Author Topic: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread  (Read 38894 times)

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Offline Keith

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The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« on: November 30, 2018, 04:58:46 AM »
It's just been brought to my attention that there isn't a Tremolo Fan Club thread - until now.  ;D

So all you players of these intriguing instruments can post about them here.
(We can include all double reed harmonicas.)

I own two Seydel Fanfare-S, one in C, the other in D, plus a Tombo Band 21 in G, & two Suzuki SU21 in C, & A.

I find them good for slow tunes & Folk music.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 05:01:21 AM by Keith »

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2018, 10:44:12 PM »
I play tremolo harps more than any other type. Tuesday evening I will be playing an hour of Christmas music at a local light display, mostly on tremolo harps. My fifth year there. My Youtube channel is mostly tremolo harp.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWkxL5IsiA6wpb-9hTP5NfQ/videos
Here is a Christmas concert I played in several years ago, mostly on tremolo. The acoustics in the old church building were great. I have better arrangements now and also I have some Richter tremolo harps for better chording on some of these tunes.


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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2018, 11:20:24 PM »
Hi ,

I made a mistake and regret wasting my money in buying a very very cheap ( $4) tremolo harp in a nearby local store. I considered it worse than a Toy harp. I was just curious that time on how it will sound compare to a diatonic and chromatic harp. ( Curiosity killed the cat )  :) :)   

Offline Keith

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2018, 04:35:55 AM »
@beads
Nice playing. :)

Offline streetlegal

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2018, 06:52:33 AM »
I see that Swan and Easttop also make tremolos. Also I have read that the chinese models have a 'drier' tuning (less difference between the pitch of the pair or reeds) than the big brands. So has anyone here tried out a Swan or an Easttop and how do they compare. A big consideration would be the tuning and how well they stay in tune, because I certainly wouldn't like to have to retune all those little reeds. 

Offline John Broecker

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2018, 10:02:00 AM »
Tremolo harps are the favorites, world-wide.

The accepted belief today, is that tremolo harps
were introduced by the Wilhelm Thie harmonica
company, of Vienna, Austria, circa mid 1850s.
They used the Richter system reed placement.

Today's tremolo harps are made in 3 different
reed placements: Richter; Asian; and solo system.

Most harmonica companies make tremolo harps.

The Asian companies (Tombo, Suzuki, Easttop;
Golden Cup, Mihwa, etc) are set in the Asian
reed placement system. The tremolo effect is
described for comparison as a "dry" tremolo effect.

The European and American companies (Hohner, Seydel,
Hering, etc.) are set in the "Vienna system" (Richter).
Their tremolo effect is described as the "wet"sound.

The dry effect is factory-produced with a closer
pitch between the two vertically-paired reeds.

The "wet" tremolo effect is factory-produced with
a greater distance in pitch between the two vertically-
paired reeds.

In tremolo harps, both vertically-paired reeds are the same
pitch, but one of the two reeds is slightly de-tuned,to provide
the wavy-tone (tremolo) effect when the 2 paired reeds are
played together. 

There is a Hohner employee who has designed a harmonica
tuner which may be used for single reed per note harmonicas,
and double reed per note harmonicas. It's provided as a FREE
tuner on-line; and for a fee with the tuner also available off-line:

www.dirksprojects.nl

Best Regards

John Broecker
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 10:11:58 AM by John Broecker »
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Offline Keith

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2018, 11:03:26 AM »
Shame it's only available for Microsoft - not available for Linux or BSD. :(

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2018, 08:33:26 PM »
Keith, thanks.  :)

 I have tuned most of my 11 tremolo harps. Mostly just small adjustments to the tremolo speed on a couple notes per harp. But one harp did get a complete retune from very dry to medium. I tune the top row just like any other harp. I use the Boss Tuner app on a smart phone (Motorola). The bottom row I tune by ear by playing normally and listening to the tremolo speed of the different notes. Pat Missin has a good article on tuning a tremolo:
https://patmissin.com/tunings/tun10.html
A well tuned tremolo sounds nice. A poorly tuned tremolo sounds horrible. Before you tune a tremolo spend some time learning to play it. The problem may be you. I have a video (actually still pictures) describing how I go about tuning a tremolo.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr8azN7D1ps

Dry tremolo needs more precise tuning than does wet tremolo. Wet is more forgiving when moving from note to note. Embrouchure can effect tremolo speed. (If you don't get the same amount of air into each hole of a reed pair or if you choke the air going to one reed in the pair and therefor flatten that reed a bit. This can actually be used during a performance if you notice your tremolo speed on a note is not what you want. Push the harp up a bit against your top lip to pinch air flow to the top reed to flatten it and speed up the tremolo. Or pull the harp down a bit against your bottom lip to pinch the air flow to the bottom reed to flatten it a bit and slow down the tremolo.)

