ten years earlier).

Trossingen at the time was the centre of a watchmaking industry, and it was, perhaps, the availability of craftsmen familiar with working with relatively small parts that led to it becoming a hub for harmonica production.

Christian Messner, a former watchmaker from the region, was the first to establish a workshop manufacturing harmonicas in Trossingen in 1827. His instruments were produced by hand, by a single craftsman in the artisan tradition, and, although laborious to make, were relatively crude instruments.

Matthias Hohner, however, beginning his operations 30 years later, was able to see the benefits of production methods and technologies that had begun to appear in the latter part of the industrial revolution. He replaced humans with machines where the latter could be more accurate than the former, instituted division of labour and adopted innovations such as using brass for the reed plates instead of moulded lead. This, together with the company’s adoption of protective covers for the harmonicas resulted in an instrument that was of the highest quality available at the time, but at a price point that was competitive.

Early Harmonica Design
Hohner harmonica design from the 1860s.

Hohner’s Expansion Internationally

Demand for harmonicas grew throughout the following decades, with export trade to America being particularly high. By 1879 Hohner was producing around 72,000 harmonicas a year and employing over 200 workers.

At the start of the 20th century, Matthias handed over the business to his five sons, who continued to develop export markets and refine the company’s manufacturing processes. By 1930, Hohner had acquired a number of its competitors and had become the largest musical instrument company in the world, employing around 4,000 people.

Hohner Factory in the 1920s
Hohner Factory in the 1920s

The pre-WW2 period was, perhaps the golden age for Hohner harmonica production, with numerous popular musicians from the blues, folk and western genres utilising its distinctive sound in their recordings.

Despite the interruption of the Second World War, and the enlisting of the company by the Nazis to produce detonators for the war effort, Hohner continued to flourish in the 1950s, with large numbers of its harmonicas finding their way to export markets.

 The Downturn

The rise of rock’n’roll, however, with its focus on the triumvirate of guitar, bass and drums, led to a precipitous drop in sales of Hohner’s harmonicas in the early 1960s. Even the use of the instrument by the two biggest acts of the decade – The Rolling Stones and The Beatles – couldn’t seem to reinvigorate the market.

1960s Hohner Advert

The 1970s and 1980s saw diversification into electronic instruments, and disastrous financial results, culminating in a takeover by Kunz Holding, a subsidiary of the Taiwanese musical instrument company, KHS, in 1987.

 Takeover and Return to Profitability

This takeover, and the subsequent drive for profitability led to entry level models being produced in the far east and significant workforce reductions, with the company employing only around 600 people by 1997

This all eventually reaped rewards, though, when in 2001 the company posted its first profit in 20 years.

Choosing a Hohner Harmonica

Today Hohner produces a wide range of harmonicas, and the number of models can sometimes be a little bewildering. Let’s take a look at the various ranges and explain the key differences.

Diatonic Harmonicas

 This type of harmonica is the most ubiquitous and usually features 10 holes, each with one blow and draw note. Because they are tuned to a particular key, if you want to play songs in several different keys (either with a band or to a recording) then you’ll need more than one harmonica. (The caveat here is that it is possible to play cross harp, allowing more than one key to be played on a single diatonic harp, but we’ll leave this for now.)

Marine Band

Hohner Marine Band 1896 Classic - Open Case
Hohner Marine Band 1896 Classic – Open Case

 This is, perhaps, the most famous name in the lineup. First produced at the end of the 19th century, it was later adopted as the instrument of choice by blues, folk and pop artists, from Jimmy Reed to John Lennon. All models are made in Germany.

Today there are a number of variations:

Classic: the original Marine Band with a pearwood lacquered comb and brass reedplates.

Deluxe: improved comb design for greater volume, triple lacquering for longevity and an Ultraglide coating for comfort.

Crossover: triple lacquer bamboo comb for a brighter sound, Modern Compromise Tuning.

Thunderbird: bamboo comb, tuned an octave lower than standard.

364/24: 12 hole version of the traditional Marine Band.

364/24 Soloist: 12 hole version with solo tuning.

365/28: Upper register is expanded to two more holes over the 364/24.

Progressive Series

Hohner Rocket Diatonic Harp
Hohner Rocket Diatonic Harp

These are more modern looking harps, with ABS mouthpiece surfaces and combs, arguably providing better comfort and less chance of swelling than wood. All Progressive Series models are made in Germany.

The Rocket: designed to be loud and comfortable to play, with a comb that features rounded sides and edges.

Rocket Low: similar design to The Rocket, but available in the keys of LC, LD, LEb, LE and LF.

Rocket Amp: features the same construction as The Rocket, but has covers without side vents to facilitate playing with a microphone.

