RE [Harp-L] The "newest" Stradivarius of Harmonicas!

fmajor7 fmajor7@xxxxx
Mon May 9 09:26:36 EDT 2016

IMHO the desire and the reasons to create a "better" sounding diatonic harp
or a chromatic harmonica are very different. This had been going on for
many years. Since I am a chromatic player it would be silly for me to make
any comments on the diatonic harmonicas.
Tommy Reilly, the brilliant soloist designed the "Silver Concerto" back in
the '60s. I believe it is still manufactured by Hohner. A couple of sites
are displaying prices as £4339 or ~$10000.
Another version of this Silver harmonica is made in Norway by Georg
Pollestad and used by another famous student of Tommy - Sigmund Groven of
Norway and many others.

Later one of Tommy's very successful and talented students Douglas Tate
(ex-SPAH president) designed another amazing Chromatic "Renaissance"
currently being manufactured by Seydel.
Besides all these amazing harmonicas we had the CBH 2012 and CBH 2016 -
designed by another brilliant Chromatic player Cham ber Huang. Hohner built
them for many years but have now disconinued. Fortunately they still make
the reed plates which keeps the brilliant classical harmonica player Robert
Bonfiglio happy since he still plays exclusively the CBH 2016.
Last but not least - Franz Chmel of Austria an amazingly talented classical
player wasn't happy using Hohner's 64 or any other manufacturers harmonicas
- so he built his own - It is called NC64.
Listen to Franz playing some Paganini at :

Over the years we also had Larry Adler model (Hohner), Toots Mellow Tone
and Hard Bopper from Hohner and of course quite upmarket models from Suzuki
like Gregoire Maret Signature model (~$1000) or Fabulous (~$4800/$5000).

I have no idea if they improve the tone or the performance. All I can say
is that whenever I listen to Toots Thielemans playing a standard Hohner 270
it just blows my mind. So much expression, so much feeling and so smooth.
I have also met and talked to Hendrik Muerkens (US) and Hermine Deurloo(NL)
- two very well-known jazz players and both of them swear by their wooden
bodied Hohner 270.

So, is it the special reed plate or the reeds or the body or the material
etc or is it the person who is playing the instrument which brings it alive.

Gautam Choudhury

On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 5:32 PM, Harping On <harping.onandon at>

> Makes me wonder how many fans of Classical music would be able to tell
> whether or not a Stradivarius was being played in a blind test!
> Btw never mind different combs making any difference to the listener, how
> about detecting what make/model of harp is being played in a blind test.
> I put up some sound samples of 6 different diatonic harps on the list a
> while back as a fun challenge to identify the harps. Unsurprisingly there
> were no takers!
> I thought I could at least tell a Marine Band being played as it seems to
> me to have a very distinctive tone. As a challenge to myself I heard
> someone play on a sound sample and felt sure it was an MB, turns out it was
> a Manji.
> BTW Has anyone listened to the sound samples of the new Chrome on the
> website and does it sound really distinctive and rich in tone to you or is
> it a case of it will feel good playing it?

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