Re: [Harp-L] OK, breaking down and buying a chromatic. Little help???

Hi Mike,

They make chromatics in different keys for lazy players (like me) who only learned about three keys on the dang things and make up for the resty by getting more harps. The patterns needed for various keys on one harp are all different. Great players are equally facile in any key (even Bb) on a single C chromatic. Me? I'm mostly a diatonic guy and can only play in 3 or 4 keys on a single harp, so I own a few different keys. 
I suggest not going too cheap with your first chromo as you tend to get what you pay for. Stay away from the Hohner cheapies (Chromettas) as they are very leaky with noisy buttons. Other Hohner chroms can great, but can also get pricey. Also, you'd likely do better starting with a 3-octave 12-hole job rather than jumping to the 4-octave 16-hole monsters, as they're so big, it's easy to get lost on (for me, anyway). 
The Hohner Chromonica 270 is the classic mid-range chrom with great, dark tone, but I've never dug the relative leakiness and square hole mouth piece that tends to grate my lips. Roughly $140 bucks. The Deluxe Chromonica 270 ($170) is only marginally better (IMO). 
The Hohner CX-12 is a great harp ($175) with a very cool, Darth Vader look. Airtight and very responsive. My issue with this harp is the different sounding tone and the relatively thick mouthpiece. Open wide! 

For the money, you can't beat the Hering Special 48 chromatics. They carry a fairly bright tone, have a comfortable round mouthpiece and are very aritight and are not very expensive, but I'm not sure where you can get them right now. I can't find them at my usual online supply houses. Brazil has been sketchy with supplies.

The Suzuki Chromtix chromatic is getting great reviews right now, and run about $115. This would be a very good bet I'm sure, though I've never played on one myself. Smooth tone, comfortable round-hole mouthpiece.
Also, Seydel makes the Chromatic Deluxe Classic, which is relatively inexpensive (running at about $100). Another good bet from a high-quality manufacturer, cut again, I can't speak from experience here. 
There are many great chroms that are available that run into more money, but these are good bets for starter chroms, IMO. 
Harpin' in Colorado,
--Ken M. 

----- Original Message ----
From: Michael Meehan <mikemeehan2002@xxxxxxxxx>
To: winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx; Harp L Harp L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 5:26:29 PM
Subject: [Harp-L] OK, breaking down and buying a chromatic. Little help???

OK, I can't put it off any longer. Struggling to play certain songs in my band's list with my diatonic harps (we play 20's and 30's jazz/pop/standards stuff. Kind of jug band style) so am going to bite the bullet and try to learn a chromatic. I don't know anything about them, though. I am not a pro, and don't have a billion songs in my repertoire, so what do I really need? Just one? I know they sell them in different keys, but I don't understand why. 
  Also, what would be a decent one to get? I can't afford a REALLY pricey one, but I don't mind dishin' out a little cash to make sure I get one that does not sound like garbage. 

  BTW, you all are a wonderful resource, and I can't thank you enough for the guidance I have received in the past. 
  Regards, Mike

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