Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Bought Harmonetta: Now What ?
Bought Harmonetta: Now What ?
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KC69
343 posts
Dec 12, 2013
1:45 PM
I purchased the Hohner Harmonetta on ebay today. Hoping someone has some insight or direction on how the thing plays. I read music enough to be dangerous. Don't know if that helps. I'm starting practice on my Chromatic. Don't know if that helps. Any info appreciated !!!
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And I Thank You !!
KCz
Backwoodz
Bluz
hannes
16 posts
Dec 12, 2013
1:57 PM
There is an instructional book, google "The Hohner Harmonetta Tutor".

regards
Hannes
timeistight
1448 posts
Dec 12, 2013
3:10 PM
Michael Rubin plays Harmonetta and teaches via Skype. I'm sure he could set you off on the right track.
Gnarly
816 posts
Dec 12, 2013
3:20 PM
And Eugene Ivanov (you know him as Jim) does repairs on them--you never know when you might need a friend . . .
KC69
344 posts
Dec 12, 2013
3:47 PM
Cool, Cool, Cool, thanks for the tips !
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And I Thank You !!
KCz
Backwoodz
Bluz
Michael Rubin
840 posts
Dec 12, 2013
5:57 PM
Hey KC, I am a pretty serious harmonetta player. Contact me offlist for lesson info. michaelrubinharmonica@gmail.com

You can check out my website for info and testimonials. There's a harmonetta video on the information page.
KC69
345 posts
Dec 12, 2013
7:24 PM
thanks Michael; I will do that.
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And I Thank You !!
KCz
Backwoodz
Bluz
WinslowYerxa
449 posts
Dec 12, 2013
10:22 PM
Major points about the Harmonetta:

All notes play as both blow and draw.

It has almost a 3 octave range, similar to Low C diatonic.

The buttons form major and minor chords in triangular clusters and you can press a trio of buttons with a single finger. Major chords point toward you, minor chords point away from you.

Buttons in a diagonal line moving left to right coming towards you are in rising fifths, such as D, A, E, B. So you can move up and down this line for chord progressions. Move one button away from I to IV chord. move one button toward yourself for I to V. The root of a major chord will be the left corner of the triangle.

There's much more, but this may give you at least some basic info.
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Winslow
KC69
346 posts
Dec 13, 2013
8:48 AM
Wow! Thanks Winslow: Can't wait to get started !
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And I Thank You !!
KCz
Backwoodz
Bluz
KC69
348 posts
Dec 20, 2013
6:49 PM
Just received the harmonetta. Thanks for the tips. Practicing chords and scales along with my chromatic and keyboard. Gonna need some lessons from Michael, but fun to get started. Played silent night for the first time on the chrome and the harmonnetta in keys of "C" "D" and "E". As Jimi lee says- "Its getting fun now!" Any more help, Info, tips appreciated !
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And I Thank You !!
KCz
Backwoodz
Bluz
didjcripey
672 posts
Dec 21, 2013
3:40 AM
Never heard of em.
Had to do a search, and came up with this.
KC69: just do what this guy is doing.

Looks like half a typewriter and a half harmonica
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Lucky Lester
WinslowYerxa
463 posts
Dec 21, 2013
9:00 AM
Check out the master of jazz Harmonetta, Bob Herndon. Bob played solid rhythm backing, often in a harmonica trio setting, but could also step out playing harmonized solos.


1

2

3

4

But then the harmonetta can also be used for classical music, as demonstrated y this husband and wife duo from Bulgaria:

5
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Winslow

Last Edited by WinslowYerxa on Dec 21, 2013 9:01 AM
barbequebob
2414 posts
Dec 21, 2013
9:09 AM
This was the very first production line harmonica that I know of that used stainless steel reeds. The ability to get some incredible variety of chord voicings often unavailable on chord harmonics is mind boggling.
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
CarlA
413 posts
Dec 21, 2013
10:28 AM
The first thing I would do if I got one of these would be to swap out the cover plates!
WinslowYerxa
464 posts
Dec 21, 2013
11:19 AM
There was at least one small German company that produced diatonic harmonicas with steel reeds in the 1930s. Not sure why Hohner decided to use steel for the Harmonetta. John Infande used to harvest Harmonetta reeds and use them to rebuild 16-hole chromatics.