Years ago the following information was posted by Rick Epping (retired from Hohner) on how to tune an Echo harp. He also shows how to adjust the fomula for a drier tremolo. I have never used this formula, but I have no doubt that Rick Epping knows what he is talking about.

This will give you Hohner's Echo tremolo tuning:

Tune the lower pitched reed set to whatever absolute pitch and temperament
the instrument is given (e.g. A-440 and Just Intonation).

Tune Middle C on the higher pitched, or tremolo row 22-1/3 cents sharp of
Middle C on the lower pitched, or concert row.  For every semitone increase
in pitch, decrease the amount of tremolo tuning by 1/3 cent.  So C# above
Middle C on the tremolo row should be 22 cents sharp, D above Middle C
should be 21-2/3 cents sharp, C above Middle C should be 18-1/3 cents
sharp, etc.  Similarly, increase the amount of tremolo tuning by 1/3 cent
for every semitone below Middle C.  So B below Middle C on the tremolo row
should be 22-2/3 cents sharp, G below Middle C should be 24 cents sharp,
etc.  Middle C is not actually found on a 54 C/G, but, for reference, is
the note in Hole 1 blow of both an 1896 Marine Band C and a 270 Super
Chromonica C.

It will be easiest if you first make a chart in cents of the concert row,
accounting for its absolute pitch and temperament.  Then from this you can
compute and chart the tremolo row's values in cents.

The only tremolo tunings I know of where a tremolo row is pitched below
concert, are found in 3-voice tremolo tunings like those used in
musette-tuned accordions.  In this case, the middle-pitched row is tuned to
concert and the lower pitched row is tuned flat of concert, but not as flat
as the higher pitched row is tuned sharp.  For example, the upper tremolo
Middle C might be tuned 27-2/3 cents sharp and the lower tremolo Middle C
might be 21-1/4 cents flat.  So, instead of the simple, single tremolo
sound of a 2-voice tremolo like on your Echo, one gets a combination of
three tremolo sounds at the same time: the concert reed beating against the
high tremolo reed, the concert against the low tremolo reed, and the low
tremolo reed against the high tremolo reed.  This is what gives true
musette tuning its full, "wet" sound.

Reduced tremolo tunings are popular among many genres of harmonica and
accordion players.  It's easy enough to develop a custom tremolo tuning:

First, tune the lowest note on the tremolo row to the speed of tremolo
(beats per second) you desire, then tune the highest note to the speed you
desire for it.

Then measure the number of cents sharp of the concert reeds for each of
these two tremolo reeds, and subtract the amount of the higher tremolo from
that of the lower tremolo.

Finally, divide the difference between the highest and lowest tremolo reeds
by the number of semitones separating them and decrease the amount of
tremolo tuning for each semitone above the lowest note, as with the
standard Echo tuning described above.  For example, on the Echo tuning, G
below Middle C is 24 cents sharp and G three octaves up is 12 cents sharp.
 The difference, 12 cents, is divided by the number of semitones between
the two notes, which is 36, giving a value of 1/3 cent.  This is the value
that is added to each semitone on the way up.

Best regards,
Rick

subi21

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2018, 11:56:52 AM »
Just found this thread, lot of useful info here. I collect vintage tremolos, and I’m just about to restore/retune some of them during the holidays, will look back here for sure🙂

Offline Crawforde

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2018, 12:44:53 PM »
Yep.
Great thread. I really like the sound of tremolo harmonicas.
Check out the Suzuki Humming Mate.  It’s a “13” hole tremolo about the size of a regular diabolical harmonica. I wish it came in keys other than C and Am though.

Offline Gene Oh

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2018, 11:12:30 PM »
I see that Swan and Easttop also make tremolos. Also I have read that the Chinese models have a 'drier' tuning (less difference between the pitch of the pair or reeds) than the big brands. So has anyone here tried out a Swan or an Easttop and how do they compare. A big consideration would be the tuning and how well they stay in tune, because I certainly wouldn't like to have to retune all those little reeds.