Special 20: this was the first Hohner harmonica to be manufactured with a plastic comb, potentially making it more airtight and less prone to swelling than wooden combed harps. Many modern harmonicas from other manufacturers are based on the Special 20.

Golden Melody: this is a retro-inspired model with rounded edges. Because it’s tuned to equal temperament it’s most suitable for single note playing.

MS Series

Hohner Big River Harp Pro Pack
Hohner Big River Harp Pro Pack

 This line of harps features modular construction, enabling covers, reed plates and combs to be swapped between harmonicas. All MS Series models are made in Germany.

Blues Harp: features a doussie comb and mouthpiece surface and stainless steel covers.

Big River Harp: this model has a plastic comb and streamlined covers with side vents.

Pro Harp: black ABS comb and black coated mouthpiece surface. Particularly popular amongst rock musicians.

The Meisterklasse: features full length cover plates, an aluminium comb and slightly larger nickel-coated reed plates.

Enthusiast Series

These are entry level harmonicas, made in China, that are competitively priced and are designed primarily for beginners.

Blues Bender PAC: Patented Acoustic Covers are designed to facilitate note bending. Plastic comb and mouthpiece surface.

Pocket Pal:  plastic comb and mouthpiece surface, screw assembly for easy maintenance.

Blues Band: features a plastic comb and mouthpiece surface.

Hot Metal Harp: similar to the other models in the Enthusiast Series, but with a sound more orientated towards hard rock.

Silver Star: a robust beginners’ model with a plastic comb and mouthpiece surface.

Chromatic Harmonicas

Chromatic harmonicas consist, effectively, of two harps, tuned a semitone apart and separated from each other by a slide, which is operated by a button at the side of the instrument.

So, in the case of a chromatic harp tuned to C, when the button is not activated, the harmonica will have the notes of the scale of C major available. Conversely, when the button is depressed, the notes of C# major are available, meaning that a chromatic harp can play in any standard Western key. This is particularly useful in jazz and classical music, where the chromatic has seen the most use.

Like the diatonic harps, Hohner groups its chromatic models into a number of lines:

Chrometta Line

Hohner Chrometta 12 Harmonica
Hohner Chrometta 12 Harmonica

 These are entry level chromatic harps available with various ranges, from 2 to 3.5 octaves, indicated by the number in the model name (ie Chrometta 8 has two octaves, Chrometta 10 has 2.5, etc).

CX12 Line

Hohner CX12 Black Harmonica
Hohner CX12 Black Harmonica

 The CX12 Series models are made in Germany and feature a single unit integrating the mouthpiece and covers, which can be disassembled without using any tools.

CX12 Black: injection moulded plastic comb, 1.05mm brass reed plates and a plastic mouthpiece surface.

CX12 Jazz: narrower mouthpiece and a red/gold finish.

CX12 Gold: thicker reed plates for a louder acoustic sound. Gold anodized casing. Particularly suited to classical pieces, and other instances where volume is required without amplification.

Chromonica Line


The Chromonica models share common design features with the original chromatic harmonica first manufactured by Hohner in 1912. Chromonicas are all made in Germany.

Discovery 48: entry level model in the Chromonica range, featuring 48, 1.2mm brass reeds, a straight slide and an ABS comb.

Toots Mellow Tone: thinner reed plates (1.05mm) and a pearwood comb, give this harp a warm sound. The mouthpiece surface is chrome, rather than ABS and the reed plates are nickel coated.

Toots Hard Bopper: similar to the Mellow Tone but with thicker reed plates (1.2mm) for a more powerful sound.

Chromonica 40: classic Chromonica model, with a 2.5 octave range, pearwood comb and 1.05mm brass reed plates.

Super Chromonica (AKA Chromonica 48): similar to the 40, but with a full 3 octave range.

Chromonica 48 Gold: special edition of the 48 with gold cover, reed plate and mouthpiece surfaces.

Super Chromonica Deluxe: similar to the standard 48, but with thicker (1.2mm) reed plates for greater volume and response.

Chromonica 64full 4 octave range and an ABS comb. Extra octave is in the lower range.

Performance Line

Hohner Silver Concerto Chromatic Harmonica
Hohner Silver Concerto Chromatic Harmonica

 These are the top end Hohner chromatic harmonicas and are designed for the needs of expert and professional players.

ACE: this very modern looking harmonica features Acoustic Coupling Elements, enabling the user to modify tonal colour, and a VarioSpring system, which allows easy adjustment of spring pressure.

Silver Concerto: Hohner’s most exclusive harmonica is built to order and features a sterling silver comb and silver plated mouthpiece surface.

Amadeus: 3 octave range, gold plated mouthpiece surface and a CNC milled transparent acrylic comb.

