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The tremolo harmonica's distinguishing feature is that it has two reeds per note - similar to octave harmonicas - but with one tuned slightly sharp and the other tuned slightly flat. This provides a unique wavering or warbling sound created by the two reeds being slightly out of tune with each other and the difference in their subsequent wave forms interacting with each other. This warbling sound is known as 'beating' and its speed is determined by how far apart in pitch the two sets of reeds are tuned - those that are tuned further apart beat quicker than those that are tuned closer together.
7 Keys availableThe Hohner Six Sided Tremolo Replacement is an individual harmonica designed to fit the Hohner Six Sided Tremolo harmonica known in German as the "Kreuzwender" The Kreuzwender (Six Sided Tremolo) is a unique tremolo mouth organ consisting of six separate instruments held together by metal stars at the ends, giving it a form like a paddle wheel. Each individual harmonica is in a different key and can be selected according to the musical occasion simply by turning the wheel. Comb: Maple, brown Number of hole: 48 Reeds: 48 brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: Stainless steel Mouthpiece Surface: Maple Length: 23 cm Comes in a plastic snap case Keys: C Major, D Major, E Major, F Major, G Major, A Major, Bb Major. ... Read more
4 Keys availableSeydel Fanfare-S Tremolo Harmonica The Seydel Fanfare-S Tremolo Harmonica – the first Tremolo harmonica with stainless steel reeds - unprecedented musical presence whilst minimizing air-loss. Precision made acrylic comb – very airtight and durable. Stainless steel covers – no possibility of corrosion. Mouthpiece with round holes made of stainless steel - for lip-friendly playing. 48 stainless steel reeds tuned according to the Solo-tuning with three full octaves – loud and overtone-rich sound with an unbeatable easy response. built-in valves are optimized for the Tremolo sound – minimized air-loss at the same time as loud tone and a faster development of the desired beating. The Fanfare-S – ambitious players of many traditional musical styles (Shanty, Alpenländische Volksmusik, Irish Folk, Cajun, etc.) will not want to miss out on this fantastic instrument. Many of the outstanding features of the Fanfare-S derive from our top chromatic model, the SAXONY ! About Seydel Seydel is the world's oldest extant harmonica manufacturer, and has been producing harmonicas in Saxony, Germany for over 150 years. They are, perhaps, less well known than their competitors and compatriots, Hohner, primarily as a consequence of their having had the misfortune to be located behind the Iron Curtain following the division of Europe after World War 2. In the 1990s the company was returned to its original owners after a period of East German state control, and since then Seydel has built its reputation on high quality German-made harmonicas, predominantly featuring stainless steel reeds.... Read more
5 Keys availableThe Seydel Sailor Steel Tremolo is the first traditionally-shaped tremolo harmonica with stainless steel reeds. The Seydel Sailor Steel Tremolo is a traditionally built diatonic tremolo-harmonica has a divided plastic comb: four holes in a square correspond to one draw and one blow note. If a single note is played two reeds that are tuned a little bit different start to operate together. As a result the floating tremolo sound is produced that has grown into a typical stylistic element of many different kinds of folk music on the harmonica. The Seydel Sailor Steel Tremolo harmonica is well suited for playing melodies or chord accompaniment. If played with the "tongue blocking" technique both can be done simultaneously and then the full and rich sound of the Seydel Sailor Steel is reminiscent of a big styrian accordion. 24 double-holes 48 Stainless Steel reeds (and rivets) with a very good pitch stability and a loud with full sound Body: divided, plastic black - non-corrosive and swelling-free Stable covers made of Stainless Steel Airtight reed plates made of German Silver (1.0mm) with very good flatness Weight: 134g (4.73oz ) Dimensions: 182 x 30 x 24mm (7.16 x 1.18 x 0.94inches) The Seydel Sailor Steel Tremolo – ambitious players of many traditional musical styles (Shanty, Alpenländische Volksmusik, Irish Folk, Classical, etc.) will not want to miss out on this fantastic instrument.... Read more
5 Keys availableThe Seydel Skydiver Steel Tremolo Harmonica is a traditionally-shaped tremolo harmonica with stainless steel reeds. The Seydel Skydiver Steel Tremolo Harmonica offers an incredible musical presence and assertiveness while providing a subtle and sweet tremolo sound. The tuning on the SKYDIVER is the most commonly used tuning of tremolo harmonicas (also called 'Asian tuning'). polymeric comb with single chamber per reed – very airtight and durable stainless steel covers – no possibility of corrosion traditionally-shaped (double-row) tremolo mouthpiece 48 stainless steel reeds tuned according to the solo-tremolo tuning (without double notes) providing three complete melody octaves of tonal range full overtone-rich sound with an easy response approved tuning stability due to stainless steel reeds sweet sounding tremolo available in many keys: G, A, C, Db and D if you use two instruments tuned in a semi-note distance (e.g. C & C'/Db) the SKYDIVER is even suited for playing chromatically! The Seydel Skydiver Steel Tremolo Harmonica – made for ambitious melody players of many traditional musical styles.... Read more
