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The chromatic harmonica contains all natural notes plus all sharps and flats, thus enabling melodies to be played that include all standard Western notes. They come in a range of sizes, but the most popular models have either twelve or sixteen holes, giving a tonal range of three or four octaves. Like diatonic harmonicas, many models can be purchased in a variety of keys, but, as they are, by nature, fully chromatic, key choice is a function of what tonal range is required, and whether a particular pieces of music is more easily played on a specific key of chromatic harmonica.
Out of stockThe Hohner Amadeus harmonica is a luxurious chromatic used by professionals, developed in cooperation with the Italian chromatic virtuoso Willi Burger. The combination of a polished CNC milled acrylic body, a gold-plated mouthpiece and extra thick reed plates gives a touch of exclusiveness to this elegantly styled harmonica. Here's what Hohner say about the Amadeus: "Willi Burger is without question one of the all time great interpreters of classical music on the chromatic harmonica. Born in Milan in 1934, the Italian harmonica virtuoso has spent a lifetime performing countless works written or arranged for the instrument to international critical acclaim - reason enough for HOHNER to enter into a cooperation with him to design a harmonica specifically for the classical soloist. Incorporating many of Burger’s suggestions, the Amadeus features a gorgeous see-through acrylic comb and a unique gold plated mouthpiece design. It is not just one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most powerful harmonicas ever made, with an enormous dynamic range and fantastic tone." Comb: acrylic glass, transparent, colourless Number of holes: 12 Reeds: 48 brass Reed Plates: 1.2mm brass Read Plate Surface: Nickel Cover Surface: Chrome Slide Construction: zigzag Mouthpiece Surface: Gold Length: 19 cm Comes in a Luxury Wooden Case Range of 3 full octaves Keys: C Major Made in Germany ... Read more
Out of stockThe Hohner Chrometta 8 is the smallest version of the chrometta series, it has wider channel openings which make it easier for a beginner to play single notes. Comb: ABS, black Number of hole: 8 Reeds: 32 brass Reed Plates: 1.5mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: stainless steel Slide Construction: zigzag Plastic injection moulded comb 32 notes / 2 octave range Keys: C Major ... Read more
Out of stockHohner New Super 64 (Performance Series) - The original HOHNER Super 64 embodied the high end chromatic harmonica since it first came on the market. With the new Super 64, HOHNER upgrades this iconic instrument with a breathtaking design and a whole range of innovative features. The VarioSpring System permits individual adjustment of slide spring tension, while the revolutionary construction of the new SilentSlide is exceptionally airtight and almost completely silent in operation. In addition, the optimized comb chambers ensure fastest possible response. The new Super 64 also sets new standards in durability and ease of maintenance. The reed plates are mounted with screws, without contact to the covers, reducing reed wear and making basic maintenance much simpler. The covers are attached separately and the nylon case provided also serves as a mobile work bench. Truly a giant step in the evolution of the chromatic harmonica. The new Super 64 features 1.2mm brass reed plates, an ABS comb, stainless steel cover plates and zigzag slide construction. It's solo tuned and has a full 4 octave range from C3 - D7. About Hohner Hohner is one of the world's oldest harmonica manufacturers and has been producing harmonicas in Germany since the middle of the 19th Century. Its Marine Band diatonic harmonica has been used by many of the most famous harp players, from Sonny Terry to Bob Dylan, and its wide availability and relative inexpensiveness helped it to play a part in kickstarting the blues genre. Hohner hasn't rested on its laurels, though; although the Marine Band is relatively unchanged, the company has introduced many innovations, such as recessed reed plates, ABS combs and ergonomic chromatic harps.... Read more
Out of stockHohner New Super 64X Performance Series - When the original Super 64X hit the market it astonished chromatic enthusiasts with its beautiful black and gold design and its volume boost thanks to the double thickness reed plates on the first two octaves. With the new Super 64X HOHNER has managed to top expectations once again. Its double thickness reed plates now extend over the entire range of the instrument, offering a massive boost in volume in all octaves and the high-end coating gives it a uniquely attractive appearance. The VarioSpring System permits individual adjustment of slide spring tension, while the revolutionary construction of the new SilentSlide is exceptionally airtight and almost completely silent in operation. In addition, the optimized comb chambers ensure fastest possible response. Just like the new Super 64, the Super 64X sets new standards in durability and ease of maintenance. The reed plates are mounted with screws, without contact to the covers, reducing reed wear and making basic maintenance much simpler. The covers are attached separately and the nylon case provided also serves as a mobile work bench. The new Super 64X – a black beauty with a bite! About Hohner Hohner is one of the world's oldest harmonica manufacturers, having been producing harmonicas in Germany since the middle of the 19th century. It has been responsible for multiple innovations and is trusted by some of the greatest harmonica players.... Read more