My personal experience of both Swan and Easttop Tremolos:
I have purchased both Swan and Easttop tremolos (Asian) from Aliexpress- a set of 12 Swan harmonicas and a set of 12 Easttop harmonicas. The price was US$100 for the Swan set and US$170 for the Easttop set. Both are good in quality not only in tune but also in durability. I like the Easttop much better due to better quality. The Easttop harmonicas do not need as much breath as those of Swan. The Swan harmonica keys are E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D# while those of Easttop are: D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#.  The Easttop set has a beautiful carry bag in which you can put 12 harmonicas in the order of the key. The Swan has an individual box for each harmonica.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 11:22:56 PM by Gene Oh »

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2018, 06:20:57 PM »
Here are some general thoughts on the tremolo harps I have.
Suzuki Humming: Have 5 keys. Very nice harps. Are either ET or close to it. Dry tremolo rate. Great for single note playing. 21 notes, missing the seventh in the high octave.
Seydel Sailor: Have 3 keys. Very nice harps. Richter tuned. Set up for smooth chords. Maybe just intonation or a compromise tuning that leans that way. Great for playing melody plus chords. Missing notes in the low octave (chords instead). 24 notes. Slightly wet tremolo rate. OK for playing single note melody but these really seem to like the old time chord plus melody style.
Seydel Skydiver: Have just one. Very nice harp. Notes are arranged just like the Asian harps like Suzuki. 24 notes. Compromise tuning for sweeter chords but single notes still sound great. The thirds of the tonic chord (blow anywhere) are a bit flat for nicer chords but do not sound out of tune when playing a scale or melody. Medium tremolo speed. No missing notes from the major scale. Good all around harp. I intend to get some more keys of this one.
Hohner Echo Harp. Have one. Wood comb and nails. Wet tremolo. Very sweet chords. Probably just intonation. Some notes noticably flat to make chords nicer. Richter tuned so notes are missing in the low octave.
Here are some general thought on the tremolo harp:
Great for playing solo harp in the chord plus melody style. Great for Old Time and Folk and Hymns and Gospel and Celtic music and waltzes. Not the best choice for pop or rock or classical or jazz.

Offline smojoe

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2018, 09:01:17 PM »
Hey there Beads.
Your messages are quite educational. I have been watching you. Remind me not to mess with you. Because you know what's what. Good job.

smo-joe

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2018, 06:17:20 PM »
Hey there Beads.
Your messages are quite educational. I have been watching you. Remind me not to mess with you. Because you know what's what. Good job.

smo-joe
Thanks Joe. Mess with me all you want. When you get to be my age one should have developed a think skin, a sense of humor, and lost all illusions of grandeur. Back in 02 or 03 when I joined SlideMeister you and Grizz and Age (and a few others) took the time to answer a lot of my dumb questions. I am grateful for all I have learned from this forum.

Offline J.R.

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2018, 06:21:38 PM »
My first harmonica was a tremolo, a Gold Cup. It was cheap, and it looks cheap, but it makes a beautiful sound. In fact, I like its sound more than the sound of my first chromatic harmonica (also chinese, a Tower). For many years, they were my only harmonicas. As I liked better the sound of the tremolo, I used it more, and reserved the chromatic for songs with flats or sharps.

My tremolo Gold Cup is solo-tuned. ¿Is this the rule or the exception?

Offline J.R.

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2018, 06:37:44 PM »
Has anybody tried a Hohner Seductora? What can you tell me about it?

I love the name, it can be translated as "Temptress" in English!

Offline Keith

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2018, 06:14:32 AM »
From my limited experience, most tremolos are Asian Solo tuned, but some are Richter tuned - & then there are the Seydel Fanfare-S which are chromatic solo tuned.

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2018, 10:38:39 AM »
Has anybody tried a Hohner Seductora? What can you tell me about it?

I love the name, it can be translated as "Temptress" in English!
Both Hohner and Hering have made a harp called the Seductora. Both are octave harps. That means the two reeds in a pair are tuned an octave apart. Both the Hohner and Hering Seductoras have wooden combs and are held together with small nails.

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2018, 11:04:05 AM »
Asian tuned (full major scale but without key notes doubled): Suzuki, Swan, Tombo, Eastop, Hohner Echo Celeste (but not the plan Echo Harp), Seydel Skydiver, and most Chinese tremolo harps.
Solo tuned: Seydel Fanfare, Suzuki SCT-128, Huang Musette (older version, don't know if they make a newer one), old version of the Seydel Sailor with brass reeds (the new version of the Sailor has steel reeds and is Richter), Hohner Soloist (discontinuted and very hard to find).
Richter tuned: Hohner Echo Harp, Hohner Golden Melody Tremolo, most other models of Hohner tremolo with wooden combs, all the Hering tremolo harps that I know of (but I don't know much about Hering so there may be exceptions), Seydel Sailor steel reed.

Seydel used to make a model called the Mountain Harp and it seems to have come in various configurations depending on the number of notes and if it was double sided or not. Some dealers still have some in stock.


terryg

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2018, 04:37:35 PM »
John Blocker, inspired me to purchase a Seydel Mountain Harp, around 5 to 6 years ago.  One of my best buys ever.

It's loud and forgiving.  John said that a musician friend told him; "You just put your mouth on it and blow and draw away."  He was right.

I am guessing sales didn't support this wonderful double sided tremolo.

Thanks again, John.

Offline J.R.

