Selection

Chromatic

Chrometta 10This is one of the instruments that I play.   It is a chromatic harmonica with all the sharps and flats being obtained by pushing the slide button.  Sizes range from 2 to 4 octaves.  This one covers 2 1/2 octaves commencing at G below middle C and contains all the notes that I need.   I bought a modified one from Brendan Power; later, following his example, I modified my own one (in the photo) by grinding flat the existing square-holed mouthpiece (part of the body) then fitting a nice Hering 10-round-holed mouthpiece by screwing and silicon sealing it to the flat surface.   I also removed the riveted-on Reedplates and tapped them so that they could be screwed on, the 10BA bolts passing through the existing rivet holes.

Diatonic

diatonicThe diatonic harmonica is the small 10-hole instrument often known as a blues harp. Normally it is tuned to the Richter scale which was developed many years ago for chord playing and has missing notes.  It can be used for traditional music and is used exclusively by Donald Black on his latest album Keil Road and by other well-known exponents of Celtic music such as Brendan Power and Steve Shaw.  The latter two retune their harmonicas to allow them to play all notes.  The name for this retuned scale is, amusingly, the Paddy Richter scale.

Tremolo (Hohner Highlander)

Hohner HighlanderA tremolo harmonica like the double-sided Hohner Echo, for each note as a pair of reeds tuned slightly apart give that rich vibrato tone.  Hohner and Donald Black developed the Highlander tremolo harmonica especially for playing (Scottish) highland bagpipe music.  The tones on the A side were rearranged, to the mixolydian scale, but the standard tone sequence left on the D major side, so that many highland bagpipe melodies can be played with ease.  The wood comb is coated with a special dark green lacquer, making it very sturdy and less prone to splitting.  The Highlander harmonica has a stainless steel cover plates, and makes playing of bagpipe tunes easier.  I am told!

To learn more about all aspects of the tremolo just visit Jonathan E Brickman's website The Tremolo, where all is explained.

Octave

Hohner CometSimilarly to the Tremolo harmonica, above, the Octave Tuned harmonica such as the Hohner Comet also has a pair of reeds per note, but instead of being tuned only a little differently the pairs of reeds are tuned exactly one octave apart, which produces a strong and full sound.

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