1 Key availableThe Suzuki Baritone SBH-21 Tremolo Harmonica is pitched one octave lower than Suzuki's standard 21 hole instruments, allowing for an unusual warmth and depth of sound ordinarily not found on a tremolo harmonica. The Suzuki Baritone SBH-21 Tremolo Harmonica can also be used as to add bass to an ensemble performance. Tremolo harmonicas have two sets of reeds, one on top of the other. In this way, they are similar to a chromatic harmonica. However, where they differ is that chromatics have a slide to divert air to the top or bottom reeds, which are tuned to provide a chromatic range of notes; tremolos, in comparison have the reeds tuned slightly apart in pitch, and both sets of reeds are activated for each hole, whenever this is used. This provides the thick and distinctive warbling sound for which tremolo harmonicas are known.... Read more
2 Keys availableThe Suzuki Humming Deluxe Tremolo Harmonica is a superb example of state of the art technology that produces a beautiful old world sound. Many different kinds of gospel and old world music sound wonderful using tremolo style harmonicas. This one just makes them sound that much better. The Suzuki Humming Deluxe Tremolo SU-21H is one of our most popular Tremolo Harmonicas. Range: 21 (double) hole Cover Plates: Brass, chrome plated Body: ABS Comes with a case and cleaning cloth Warning: It has come to our attention that counterfeit Suzuki Harmonicas are being offered for sale through overseas sellers. Please do not fall victim to these illegal sellers of Suzuki Harmonicas. All our Suzuki range have been purchased directly from the official Suzuki distributors. ... Read more
2 Keys availableThe Suzuki Humming Mate is an easy to hold compact version of the popular SU-21h Humming Tremolo. Available in keys of C and Am, it has 13 holes and 8 notes, and produces a beautiful old world sound. Tremolo harmonicas are diatonic models constructed with double holes, each containing two reeds tuned to the same note. Each reed is tuned slightly higher than the other and when played together, this slight difference in tuning creates a beautiful vibrato or tremolo sound. Many different kinds of gospel and old world music sound wonderful using tremolo style harmonicas. This one just makes them sound that much better. Includes clear plastic box.... Read more
3 Keys availableThe Tombo Band 24 Tremolo is the longer length Band series harmonica by Japanese manufacturer Tombo (the choice manufacturer for the Lee Oskar series) that has double air channels containing 48 reeds set in a plastic comb, which adds extra range to this bright sounding tremolo model. 48 reeds 24 tones Plastic comb Stainless steel cover plates Tremolo tuning Keys: C, A & E ... Read more
Out of stockThe Hohner Big Valley 48 is a tremolo model for beginners which is simple to use with good response. Well formed cover plate design for easy handling and sturdy construction combined with modern materials such as stainless steel cover plates. Well suited for cowboy songs. Comb: ABS, black Number of holes: 48 Reeds: 48 brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: Stainless steel Mouthpiece Surface: ABS Length: 18 cm Comes in a plastic snap case Keys: C major, D major. ... Read more
Out of stockThe Hohner Echo 32 is part of an ever-popular tremolo harmonicas range that sound really great for traditional folk music and evergreens. . Their stylish cover embossing and attractive designs exude an irresistible touch of nostalgia which is an invitation to dream away while you play. • 32 brass reeds • Maple wood comb • 0.9 mm brass reed plates • Stainless steel covers • Available in Key: C & G • Made in Germany Hohner Echo 32 Harmonica Tuning Chart... Read more
Out of stockHohner Kreuzwender Six Sided Tremolo - If you really want to go the whole hog, you sometimes need a little bit more. Our Sextuple Kreuzwender, the world’s largest tremolo harmonica, comprises a set of six instruments in all the most popular keys, held together like a paddlewheel by six-pointed star shaped spindle grips at the ends, so the player can rotate the entire instrument to switch keys, while holding it in both hands. Whether you play in a harmonica ensemble or on your own, with this amazing HOHNER exclusive you can almost feel the cool mountain water flowing around your toes. Great for all traditional folk music styles. ... Read more
Out of stockThe Tombo Band 21 Tremolo harmonica is part of the Band series by Japanese manufacturer Tombo (the choice manufacturer for the Lee Oskar series). It has extremely precise tuning, is fitted with 42 reeds and 21 tones, a strong plastic comb and strong metal sheets. 42 reeds 21 tones Plastic comb Stainless steel cover plates Tremolo tuning Comes in a plastic case Keys: C, A, D Flat ... Read more
The term 'tremolo' refers to a periodic change in volume, which is achieved on other instruments by rapid playing of the same note, whereas on tremolo harmonicas, this effect is made by the 'beating' of the note. Interestingly, the tremolo unit, which features on some electric guitars, such as the Fender Stratocaster, is a misnomer - it creates a vibrato effect (a periodic change in pitch) rather than a tremolo effect.
