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Which Type of Harmonica?
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1 post
Nov 23, 2020
2:37 PM
Hi everyone,

Since listening to the soundtrack "Hollow" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQMZdR9grFw) I've developed an interest in playing the harmonica (the harmonica part is between 0:16 and 0:49).

I'd like to ask what type of harmonica I'd need to sound like the one in the soundtrack (diatonic or chromatic, 10 holes or more, G or C, etc)?

Many thanks.
6850 posts
Nov 27, 2020
9:00 PM
Sorry, it's taken me a while to get around to listening.
I'd say it's a C Chromatic. First note is an F#, draw 6 with button in.
From my memory of the first phrase it's F# E F# G F# E B
Tabbed, it's like this:
-6< +6 -6< +7 -6< +6 -4

Where - indicates an inhale, + means an exhale and < means a button push

I may not have those notes exactly right, but I hope that can get you started enough that you'll be able to hear where I've gone wrong and find the correct notes.
6851 posts
Nov 27, 2020
9:07 PM
Oh, 12 hole C Chromatic would be fine. I'm no expert on the tonal qualities of various chromatic harps, but if I had to guess I'd say it isn't a Higher. Most popular recommendation I see for first chromatic is the Suzuki SCX48. I don't have one, mainly because I have picked up several bargain priced Hohner models, but I believe the people who recommended the Suzuki
2 posts
Feb 13, 2021
2:07 PM
Sorry for the late reply.

Thank you very much for your response. Much appreciated.
13 posts
Feb 13, 2021
8:39 PM
I bought Suzuki SCX 64 - thinking that perhaps it is nice to have that low octave but I wish I went with 12 hole one. 16 hole harp is large and heavy. And low octave is tricky - extremely air consuming. And really not that useful when playing with a band. In addition I have some serious issues with "chokey" holes 4,5 and 6 on blow. Once you warm up the harp those 3 holes are pretty much gone. Which is rather disappointing because Suzuki seems like reputable company. I already sent it to warranty service but it came back about the same. So between Manji (somewhat lukewarm vibe) and choking SC64 I am not sure what to think about Suzuki anymore. I wanted to buy half valved Promaster but perhaps I should go with Seydel for that.
6904 posts
Feb 25, 2021
1:18 AM
Woland, I can relate to your comments about the 64. I have mainly 12 hole chromatics but bought a Super 64 because I am trying to learn to play blues chromatic and the 64 is really the thing. It was definitely a different experience.
I just realised it had been quite a while since I picked it up. I must get back to it. I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it after a while.
I also relate to the comments about Suzuki, but I really feel I must not give those thoughts power. I have had some unsatisfactory experiences with Suzuki products and some other merely acceptable experiences. I am yet to play a Suzuki harp and come away feeling it was great. However, I am aware that I've had relatively few opportunities, and most were some time ago. My playing and understanding has progressed quite a way since I last tried a Suzuki harp.
My Manji was OK. I remember saying that if the Manji was the only harp available I wouldd be able to cope but until then I would rather play something else. I felt it was really just a matter of calibration, not that there was anything wrong with it.
I played some folk master harps and actually for the level those are marketed I thought they were OK. I bought a blues master but it was a D harp and I was probably a bit challenged by the key. I mean, I still find a "good" D harp is a thing to treasure.I play a lot of D harp and while I'm pretty comfortable I know that bending the 3 hole with good intonation is a skill on any harp. I still have that Blues master and I think it actually is not too bad. They are a kind of semi budget model too.
My pro master purchase was a disaster. But again I don't think I really should judge the company on that. Those were 5 harps in unpopular keys which I bought for $25 each but which had been originally priced at over $150 each. 2 of them had Gold covers. They had all originally had gold covers but 3 had been cannabilised for other projects. They were all half valved too.
Some were very early production which didn't even have threaded reedplates.
Suzuki combs have been a weak point at times and these were awful. I don't like aluminium combs anyway.
The really bad stuff though was about the reeds and reed plates and bad work with the valves. Glue in the slots preventing reeds from functioning, badly shaped reeds, really really really heavy handed tuning which had gouged large chunks out of a couple of reeds.
I was mending harps and setting them up for people and felt I should be able to make these play properly but everytime I'd spend a couple or 3 hours on these and give up in frustration feeling id made very little progress. I think a couple of them might be playable in an emergency now but really they are still a source of frustration to me. I can't even sell them on in good faith. Maybe I could sell them to someone who loves the pro master and would like some parts.

I'm sure this is just bad luck though. I think Suzuki are a fine company which makes good quality items and in particular I hear very complimentary things said of their chromatic harps

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