The Harmonetta can play any chord known to man, although its ability to voice them - space the notes out or cluster them close together - is limited because once you press the key for any particular note, it opens up that note in all octaves. Tongue blocking to de-select notes is a bit tricky because the mouthpiece is convex, with half the notes in an upper row and half in the lower row, with the holes in each row staggered horizontally by about half a hole (each row contains the notes of a whole tone scale).
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Winslow

Last Edited by WinslowYerxa on Dec 21, 2013 11:23 AM
WinslowYerxa
465 posts
Dec 21, 2013
11:25 AM
Swapping ANYTHING on a Harmonetta is a major task (Yeah, I know you're joking). I have a couple of them in pieces right now and will get back to them when I have the time (lots of it!) and patience (ditto).
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Winslow
timeistight
1464 posts
Dec 21, 2013
12:53 PM
"John Infande used to harvest Harmonetta reeds and use them to rebuild 16-hole chromatics."

That seems backwards, considering the rarity of Harmonettas versus the abundance of chromatics.

Last Edited by timeistight on Dec 21, 2013 12:54 PM
WinslowYerxa
466 posts
Dec 21, 2013
9:40 PM
It seems weird to me, too. But at the time (about 20 years ago) maybe there were a lot of Harmonettas floating around that nobody wanted. They didn't ever sell in large numbers despite their flexibility (harder to play than chord harmonicas) and maybe Infande thought he might as well put the reeds to use. I think Dennis Gruenling may have one of these 64s (not positive about this, though).
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Winslow
robbert
257 posts
Dec 22, 2013
9:13 AM
I wonder how the new Suzuki Chord 56 stacks up against a Harmonetta in terms of available chords, playability, and durability. Both instruments are designed to play chords, but how might they compare, and differ?

My guess is the Harmonetta has a greater variety of chords, but is harder to play, and more prone to finicky mechanics than the Chord 56.
Gnarly
839 posts
Dec 22, 2013
9:26 AM
I only played a Harmonetta briefly at SPAH (thanks Steve Watney!), but am becoming familiar with the Chord 56 since I will be demonstrating it at NAMM.
I believe the Chord 56 is much harder to play single notes (since those notes are scattered all over the harp). So all the little voice leading things you can do on a Harmonetta are harder, or impossible.
There are a couple of easy voice leading things you can do on the Chord 56, like raising the 5 on a major chord--just play one hole lower--but going major to minor requires playing a different set of holes (usually two holes down and reversing breath direction).
The Chord 56 is smaller, sexier (Harmonetta looks clunky--doubt if it is a chick magnet) and most importantly, is in production and available for sale new. And it sounds great!
Sorry if I hijacked the thread . . .
I would probably practice the Harmonetta if I worked for Hohner--but they haven't brought it back yet!
I have a thread going on Slidemeister, if anyone who reads this wants more information. Or come see me at NAMM!

Last Edited by Gnarly on Dec 22, 2013 9:28 AM
WinslowYerxa
467 posts
Dec 22, 2013
1:42 PM
The Harmonetta definitely has the edge in flexibility, both for chords and melody. But it takes a lot of work to learn the fingering in addition to putting your mouth in the right places. And the sound of its single notes are not at all pretty - boxy and nasal.

The Chord 56 also has a learning curve and not nearly the flexibility of the Harmonetta. But the Chord 56 has a much nicer tone, and it's both compact and mechanically MUCH simpler. (The standard chord harp has them both beat for simplicity of play.)
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Winslow
KC69
349 posts
Dec 24, 2013
4:34 AM
Thanks for all the input: A very interesting instrument to say the least. it challenges my thinking and at my age that may keep me from "Part-Timers." Seems like practice is the key word. It also challenges me to keep learning the chromatic and practicing the keys. Thanks again, all other teaching info helpful, please keep it comin.
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And I Thank You !!
KCz
Backwoodz
Bluz

Last Edited by KC69 on Dec 24, 2013 4:34 AM
jim
1483 posts
Dec 28, 2013
2:10 AM
This thing is over 60 years old and has dust inside that's close to getting radioactive. I strongly suggest that you clean this thing first. Requires 2 days of disassembling (warning: very complex construction inside).

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Free Harp REPAIR Center
KC69
350 posts
Dec 28, 2013
7:58 AM
Wow: I didn't realize they were that old Jim. I'm just starting to figure the thing out. Seems like a couple buttons won't release as well as others. I heard you repair. What do you suggest, because when I put a wrench on the back fender of my Harley, I'm sure to some how scratch the front fender. (meaning I'm not good with maintenance). Any estimates on cost and down time?
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And I Thank You !!
KCz
Backwoodz
Bluz
Gnarly
847 posts
Dec 28, 2013
9:53 AM
Don't try to work on this thing, it's too complicated.
Jim might be your safest bet.
WinslowYerxa
471 posts
Dec 28, 2013
1:02 PM
Hans Hohner in Trossingen, Germany is the go-to guy for fixing Harmonettas.

By th way, Harmonettas were produced from the early 1950s up to nearly 1980, so it may be only about 35 years old.
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Winslow

Last Edited by WinslowYerxa on Dec 28, 2013 1:05 PM


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