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2018, 06:08:27 PM »
Has anybody tried a Hohner Seductora? What can you tell me about it?

I love the name, it can be translated as "Temptress" in English!
Both Hohner and Hering have made a harp called the Seductora. Both are octave harps. That means the two reeds in a pair are tuned an octave apart. Both the Hohner and Hering Seductoras have wooden combs and are held together with small nails.

I didn't know about the Hering, thanks for the information.

Offline John Broecker

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2019, 06:11:16 AM »
Hello, TerryG.

I'm glad that you like your Seydel Mountain Harp.

I still use my SMH regularly. It has all the features that
I prefer: plastic comb, solo system, 3 complete octaves
each side (a 2-sided harp), keys of C and G.

The Mountain Harp is discontinued, as far as I know.
I have the 96-reed model.

It has 2 things that I don't like: a thin cardboard box;
and, one of the cover screws has stripped the threads
inside the cover screw's comb hole.

Happy New Year

John Broecker
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 06:16:14 AM by John Broecker »
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terryg

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2019, 07:04:36 AM »
John Broecker
Happy New Year, back at you.

My all time favorite song to play with 5he SMH is:
"Boil Them Cabbage Down. "  Old folks love this song.   Because of its huge size, I struggle sometimes to keep it in my neck harp holder.

Yep, Seydel quit manufacturing the Mountain double sided harp, shortly after I bought mine. 

Offline HUGO

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2019, 06:09:19 PM »

Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2018, 04:37:35 PM »
Quote
John Blocker, inspired me to purchase a Seydel Mountain Harp, around 5 to 6 years ago.  One of my best buys ever.

It's loud and forgiving.  John said that a musician friend told him; "You just put your mouth on it and blow and draw away."  He was right.

I am guessing sales didn't support this wonderful double sided tremolo.

Thanks again, John.



SMH
 I concur with you John on your positive review of the SMH especially about the forgiving part. I find it's my "go-to" harmonica when performing on a neck rack with guitar for just that reason.

 It's also my first choice for a folk singalong I regularly lead for the reason mentioned as well as the fact that my material varies from the keys of: C, G, Am. With the SMH I only need to flip it around to cover those keys and more.

 Sadly, Seydel confirmed to me that indeed, the SMH is POP (permanently out of production)


TUNINGS
I found out the hard way (you blow it, you buy it!) that I'm only comfortable with Solo tuning. For the sake of their solo tuning as well as their solid reputation and great sound, my tremolos are Seydel brand.


VARIETY

 I sometimes use a tremolo and chromatic in the same song which both my audiences and I find quite interesting.


MY FAVES
Seydel Fanfare Steel:  Great sound, playablility, solo tuned, silky smooth mouth piece, SS reeds should last a long time, familiar Chrom. fit, 3 full octaves. Everything I could ask for in a tremolo.

Suzuki Baritone: Fantastic in every way, I just couldn't adjust to the Asian tuning.

Cheers, Alejo


terryg

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2019, 06:57:43 PM »
Alejo, it made smile to read your favorite harp is the Seydel Fanfare S.  It's also my favorite harmonica.  My top 5 favorites are all Seydels, and Solo tuned. 

But the Fanfare stands tall above the rest.  Love it.
I have a C, but within the next 12 months harps A and G will be mine.  Gotta sell off a few things first.

If you haven't tried the Seydel Orchestra S, you might give it some consideration.   I recently took delivery on a low D.  It's a 10 holer, solo tuned, and I love it.  Really nice.

But the Fanfare S......no comparison with any other harp I have ever played.

Offline Keith

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2019, 05:47:15 AM »
Another Seydel fan here, Fanfare-S in C & in D, set of Orchestra-S, Deluxe Steel Orchestra tuned, & a Deluxe Low C, (plus a few Session Steel Low keys).

Not averse to a Suzuki or two either, SCX-56, a C & an A tremolo. (With a G tremolo from Tombo.)

(Only Hohner I like, is my CX12 tenor though.)

Offline HUGO

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2019, 09:35:11 PM »
Thanks for the tip Terry. Glad to hear you're a Fanfare Steel fan also.

Alejo

Offline HUGO

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2019, 09:36:15 PM »
Oh and you're a fan as well Keith, awesome.

Offline J.R.

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2019, 06:26:12 PM »
I've been trying some Mexican songs lately (specially, "La Cucaracha" and "Las Mañanitas"). Today I played them with the tremolo and they sounded great, like "very Mexican".

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Re: The Tremolo Fan Club Thread
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2019, 08:47:06 PM »
I've been trying some Mexican songs lately (specially, "La Cucaracha" and "Las Mañanitas"). Today I played them with the tremolo and they sounded great, like "very Mexican".
You may find this album interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HufZY4Fcfws