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Excellent customer service! My recent purchase required a couple of alterations in details and they were very responsive about it. Despite the changes in the order, the item actually arrived earlier than expected!

Google ReviewKaiomurz MotawaraReviewed 01/11/2018

Comprehensive range of harps, sent out promptly. My first point of call when looking for a new/different harp.

Google ReviewDave MoffatReviewed 06/11/2023

Always a great experience dealing with this firm; keen prices, fast delivery and well packaged.

Google ReviewRichard HonourReviewed 07/11/2023

Chromatic Harmonicas

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.

Tombo S50 Chromatic Harmonica
Tombo Harmonicas

Tombo S50 Chromatic Harmonica

£35.99
There are two problems with current chromatic harmonicas; the slide and and the air-valve. The Tombo S50 chromatic harmonica has no slide or air-valve, which helps to extend its lifespan versus traditional chromatic harmonicas Also it's constructed to provide one tone per hole, which makes it possible to produce significantly higher volume levels than traditional chromatics. Major notes are on the top, with sharps and flats on the bottom. 44 Reeds 44 Tones Tonal Range : c1~c4 Yellow plastic case Slideless Chromatic ... Read more
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Toots Thielemans Hard Bopper Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Toots Thielemans Hard Bopper Harmonica

£214.99
The Toots Thielemans Hard Bopper Harmonica was developed in cooperation with the legendary Jean "Toots" Thielemans, the grand old man of harmonica jazz. Toots recommends the Mellow Tone for ballads or classical pieces and the Hard Bopper for more contemporary material. Thicker plates and long slot reeds give this instrument a full, powerful sound with the fast response needed for jazz and rock music. It has a pearwood comb, optimized for improved response in the upper register. Comb: Pearwood, brown Number of holes: 12 Reeds: 48 brass Reed Plates: 1.2mm brass Reed Plate Surface: Nickel Cover Surface: stainless steel Slide Construction: straight Mouthpiece Surface: Chrome Length: 15.5 cm Comes in a plastic snap box Chrome plated brass covers with Toots signature embossing Keys: C Major ... Read more
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Toots Thielemans Mellow Tone Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Toots Thielemans Mellow Tone Harmonica

£201.99
The Toots Thielemans Mellow Tone Harmonica was developed in cooperation with the legendary Jean "Toots" Thielemans, the grand old man of harmonica jazz. Toots recommends the Mellow Tone for ballads or classical pieces and the Hard Bopper for more contemporary material. Short slot reeds and thinner reed plates make this model perfect for playing ballads. The pearwood body gives the instrument a warm, resonant tone. Comb: Pearwood, brown Number of holes: 12 Reeds: 48 brass Reed Plates: 1.05mm brass Reed Plate Surface: Nickel Cover Surface: stainless steel Slide Construction: straight Mouthpiece Surface: Chrome Length: 15.5 cm Comes in a plastic snap box Chrome plated brass covers with Toots signature embossing Keys: C Major ... Read more
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Hohner Amadeus Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Hohner Amadeus Harmonica

£1,199.99

Out of stock

The 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
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Hohner Chrometta 14 Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Hohner Chrometta 14 Harmonica

£114.99

Out of stock

The Hohner Chrometta 14 is the largest harmonica in the Chrometta series, boasting 56 notes which offers a complete tonal range of a violin. It has wider channel openings making it easier for the beginner to play single notes. This model is excellent value for money if you want to try the out the enlarged 56 note version of a chromatic harp. Comb: ABS, black Number of holes: 14 Reeds: 56 brass Reed Plates: 1.05mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: stainless steel Slide Construction: zigzag Plastic injection moulded comb 56 notes, 31/2 octave range, C-major Length: 19 cm Keys: C Major ... Read more
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Hohner CX12 Jazz Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Hohner CX12 Jazz Harmonica

£239.99

Out of stock

At first glance, the striking red-to-gold opalescent finish of the CX12 Jazz is hard to overlook. However, there’s more to this baby than meets the eye. Based on the brilliant and successful design of the CX12 Black, the CX12 Jazz boasts a narrower mouthpiece radius, which makes it even more comfortable to play and facilitates single reed note bending for greater expression, allowing you to break with chromatic convention and redefine your creative possibilities. If you want a loud, responsive chromatic that offers you killer tone and maximum punch, it doesn’t get much better than this! Reed plates (material, thickness): brass, 1.05 mm Reed plates (surface): brass Reeds (number, material): 48, brass Comb (material, color): ABS, black Comb (finish): ABS, matt Mouthpiece (surface): ABS, red to gold lacquered Cover plates: ABS, red to gold lacquered Slide construction: zigzag Keys: C Type: chromatic Tuning: solo tuning Number of holes: 12 Tonal range: 3 octaves, C4 – D7 Length: 16.8 cm / 6.6" About Hohner Hohner is one of the world's leading harmonica manufacturers and has been producing harmonicas in Germany since the middle of the 19th century. It produced the world's first production chromatic harmonica in the 1920s and has been at the forefront on harmonica design for well over a century.... Read more
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Hohner Silver Concerto Chromatic Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Hohner Silver Concerto Chromatic Harmonica

