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rooch
Newbie

Jun-2005
1 Posts.
 Where do I start?
Jun-16-05 1:22pm  

I am starting up a Jazz/Blues band soon. My first instrument in the Alto Sax, I'm fairly good at jazz and I'm pretty confident with the Jazz theory.

I love the sound of the harmonica, I'd like to take it up as a second instrument and play it in a few blues numbers. I've been doing some research on tiniternet and I'm having trouble deciding what to go for.

The chromatic looks like the best option for me. I think I'd have trouble pitching the notes if I needed to bend them on a diatonic. With the chromatic I can play any scale I choose, and I'd only need one harmonica.

I'm thinking about getting the Hohner Chromatica and a beginners book to get started.

Can anyone offer any advice on my situation?

Cheers
Chris

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pcguyiv
Busy Friend


May-2005
99 Posts.
 Re: Where do I start?
Jun-16-05 4:38pm  [ re: rooch ]

I have used a chromatic harmonica before, and found that personally I prefer the diatonic. It was worth it to learn to bend notes. I'm still not great at it, but it does expand the possibilities. Even with a chromatic, you are probably going to want to learn to bend notes, because a lot of the "blues" sound is based on how a bent note sounds. Ab (G#) bent from an A (6 draw on a C diatonic) has a "grittier" (more blues like) sound than a reed tuned to Ab (G#) does.

If you do decide to go with a chromatic harp, though, The Hohner Chrometta 12 is a good harp, and one of the more economical ones. I haven't heard of the Chromatica so I can't tell you anything about it. The Chromonica, though (just in case there was some confusion in the name) is a fine instrument, but costs about twice what the Chrometta 12 does ($100+ for the Chromonica vs $50+ for the Chrometta.)

I might also recommend the Hohner Slide Harp. It costs somewhere between the Chrometta 12 and the Chromonica (usually around $75 - $80) but gives you the "best" of both worlds. you have the tuning and blow pattern of a standard diatonic, but you can change the notes by using the slide button like a chromatic.

[ Edited: Jun-16-05 10:47am by pcguyiv ]

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Club Member Frank

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bear
Gladiator


Aug-2004
738 Posts.
 Re: Where do I start?
Jun-16-05 8:39pm  [ re: rooch ]

Hello there Chris, ya got the bear here my friend. I'm no expert on this but I can give you my personal opinion. To start with Hohner and several other harmonica companies have spent untold dollars developing a harmonica that is easy to bend notes on and offer more bendable notes. Ask yourself why would they do that if you can get the same notes on a chromatic? The answer is as Vincent pointed out you may get the same notes but not the same sounds.

There are many professional harmonica players that use a chromatic but when it comes to playing the blues (and some others, like jazz) they turn to the 10 diatonic to get that blues sound.

About the slid harps, yes they are diatonics with a button that allows you to get some of the notes that are not on a diatonic. But it very hard to bend notes on a slid harp. I would stay away from them and go with the chromatic if thats the way you are going.

With all that said I would still recommend getting a few 10 hollers and learn to bend those notes. It seems in this world of "Instant" this and that we have gotten so we want everything right now without working for it. And in most cases its possible, even here with playing the blues. There are ways of getting close to that blues sound, but if you want to do it right so that it sounds good you'll have to do it the hard slow way. On a 10 hole diatonic.

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BillyRay

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