What are Tremolo Harmonicas Used For?
These so called 2-voice instruments are ideally suitable for traditional folk music, but can find uses in a wide variety of musical styles. They are generally not used in blues or jazz, though, as the note layout and reed setup makes them unsuitable for significant amounts of note bending - something that is key to harp playing in these genres.
Sizes of Tremolo Harmonica
This type of harmonica is available in a wide range of sizes, from 10 to 24 double holes, giving a variety of ranges. Like octave harmonicas, the 24 hole versions tend to be the most popular, as they provide sufficient range to play a wider variety of music, although the slightly smaller 21 hole standard has become more prevalent in recent years.
What is the Note Layout of Tremolo Harmonicas?Like octave harmonicas, tremolos are typically tuned to the Wiener system or solo tuning. The former is similar to Richter tuning on the 10 hole diatonic, albeit with a greater range, whilst the latter is the same as most chromatic harmonicas (minus the ability to play the sharpened or flattened notes).
History of the Tremolo Harmonica
The tremolo harmonica is significantly older than octave and chromatic varieties. As ever, its origins are less than 100% clear, but most evidence points to the Wilhelm Thie Company of Vienna being one of the earliest producers of the tremolo harp, with several Civil War era instruments still being extant. The company was also responsible for the Wiener (Viennese) tuning system for the tremolo harmonica, which is still popular to this day.Unfortunately, like many harmonica manufacturers from this era (with the notable exception of Seydel and Hohner) they are no longer in existence.
Much like octave harmonicas, tremolos did not find a major place within modern pop, rock or blues genres, so did not experience the same explosion in sales as their 10 hole diatonic cousins. However, they have become extremely popular in Asian and eastern music, where they are often used in classical ensembles. This partly explains the relatively wide range of models produced by Japanese manufacturers, such as Tombo and Suzuki, especially when compared with the much less ubiquitous, but ostensibly similar octave harmonicas.
What are the Best Tremolo Harmonicas?
Unlike octave harmonicas, where many manufacturers, such as Hohner, have slimmed down their ranges in recent years, tremolos are still widely available in a large variety of types and sizes, from 24 holes down to 10 holes.
Japanese manufacturers, such as Tombo and Suzuki, are particularly prominent in the production of tremolos, with the latter manufacturing what many players consider to be the best bang for buck tremolo harmonica available - the Suzuki Baritone BR21,which is universally praised for its rich tone, ease of playing and accurate tuning.
However, there are some stellar performers from Seydel and Hohner, such as the Seydel Sailor Steel and Hohner Echo 48 Tremolo, which are worth considering too.
What is the Best Tremolo Harmonica for a Beginner?
The popularity of tremolo harmonicas in Asian music mean that there is a wide variety of instruments available, even at relatively low price points. Both Hohner and Suzuki feature inexpensive Chinese made models in their tremolo lineups, and these make perfect instruments for beginners or those on a tight budget. The two Hohner models - the Big Valley 48 and the Ocean Star 48 - are visually similar, with plastic combs and stainless steel cover plates, but feature different tunings: the Ocean Star is solo tuned, much like a chromatic but without the additional notes from the second set of reed plates, whilst the Big Valley is Richter tuned, which is more like a traditional 10 hole blues harp. The latter will be more familiar to those coming from a blues harp background, whilst the latter will be more intuitive for those who are entirely new to the harmonica.
Beginners who are willing to invest a bit more money in their instrument will find that Tombo's range of Japanese made tremolo harmonicas offer exceptionally rich tone and excellent playability. They also tend to have greater longevity than the less expensive Chinese made harmonicas, which goes some way to offsetting their higher initial cost.
Can I Play Blues on a Tremolo Harmonica?
As with all things in music, rules are meant to be broken, and whilst tremolo harmonicas are not naturally suited to the blues, some players have found ways round their inherent limitations. However, note bending, which is used to access the most important notes in the blues scale (ie those that differentiate it from simple major and minor scales) is much more difficult to achieve accurately on the tremolo harmonicas, and in some of the main tunings the note layout doesn't lend itself to playing blues notes easily and rapidly. In short, it can be done but it is not the ideal instrument for the task.
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