Meisterklasse: designed specifically for classical players, this harp has a 3.5 octave range from G – C, an aluminium comb and 1.2mm brass reeds.

Super 64: 4 octave chromatic harmonica, used by Stevie Wonder on many of his hits. ABS comb and silver plated mouthpiece surface with round holes.

Super 64X: similar to the standard Super 64, but with a transparent polycarbonate comb and double thickness reed plates in the bottom two octaves.

Tremolo Harmonicas

Hohner Golden Melody Tremolo Harmonica
Hohner Golden Melody Tremolo Harmonica

These types of harp have two reeds per note – one tuned slightly sharp, the other slightly flat – which gives a distinctive warbling note, particularly suited to traditional folk music.

Echo 2×32: features a maple comb, and is double-sided, giving the keys of C and G in one instrument.

Echo 2×48: similar to the 32, but with 2 x 48 reed plates, giving a greater range.

Echo 32 Tremolo: standard 32 hole tremolo harmonica featuring a maple comb and mouthpiece surface.

Echo 48 Tremolo: similar to the 32, but with 48 reed plates for a larger range.

Golden Melody Tremolo: 40 hole model with a plastic, rather than wooden, comb, to eliminate swelling.

Kreuzwender: six separate tremolo harmonicas in different keys, joined together by metal stars at the end. Each harmonica can be chosen by rotating the instrument.

Ocean Star 48: 48 hole tremolo harmonica tuned to give a slow tremolo effect.

Big Valley 48: 48 hole tremolo harmonica with a particularly bright sound. ABS comb and mouthpiece surface.

Octave Harmonicas

Hohner Comet 40 Octave Harmonica
Hohner Comet 40 Octave Harmonica

Octave harmonicas, like tremolo harps, have two reeds per note, but instead of being tuned slightly sharp and flat they are tuned an octave apart, giving a very powerful sound. Like tremolos, octaves are most widely used in folk music.

Comet 40: 40 brass reeds, injection moulded plastic comb and 0.9mm reed plates.

Unsere Lieblinge 32: traditional 32 reed octave harmonica with a maple comb.

Unsere Lieblinge 48: 48 hole version of the 32.

Orchestral Harmonicas

Hohner Double Bass 58 Orchestral Harmonica
Hohner Bass 58 Orchestral Harmonica

 These are designed primarily for ensemble playing and are produced in melody and chord versions.

Chord 48: 384 reeds, enabling 48 different chords to be played.

Bass 58: 29 hole, 58 reed instrument, with reeds tuned an octave apart for a deep, rich sound.

Bass 78: 78 reed version of the Bass 58.

Other Models

Hohner also produces signature models, such as the Ozzy Osborne and Bob Dylan harps, which are based on the instruments used by the artists, but customized to give them a unique look and feel.

Hohner Bob Dylan Signature Harmonica
Hohner Bob Dylan Signature Harmonica


Hopefully this will have helped you to determine the correct Hohner harmonica for your needs and playing style, but please drop us a line by phone (01373 469777) or email ([email protected]) if you have any questions.

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Artist Profile – Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder in 1973
Stevie Wonder in 1973

In his 2008 book, Outliers, the American intellectual and writer, Malcolm Gladwell, discusses the role of natural ability in achieving world class expertise in a particular skill. In one of the early chapters, he focuses on the work of Stanford professor, Lewis Terman, who sought out child prodigies and followed their subsequent progression into adulthood.

What Gladwell finds interesting about these “Termites” – as the studied children were nicknamed – is that, despite having exceptionally high IQs, none fulfilled Terman’s hypothesis that they would grow up to be pre-eminent figures in art, business, science, government or literature.

The music world is also full of child prodigies, yet few develop into artists of the calibre that would be expected, given the talents displayed at such early ages. They may learn to play complex Mozart pieces with perfect accuracy and exquisite feeling, yet they fail to ape the great composer in his ability to create original work.

The Exception

Stevland Hardaway Morris, better known by his stage name of Stevie Wonder, is one of the few exceptions to this rule. Born six weeks premature, and with retinopathy of prematurity, leading to permanent blindness, Wonder had few of the advantages of life enjoyed by many child prodigies, especially those in the classical oeuvre. Yet it was clear, even at a young age, that he possessed not only a polymath’s command of multiple instruments, but also a creative flair that would see him release original material at the tender age of twelve.

Although Stevie is, perhaps best known as a keyboard player, vocalist and songwriter, the harmonica has featured heavily both in his own work and in his contributions to the recordings of other artists.

