Hohner Tremolo

harmonica players can u help me?

i got a harmonica with 40 holes. 20 holes in two rows. how does it differ from diatonic harmonica? where can i find tabs?

You have either a tremolo (two reeds tuned slightly apart to give a waving sound when blown) or an octave (two reeds tuned one octave apart to give a fuller sound) harp. These are my preference for playing but I don't "wail the blues" - I play tunes and old-time music. They are ideal for playing melodic lines from songs and especially old folk tunes and gospel. Not so hot for playing the blues because 1) two reeds are really hard to bend together and 2) many aren't tuned to the same scale as a diatonic.

That's the first main difference - two reeds to a tone. They sound a lot bigger. Personally, I prefer the tremolo and I like a really wet tremolo such as the Hohner Echo Harps - they sound like a French cafe accordion.

The next big difference is that you have a scale with 10 more holes in it than a 10-hole diatonic. That's a lot more than people image because the harmonica scale only needs four holes for all eight notes. A good 20/40 can give you five full octaves to play on. That's an awful lot of range. For comparison - a trumpet has about 2.5 octaves and a flute has 3.

There are several scales that these can be tuned to. One is the Richter scale that a 10-hole diatonic uses. In that case, all of the notes are in the same place as they are on a 10-hole - you just have more. Many of the Hohners and other German harps maintain this pattern.

The there's a modified solo-tuned scale. One problem with Richter tuning is that the bottom isn't a whole scale. It's made for chords to do "the three chord trick" of blues backing. Solo-tuning or Scale Tuning takes care of the problem of some missing notes (because playing melodies doesn't need chords as much as it needs all of the notes) and gives a full scale through the whole range.

There are two ways to know what you have. A person that plays them all the time can just blow it and will know. The manufacturer probably has a web site that will tell you. Some (Suzuki, Seydel, Oskar) even have charts online with what pitch is in each hole. Or, you can play it and match it to a piano and make your own chart. If you have a guitar play handy that knows some theory - blow holes 123 or 456 and have him find that chord and write it down. Then draw 2 3 4 and write that chord down. If 234 draw is V of 123 blow then you're Richter tuned like a 10-hole diatonic. if 234 draw is horrible (because it has a major second in it) then you're solo tuned - especially if 123 draw is a ii chord.

Being a 20/40 implies you have a German model or a copy (Asians are usually 21/42 or 24/48 and solo tuned) so will be either Richter tuned or closely modified such as Vienna. It will blow about the same as a 10-hole and just have a different sort of tone.

Tabs: Any tabs that stay above 4 will work for just about any harp because the real difference in tuning is in the bottom three holes. Otherwise, there are tabs done especially for tremolo harp that will work. Chromatic tabs that don't use the slide will also work on most tremolos. If your harp is Richter tuned (such as are many Hohner tremolos and octaves) then any harp tab for a 10-hole will work.

http://www.harmonicacountry.com/ huge collection of tabs. I've played many of these on a 20/40 Hohner Comet and a 1496 24/48 Hohner Echo just fine. Many don't work with my Suzuki SU21H so might not flow on many 21 or 24 hole Asian types.

I know! Too much information to start out with. Just play some of the tabs you find online and see what works for you. And, if you are really wanting to play the blues - invest in a 10-hole diatonic, it'll be less frustrating and they're cheap compared to tremolos, octaves, and chromatics we tune players prefer.

Happy Harping

Add: found a nice chart - it's mostly about Hohner's though. Tremolo/Octave http://www.grothmusic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online/double_tuning.htm?L+scstore+nrbt9164ff0dba0d+1262095910
10-hole diatonic http://www.grothmusic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online/diatonic_tuning.htm?L+scstore+nrbt9164ff0dba0d+1304583727

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