I'm the definition of "jack of all trade, master of none". The types I've actually played so far include a variety of diatonics, chromatics and tremolos.
I own one harmonica that I haven't attempted to play: a Suzuki SS-37 Soprano; a 37 hole, blow only harp. Couldn't pass up the deal but I don't want to mess around with it because I'm likely to d more harm than good right now .
I just got that Suzuki SCH-24 chord harmonica that I have to figure out.
I started with a Hohner Special 20 and them bought a Suzuki Bluesmaster and a Seydel Session Steel. A Hohner 270 and CX12 chromatic followed within the year.
This all lead to an unhealthy desire to try as many different types of harps as possible. The discovery of Suzuki deals on amazon.ca lead me to acquire most of Suzuki's diatonic lineup. I now have harps from Hohner, Suzuki, Seydel and Tombo. Although I now own dozens of harps including high end harps like the Suzuki Sirius. Fabulous Diatonic and SCH-24, I've never spent more than $155.00US on a harp.
Following my recent acquisition of the Suzuki Sirius, I vowed to cut back on my harp bargain hunting. And I certainly wanted to avoid anything “weird” that I couldn’t play . Not unexpectedly, I broke my vow. When scanning prices on amazon.ca, I make a mental note of harps moving into bargain territory. That often includes some exotic harps that I have no intention of buying...but I’m aware of the pricing.
Then this thing started giving me a headache. I first noticed it when it was at about a 50% discount...a deal to be sure but I still wasn’t going to spend a few hundred bucks on a harp that I didn’t really understand. And the price kept falling. As these things get cheaper, obviously they get snapped up by other harp buyers and I assumed this one would be gone long before I seriously considered it. And the price kept falling.
Finally, the price got crazy stupid. I mean certifiably crazy stupid...about the same price as a Marine Band Deluxe in Canada! You heard me. This thing was selling for the same as an MB Deluxe or an MB Crossover 10 hole diatonic. Vow or no vow, I wasn’t going to pass on a harp selling at an 85% discount
So I got this Suzuki SCH-24 Chord harmonica. I’m not sure what to do with it. Unlike it’s bigger brother (the SCH-96) this harp includes a bass note next to each chord (which can be seen in some photos I’ll post). That bass note is LOW. Everything sounds good but I don’t know what to do with that sound. I should form a harmonica trio as this is an ensemble harp but I maybe I can get something solo out of it. I think John Broecker owns (or owned) one.
This was sold by and shipped from amazon.ca (not a third party). It came in an exterior packing box with a Suzuki tag. Inside that was a gorgeous, molded, semi-soft case. Inside that case was a variety of paperwork in both Japanese and English plus a Suzuki polishing cloth. Until I learn to play this, it will be a magnificent paperweight
Something new and fancy...
Another great deal lead me to a Suzuki S48S Sirius. Yet again, it's a harp that I wouldn't pay retail for but I got this for less than the normal selling price of a Suzuki SCX...and less than the price of a standard Hohner 270 Chromonica.
As I have come to learn, within my limited playing ability, harmonicas are a lot like cars: money buys fit, finish and comfort but ultimately a decent vehicle will deliver you to your final destination on time. The Sirius is a gorgeous harmonica. It has a silver plated mouthpiece and I must admit that it probably slides through the lips better than any other chromatic I own. The dark, textured chrome covers are beautiful although, oddly, they show fingerprints worse than plain chrome (but they wipe off fine). The windsavers are very efficient and, after a couple of hours of playng, none of them stuck...on the downside, Suzuki's windsavers continue to "rattle" a bit at the low register. The slider is absolutely silent. I thought the SCX slider was quiet but the Sirius slider is even better. There are brass weights installed inside the comb (honestly, I forget Suzuki's reason for this). It feels and looks like a high quality instrument.
All that being said, I can't tell you that it sounds better than any good chromatic...at least, not in my hands. But I continue to believe in the idea that it is fun to own fine equipment if you can afford it. It's fun to own a Sirius. I couldn't afford it at retail and I wouldn't advise anybody of "normal" means to spend $500.00 on a harmonica when a SCX will do the job for a lot less. But don't look a gift horse in the mouth...if fortune dangles a new Sirius under your nose for cheap, grab it
I'm starting with two variants of CABARET for my first C entry.
Since the story is set in pre-war Germany, what better harp than my pre-war Marine Band . For version 2, I was just messing around with a different sound and I used my Suzuki Bluesmaster. Both harps are in C as befits the C challenge.
Well done Richard. I have a conventional 12 hole Swan Chromatic (with valves) and it's a surprisingly good harp. It's a great value.
I wish somebody made a "professional" 10 hole chrom (maybe they do and I just don't know about it). 10 holers all seem to be student-quality valveless harps. I'd like a high end 10 holer.. 10 holes would probably cover 90%+ of all the chrom songs we play. I think the only time I use the 11 hole is when I'm practicing scales. I don't think I've EVER used the 12 hole.