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Jazz harmonica is most commonly associated with the chromatic version of the harmonica, as the major scale, which most Richter tuned diatonics are tuned to, is inherently limiting for a genre that utilises plenty of chromaticism. However, advanced players who have mastered overblows and large bends, are able to achieve full chromaticism on a diatonic harp; players such as Howard Levy, for instance, have shown that the limitations of a 10 hole diatonic can be overcome with expert technique, really opening up new possibilities for what is a relatively simple instrument.
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 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
Out of stockThis model has now been discontinued, but it has been replaced by the Performance Series Super 64 Chromatic Harmonica The Hohner Chromonica Super 64 has a stable construction and ergonomic design, which make it a benchmark in manufacturing of high quality chromatic harps with a 4 octave range. Stevie Wonder recorded many of his greatest hits on the Super 64. It has a silver plated mouthpiece with round holes. Comb: ABS, black Number of holes: 16 Reeds: 64 brass Reed Plates: 1.05mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: stainless steel Slide Construction: zigzag Mouthpiece Surface: Silver Length: 19.3 cm Comes in a plastic snap box Full 4 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 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
Best Harmonica Jazz
This said, most players who wish to start experimenting with Jazz styles on the harmonica would be best served by a chromatic harp. Chromatics have two sets of reed plates tuned a semitone apart, and feature a button activated slide that directs air to the relevant reed(s). This means that not only is full chromaticism easily available, with no special techniques required, but also that rapid trills can be produced through quick manipulation of the slide. You can hear this in many of Stevie Wonder's harmonica solos, which also feature extensive use of vibrato.
Top choices for jazz harmonica are the Hohner CX12 Black and Jazz, Super 64, the Suzuki SCX range and Seydel's chromatic harmonicas. Players will want to look for at least 12 holes, with 16 being preferable, as they provide greater melodic range.
Best Diatonic Harmonica Jazz
To overcome the limitations of the 10 hole diatonic harp when playing in the jazz genre, players have developed techniques such as overblows, which help to reach notes not otherwise available. Harmonicas that are most suitable for this technique tend to be those that are most airtight; our recommendations would be the Suzuki Manji, Hohner Crossover and the Seydel 1847 range.
How to Play Jazz Harmonica
Jazz is a musical genre that requires a significant investment in time in relation to playing ability and musicality in order to sound good. There's also quite a bit of theory to learn before improvisation is possible, because Jazz rarely sticks to simple major or natural minor scales. A good place to start is learning the 7 modes of the major scale, which is explained in detail at Learn Jazz Standards. Once you have learnt these, experiment with using the notes from them to create melodies and see which chords best fit with specific modes. Of course, this is only a starting point, and whole libraries could be filled with books just focusing on Jazz performance and techniques.
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