Out of stockDeveloped in conjunction with the late Tommy Reilly, The Hohner Silver Concerto is the ultimate chromatic harmonica - a first class instrument for classical concert soloists. The body is milled from 92,5 % sterling silver, and the harmonica features silver plated mouthpiece and covers. Sweet, full tone with great depth and three octave range. The Silver Concerto is Hohner's most exclusive harmonica and the benchmark for classical music. The solid construction and extra-thick reed plates generate an exceptionally bright and powerful tone. The Silver Concerto is the first choice for classical harmonica virtuosos such as Willi Burger and Yasuo Watani. The latest Silver Concerto is fitted with a redesigned slide and mouthpiece assembly which minimises slide noise as well as further increasing air-tightness and playing comfort. Reeds: 48 Reed Plate: Brass, Nickel Plated 1.2mm Comb: Sterling Silver Cover Surface: Silver Number of holes: 12 Keys: C major Made in Germany Note that all Silver Concertos are built to order and the typical lead time is 3 months. About Hohner Hohner is one of the world's oldest harmonica manufacturers, and is credited with the production of the world's first chromatic harmonica. Hohner harmonicas continue to be used by the greatest musicians from all genres of music. ... Read more
Out of stockThe Larry Adler LA16 is a classical chromatic harmonica, played - amongst others - by Larry Adler, one of the greatest harmonica virtuoso's of all time. Excellent response and full sound. Sound: Chromatic. Reeds: 64 Reed Plate: Brass, 1.05mm Keys: C major Comb: Plastic Case/Packaging: Plastic snap case Size: Length: 18.4cm. ... Read more
How do Chromatic Harmonicas Work?
In terms of construction, it is easiest to visualise a standard chromatic harmonica as being akin to two diatonics arranged on top of each other and tuned a semitone apart. The slide, which is activated by a button on the side of the harmonica, directs air to the top or bottom reeds, thus enabling all standard Western notes to be sounded without the need to resort to bending.
Is the Chromatic Harmonica More Difficult to Play than the Diatonic?
It should be noted that, as the reed plates contain multiple octaves tuned a semitone apart, there is some overlap in notes when the slide is in or out. For example, a harmonica with C and Db reed plates will share the notes C and F on both sets of reed plates, meaning that C and F can be played on the harmonica with the slide in or out. This makes the learning curve of the chromatic somewhat steeper than the diatonic, although this is partially offset by the fact that bending notes is not required on the chromatic - something that beginners often find difficult initially.
The Most Popular Chromatic Harmonicas
The most popular chromatics are those with 12 holes, but they are commonly available in sizes ranging from 8 to 16 holes. The German made Hohner Chromonica 48, Seydel Saxony and the SCX range from Suzuki in Japan tend to be the best selling chromatic harmonicas, and represent excellent value. The Harmonica Company also stocks and extensive range of other models from Hohner, Seydel Suzuki and Tombo and offers fast worldwide shipping.
Suzuki Chromatic Harmonica
Suzuki manufactures all of its chromatic harmonicas in Japan, and they are renowned for the quality of their craftsmanship, their playability and tone. The SCX range, in particular, offers what must be the best 'bang for your buck' in chromatic harmonicas. Further up the range, the Gregoire Maret harmonica teams stunning looks with best in class sound and feel.
8 Hole Chromatic Harmonica
The smallest of the widely available chromatic harmonicas is the 8 hole version, which, as the name suggests, features 8 holes, giving a tonal range of just over two full octaves. 8 holes are a good choice for beginners and for those who don't require the range of larger chromatics.
10 Hole Chromatic Harmonicas
10 hole chromatic harmonicas, such as the Hohner Chrometta 10, are fairly rare, but offer most of the tonal range of a 12 hole usually at a lower price point.
12 Hole Chromatic Harmonicas
The 12 hole size of chromatic harmonicas is the most popular type of chromatic, and a wide range of harmonicas, from entry to expert level can be found in this size. 12 hole chromatics provide three whole octaves of tonal range, which is sufficient to cover most pieces of music. 12 holes are also often available in a wide range of keys, which enables players to choose a lower or higher tonal range than the stock C tuning.
14 Hole Chromatic Harmonicas
14 hole chromatic harmonicas are fairly rare, but offer most of the range of the largest chromatics, but with a slight reduction in size. They are generally available only in the key of C.
16 Hole Chromatic Harmonicas
The largest commonly available chromatic is the 16 hole, which provides 4 octaves of tonal range. Generally only made in C, these chromatics have the ability to reach very high and very low notes, making them extremely versatile for all genres of music.
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