[Harp-L] Chromatic without valves

I cannot speak to sinus conditions, but there are a few options for playing chromatic harmonicas that do not involve using valves.  And doesn't involve attempting to play a diatonic "chromatically".

First, check out this on Pat Missin's website:


These various slideless chromatic designs do in fact work very well.  It can be hard for those who learned on chromatic to adapt in some ways, but people who start on the Tombo S-50 type instruments seem capable of great fluidity in their playing.  Check out these videos for a start:



The Tombo S-50 is fairly inexpensive and now it's not hard to find Japanese retailers who will ship pretty much anywhere.

I find the "horn" type harmonicas Pat mentions with their keyboard like layout not quite as easy in some ways, but they are fun.  Particularly the Suzuki Alto Single, which feels like playing a trumpet in terms of volume and projection (not sure it's really louder, but it feels like it).  

Another option might be the Tombo Unica Formal:


This is a slide chromatic but based off the Asian Single harmonica design, which is derived from the Weiner layout, with each reed occupying it's own cell.  Therefore it doesn't use valves, since there is no other reed to block off.  I think a search of the harp-l archives will give a good description and some reviews.  It is a nice harp, well built and the valveless system works.  Like S-50 you would need to change your diatonic based skills a bit, but if you've ever played a tremolo it's similar in many ways and not hard to learn.

Just a few options I can think of.  Hope this helps.

JR Ross

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