Author Topic: First Harp  (Read 2826 times)

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Chromatachrome

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First Harp
« on: July 04, 2017, 05:07:55 PM »
Hello everyone,

I am a new member of the forum. As I said in my introduction, I played chromatic harp for a bit a number of years ago. I have some background in music theory as I play jazz sax, did lessons, performed etc. At the time I had a 12 hole Chrometta in the key of C.

Is this a good starter harp for someone who gets the basics of music/harmonica but wants to take the instrument more seriously? Or should I be looking to get a new one?

Any advice would be most appreciated.

Online wolfman

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2017, 05:33:22 PM »
Glad that you could join us,welcome to
SlideMeister.

Roman

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2017, 06:06:37 PM »
It has the worlds weirdest mouthpiece, but yeah, that's as good a place to start as any. Of course, if harmonica history and new player probability has anything to do with it, you will be getting another one very soon. (That's the law! ;D)

Carl SC270

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2017, 06:53:12 PM »
Hi Chroma, if you are talking about your old Chrometta, I would say it's ok if working but probably should be cleaned and tuning checked. If talking about getting a new instrument, don't buy valveless because it really affects your playing. If planning on buying a 270 wood comb type be prepared to learn about how to service them, requires mostly knowhow and some simple tools. If you plan on sticking with it buy a good harmonica, they can always be serviced. Search this site and also ask Google your questions because there's a lot of info on maintenance. Truthfully a real harmonica player [addict] just has to try every brand out there just to see if it's the right sound for him/her, it's the only way to stop that gnawing that we have. If there's a harmonica club in your area, pay them a visit.

Chromatachrome

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 08:40:32 PM »
Hi Chroma, if you are talking about your old Chrometta, I would say it's ok if working but probably should be cleaned and tuning checked. If talking about getting a new instrument, don't buy valveless because it really affects your playing. If planning on buying a 270 wood comb type be prepared to learn about how to service them, requires mostly knowhow and some simple tools. If you plan on sticking with it buy a good harmonica, they can always be serviced. Search this site and also ask Google your questions because there's a lot of info on maintenance. Truthfully a real harmonica player [addict] just has to try every brand out there just to see if it's the right sound for him/her, it's the only way to stop that gnawing that we have. If there's a harmonica club in your area, pay them a visit.

The old Chrometta is not playing well anymore. So a new one it is.

What would be your recommendation for a good valve one? And is there any real reason to go 12 holes as opposed to 16?

Sorry for all the questions.

Offline Grizzly

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2017, 09:38:18 PM »
My first modern harmonica (I too had an old Chrometta, but it still plays) was a 16, on the assumption that it would suit all my needs. More than a dozen harmonicas since then… ;)

a 12 hole make a lot of sense to start out with, because they can be had relatively cheap. I favor the Hohner Discovery 48 as the successor to the Chrometta as a starter harmonica. Mine is a little leaky, but very playable. I don't have any experience with Swans or Easttops, but certain models of these are inexpensive and decent, according to others' reports.

If you can afford one, a Hohner CX 12 is a sturdy harmonica and easy to maintain.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Carl SC270

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2017, 10:59:22 PM »
Well Chromma you will get a lot of different opinions for all kind of reasons and these are mine. Since I use my hands a lot as part of my playing technique I use a 3 octave harmonica, the Hohner 270 in C and I like the sound that I can get out of it over the other brands that I have. I don't like really bright harmonicas, to me they can often sound tinny but a lot has to do with your playing style, pucker or tongue block. Also I prefer the 270 mouthpiece and don't like CX 12 shape or most of the big round mouthpieces of 16 hole Hohner's and Suzuki. If you want to play jazz you'll find that most of the top jazz players use the 270 type, maybe because Toots played a 270 MellowTone. The 270 Deluxe is a little brighter but has screws instead of nails so maintenance is easier, it depends how mechanically inclined you are. The reason that I stress maintenance is because if you play a lot and at louder volumes sometimes the reeds have to be tuned more often also if want to perform you will need an extra harmonica, just in case. Some players have a bunch of harmonicas laying around that need service, I'm one of them, easier to buy a new one but eventually they have to get fixed.

Offline jimjams

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2017, 12:44:43 AM »
For almost the same price as a Chrometta you can pick up an Easttop 12 holer. It plays well, is in tune out of the box, has a wonderful tone, and is a professional level instrument.

Our own Danny G is a reliable dealer of this harp on his website, newharmonica.com
James
Musical artistry comes via a relentless pursuit of beauty.

Offline Keith

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2017, 02:42:36 AM »
In my 7 months of learning to play, I have bought basically 3 types of chromatic, brass reed, phospher bronze, & stainless steel. My favourite is stainless steel because it has a mellower sound/tone.

All are good, & I have standard 12 hole, orchestra tuned, (which goes down to the 'G' below middle 'C'), 12 & 14 hole, & then I have a tenor, which starts an octave lower than a standard 12 hole.

