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Hohner CX12 vs Chromonica 48

Chromatic harmonicas by their very nature are more expensive than their diatonic cousins. The entry point for a serious German made 12 hole chromatic is often considered to be the Hohner Chromonica 48 – a harmonica that is little changed from the first commercial chromatics manufactured by Hohner in the 1920s. Increase the budget a little bit, however, and the much more modern CX12 comes into reach. But which is best suited for your needs? Read on and we’ll help you to find out.

The Chromonica 48 is based on Hohner’s traditional harmonica design which began with the 10 hole Chromonica 40 in the 1920s. Like the Marine Band 1896 Classic, the Chromonica is still nailed together – something of a rarity in modern harmonicas – and has a simple, traditional look and feel. The CX12, in comparison, looks like a harmonica designed to be played in a science fiction film – all moulded plastic, without a sharp piece of metal in sight.

The Chromonica’s pearwood comb provides this vintage feeling harp with a nice warm tone. It’s a little vulnerable to swelling, and reed plate replacement (and even taking it apart for cleaning) is an absolute chore, as the nailed together construction is not particularly user friendly.

The CX12 is at the opposite end of the spectrum in this respect – the entire body can be removed without the need for any tools, and the reed plates are attached to the comb with simple screws, making reed plate replacement a 5 minute task.

The CX12 looks can be divisive, and many traditionalists assume that it will have a thin and plastic sound, given its construction. However, much care was taken with the design of the body to ensure excellent acoustics and the CX12 provides and full and expressive tone, which is easily a match for other harps in its price bracket. The one piece body also means that the player’s lip do not come into contact with the reed plates, and the smoothness of the mouthpiece means that fast movements from low to high notes are easily accomplished.

Overall, the Chromonica 48 will appeal to those seeking a well made German chromatic without breaking the bank. For a little more money, though, the CX12 offers a more modern, user friendly experience whilst sacrificing nothing in the way of tone or playability.

Hohner CX12 Black Harmonica
Hohner Chromonica 48 Harmonica
Harmonica NameHohner CX12 Black HarmonicaHohner Chromonica 48 Harmonica
Harmonica TypeChromatic HarmonicaChromatic Harmonica
Number of Holes1212
Comb MaterialPlasticWood
Number of Reeds4848
Spare Reeds Available?YesYes
Musical StylesJazz, Classical, PopJazz, Classical, Pop
Available KeysA, B Flat, D, G, C, F, E, B, E Flat, C TenorA, B Flat, D, G, C, F, E, B, E Flat, F Sharp, D Flat, A Flat, C Tenor
Price from£189.99£169.00
View details & BuyView details & Buy
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