Early Success

Wonder’s remarkable talent for playing the harp was obvious at an extremely young age. This is evident in rare footage of the Motortown Revue, a series of concerts designed to promote Motown artists in the early 1960s, where a 12 year-old Stevie wows the crowd with a virtuoso performance of ‘Fingertips’ on the bongos and harmonica. Later released as a single, “Fingertips” went on to top the Billboard Pop Singles Chart, giving Wonder his first true hit, and making him the youngest artist to achieve the number one position.

First Original Hit

After a short period in the wilderness, while his voice underwent the usual changes that adolescence brings, Stevie scored his first self-penned hit with “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” which displayed a harder, more rock-influenced sound. During this period he was also signed to the Motown songwriting department, which led to him composing songs for himself and labelmates, most notably ‘Tears of a Clown’ which gained Smokey Robinson and the Miracles the coveted number one singles spot.

Back to the Harmonica

Towards the late 1960s the harmonica began to feature heavily again in Wonder’s music: initially in an album of instrumental jazz/soul tracks, entitled ‘Eivets Rednow’, and later with the memorable singles, ‘I Was Made to Love Her’ and ‘For Once in My Life’. It’s a testament to Wonder’s interpretation of the latter that most people assume that he wrote it (in fact it was originally penned by Motown songwriter and producer, Ron Miller, as a much slower piece, intended to be performed in the swing genre).

In both of these hits, Stevie Wonder displays his trademark harmonica style: virtuosic without being self-indulgent. Compared to the harmonica that featured in other, predominantly folk-based, contemporary chart singles, Wonder’s solos are notable for their complexity, and use of jazz scales, whilst still remaining true to the primary tune of the song itself.

Classic Era

Throughout the 1970s Stevie Wonder matured as an artist, touring with bands such as The Rolling Stones, and developing a sound that was quite distinct from his early Motown work. This period produced his two finest albums: 1973’s ‘Innervisions’ and 1976’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life’, both of which feature heavily in most music magazine’s top albums of all time.

Commercial Success

The 1980s saw Stevie Wonder build on this critical success with significant commercial achievements, including his first platinum album – ‘Hotter than July’ and the phenomenally popular ‘Happy Birthday’ single, which was part of his ultimately successful campaign to establish Dr Martin Luther King’s birthday as a national holiday in the USA.

Other work included collaborations with Elton John and The Eurythmics, on whose respective singles, ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” and ‘There Must be an Angel’ Wonder played harmonica, with trademark zeal.

Later Years

Although the last 25 years has seen a reduction in Wonder’s original musical output, he has continued to contribute to the work of many popular artists, been sampled by others (perhaps most famously, in Coolio’s 1995 hit single ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, which extensively sampled ‘Pastime Paradise’ from ‘Songs in the Key of Life’), and performed live to huge audiences, at events such as the Winter Olympics and Glastonbury Festival.

Style and Harmonica Choice

From a playing perspective, Stevie overwhelmingly favours the chromatic harmonica. Unlike the more ubiquitous diatonic harmonica, commonly used for folk music and the blues, the chromatic harmonica has a full range of notes, by dint of more holes (up to 16, rather than 10) and a slide, which raises the pitch of each hole by a semitone. The primary downside of the chromatic harp is the additional difficulty in learning to play it. Circular breathing, as commonly practised by classical wind instrument players, is a necessary skill, due to the chromatic harmonica generally requiring a greater amount of air to produce its wider range of notes.

Wonder’s use of the chromatic harp is quite distinctive. Harmonica artist, Randy Singer has noted that Stevie manipulates the slide forcibly, whilst using a significant amount of vibrato to achieve a shifting effect. This is mixed with a fluttering effect from his use of the tongue to achieve his trademark sound.

Although Stevie now mainly plays a custom made Huang harmonica, many of his recordings feature the Hohner Chromonica Super 64. Players wishing to attempt to replicate his sound will find this a good starting point, as it offers the necessary four octave range at a competitive price point. (As an aside, it’s worth noting that chromatic harmonicas obviate the need to purchase multiple harps, as they can effectively play in any key, making the generally higher initial outlay significantly more bearable).

Hohner Chromonica Super 64 Harmonica
Hohner Chromonica Super 64 Harmonica

A slightly cheaper alternative is the Hohner Chromonica 64, which features similar construction but replaces the silver mouthpiece surface of the Super 64 with nickel.

Hohner Chromonica 64 Harmonica
Hohner Chromonica 64 Harmonica

Conversely, players who are willing to spend a little more would be advised to look at the Chromonica Super 64X, which upgrades the mouthpiece surface to gold, and produces a louder, richer sound, particularly in the low range, due to its double reed plates.

Hohner Chromonica Super 64x Harmonica
Hohner Chromonica Super 64x Harmonica

Of course, while all of these models will give you the potential to play like Stevie, they, unfortunately, won’t instantly imbue you with his talent (more’s the pity!)