£7,999.99

Out of stock

Developed 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
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Hohner Super 64 Performance Series Chromatic Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Hohner Super 64 Performance Series Chromatic Harmonica

£328.99

Out of stock

Hohner Super 64 Performance Series Chromatic Harmonica 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 the 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. If you're a Stevie Wonder fan, and want to replicate his style, then this is the harmonica for you. Stevie used a Super 64, and later, it's sibling, the Super 64x, on many of his most famous recordings, and can still often be seen playing a Super 64 at live events. Its range and tone are key to Stevie's style of playing. 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
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Hohner Super 64X Performance Series Chromatic Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Hohner Super 64X Performance Series Chromatic Harmonica

£499.99

Out of stock

Hohner Super 64X Performance Series Chromatic Harmonica 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! Compared to the Super 64, the Super 64X uses a greater number of bespoke parts, including unique cover plates, mouthpiece, and, of course, the double thickness reed plates, which generate additional volume. For a more detailed overview of the differences please look at our comparison of the Super 64 and Super 64X. 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
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Larry Adler LA16 Harmonica
Hohner Harmonicas

Larry Adler LA16 Harmonica

£195.99

Out of stock

The 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
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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.

History of the Chromatic Harmonica

The question of who first created the chromatic harmonica is a much disputed one, although we do know that the production diatonic harmonica pre-dated it by many decades. The first patent that possibly relates to something resembling a chromatic harmonica can be traced to the UK in 1862, although it has been argued that the instrument in question would have been closer to a set of adjustable pitch pipes than a harmonica.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries various manufacturers, including Hohner and Seydel, experimented with mechanisms that would enable different sets of reed plates to be used at the player's discretion, but most designs remained clunky, or too complicated for mass production and uptake. This all changed with the release of the Hohner Chromonica - an instrument that, aside from the external spring, is not dissimilar to a modern chromatic.

It was in the 1930, however, with the launch of the updated Hohner Chromonica with internal spring (for which the company had been granted a patent) that Hohner set the template for the basic design of chromatic harmonica that endures to this day. Initially only available as a 10 hole model, the range was expanded over the 1930s and 1940s to include 12 and eventually 16 hole harmonicas. A modern day Chromonica 48, in fact, is barely distinguishable from one of these pre-war harmonicas, even down to the use of nails to hold the instrument together.

By the 1950s the pre-war aesthetic was starting to look a little old fashioned (this being prior to 'vintage' becoming a thing), so Hohner unveiled the Chromonica Deluxe - an instrument that looked like a cross between a space ship and a streamliner styled 50s diner. This was primilarily aimed at the US market, but sold reasonably well in Europe as well, and was certainly an instrument with more finesse, compared to the fairly crudely stamped appearance of the standard Chromonica.

Hohner's patent for the chromatic harmonica with internal spring expired decades ago, now, and most manufacturers have converged on a similar design to the Chromonica - sometimes with minor improvements in slide operation, materials or build quality. Hohner has not been silent during these years, though, and has developed a number of higher end instruments, such as the Meisterklasse, Silver Concerto and ACE 48. It has not left the entry level untouched, either, having debuted the plastic bodied CX12 in 1992. This harp was and is somewhat polarising, due to its unique looks, but it is exceptionally easy to keep clean, due to its featuring too free disassembly, and the one piece mouthpiece ensure that it is quick to play, with no metal parts touching the player's lips.

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 an 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. An example of an 8 hole chromatic is the Hohner Chrometta 8

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. Interestingly, when production chromatics were first made widely available, the 10 hole version was the standard model. More recently, however, it has been largely superseded by the 12 hole harmonica.

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. An example of the 14 hole chromatic harmonica is the Suzuki SCX-56, so called due to the 56 reeds (4 per hole).

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. Examples of 16 hole chromatics are the Hohner Super 64, Suzuki SCX-64 and the Seydel Grand Symphony 64.

What is a Slideless or Slide-Free Chromatic Harmonica?

Slide-free chromatics usually feature the same dual sets of reed plates as a regular chromatic. Where they differ is the mechanism through which air is directed to the top or bottom plates. A slide free chromatic, as the name suggests, doesn't use a spring loaded slide, but instead usually has two sets of holes, angled up and down to avoid inadvertent sounding. The advantages are lower complexity and cost, and some players find the technique used with these harps to be more intuitive than for those with slides. However, fast chromatic runs are harder, and it is not possible to achieve the same type of trills, as found on many distinctive chromatic harmonica solos by artists such as Stevie Wonder. An example of a slide free chromatic harmonica is the Seydel NonSlider.

What is the Best Chromatic Harmonica?

As will all questions of this nature, there is an element of subjectivism that makes a definitive answer impossible. However, the Polle Concert harmonica, as used by Tommy Reilly in place of the Silver Concerto in later years, is widely regarded as the finest chromatic harmonica available. Owing to its labour intensive production, extremely expensive materials, and limited availability, however, it is exceptionally expensive, and beyond the reach of most players. For those on a more modest budget, the Hohner Super 64 - used by none other than Stevie Wonder on many of his most famous recordings - is an exceptionally good chromatic.

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