I would suggest a standard 12 hole in 'C', unless you know you have a specific need, (& spend around £150~200 on it).

Offline Doug

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 02:11:54 PM »
I'd recommend starting with a 12-hole chromatic. A 16-hole adds an octave below the standard 12-holers. As the notes get lower, the reeds get longer and require some time to figure out how to get a good sound. You don't need that frustration when you're learning to play. Plenty of pros play 12-hole chromatics and prefer them, so the range of notes is not a compromise.

I started on a Hohner CX12 and still really enjoy it. For less money, you can get a Suzuki SCX 48, which is an excellent instrument. I have a couple of SCXs and I've had no maintenance on them other than routine cleaning in 2 years of daily playing. (I'm not gigging this instrument. If I was, I'd want to dial in the tuning, but that's a different issue.) You really can't go wrong with an SCX. 
Every noble work is at first impossible. - Thomas Carlyle

Chromatachrome

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 02:52:51 PM »
Thank you all for the comments! After some research based on your remarks, I have decided to go with the Hohner CX12. Almost universally good things said about it (except for a loud slide). Just ordered it! Thanks again.

Offline Keith

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 03:16:55 PM »
Nice choice, enjoy your journey. :)

Offline Doug

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2017, 03:21:47 PM »
Excellent! The CX12 is a big sound for a chromatic. It won't sound all that big compared to a sax, but for a chromatic, it is. My experience is that it's an easy blowing harmonica too. I have two now and they're great. Also, super easy to clean. Let us know how you like it.

Every noble work is at first impossible. - Thomas Carlyle

culo

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2017, 03:29:46 PM »
easttop 12 holer gold and black. That's the perfect mix of cheap but classy beauty and perfomance.

Offline jimjams

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2017, 03:31:41 PM »
Thank you all for the comments! After some research based on your remarks, I have decided to go with the Hohner CX12. Almost universally good things said about it (except for a loud slide). Just ordered it! Thanks again.

Good choice! You will love it. (I have several and love very one of them.)
James
Musical artistry comes via a relentless pursuit of beauty.

Chromatachrome

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2017, 01:53:22 AM »
I am becoming a true harp player...at least in disposition if not in skill. Had a last minute change of heart as I left Long and McQuade, and decided to opt for the cheaper Suzuki SCX 48. Budgetary reasons. I figure I will have the chance to play the Hohner one eventually. Very happy with the purchase, though. It plays well!

Offline Keith

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2017, 02:45:25 AM »
It's a good choice as well, you'll likely end up with one or two anyway. :)

Offline jimjams

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2017, 07:31:44 PM »
No worries. An equally good choice. SCXs are well made and great out of the box. Right now they are a better deal than new CXs.

In any case more than any difference between the two harps, what anyone needs for their chrome journey is commitment and persistence.
James
Musical artistry comes via a relentless pursuit of beauty.

Offline lurcho

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2017, 10:47:32 PM »
I'm a newbie myself, despite dabbling for forty years, but love my CX12.

But there's a caveat. The convex springed bar that holds the comb and reed-plate assembly tightly in the housing, the very mechanism that makes the CX12 so easy to disassemble, puts great pressure on that housing.

The bar has two prongs at each end that slide into square holes cut into the housing. I don't know how often this causes problems, but it cracked mine in weeks.

Fortunately for me, my dad, now passed away, was very handy, and he fabricated and glued two strengthening panels onto the outside of the housing that have now lasted at least fifteen years. I wouldn't have been able to do it myself.

So be careful.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 10:51:45 PM by lurcho »

Offline lurcho

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2017, 10:50:08 PM »
Error.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 10:52:32 PM by lurcho »

Offline Keith

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2017, 03:56:35 AM »
The over strong spring was dealt with some time ago, so if buying new, no need to worry. :)

(It seems like there are still some pre used ones in the market that might need attention though.)

Offline Doug

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2017, 10:39:51 AM »
I bought a CX12 Jazz a few months ago. The spring was too long. There was literally no way to remove it because it had no room to slide one way or the other. It also had a bum wind saver. I sent it in for warranty repair and the problems were fixed. But that spring issue really surprised me.

Hohner's warranty repair system is a little odd too. You fill out the online form and send in the harmonica without talking to anyone. They don't acknowledge receiving it and one day, a week or two later, it shows up in my mailbox. There's no note about what they did or didn't do. The lack of communication is a little strange, but they did fix it...and I love the CX12 Jazz. 
Every noble work is at first impossible. - Thomas Carlyle

Offline Gene D

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Re: First Harp
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2017, 12:37:16 PM »
I have 6 CX-12's, the first one bought in 1993.  I have never been able to remove the back spring.  Others I have no trouble with.  Repair people I have had it to tell me they have no trouble with it, bur I am unable to move it.

Gene D