Chromonica Model

What type of harmonica would be best for my 15 year old son?

I would like to get him an intermediate one rather than a beginner one. He has never played a harmonica before but he is somewhat musically talented. It would be one that he might use in Jazz Band in H.S. With his love of music I know he would learn it fast. He is a decent piano , oboe, alto saxophone and marimba player. There are 4 different types of harmonica's and that is my trouble. I do not know which type to get him for his Birthday.

The different types of harmonica are for playing different types of music. The 10-hole diatonic that's most common is ideal for improvising the blues and is the one most commonly heard on pop recordings wailing for effect. If he'd like to be able to play along with that style then a 10-hole diatonic is the way to go. Even a really good "professional" one is under $50. Unlike his other instruments though - you need a set of 12 to play music in all keys.

The tremolo and octave (double reeds) are for playing tunes and melodies and are especially appropriate for huge chunks of world folk music. Not only are these two different types - there are different types of these as well. The German made models (such as Hohner) are tuned to a Richter/Weiner scale whereas the Asian models (such as Suzuki) are solo or scale-tuned. This just adds to your selection issues.

Then there's the chromatic. It's ideally suited for classical and jazz style playing but isn't as hot for wailing some blues. The other types are diatonic which means they are akin to a piano that has no black keys on it. The chromatic though has all of the black and white keys available.

The Richter (and related Weiner) system is ideal for folks who don't know music theory and don't really read music. There's a scale pattern that's intuitive and only includes some of the notes of a scale. The 10-hole diatonic is a good example and it's easy for most non-musicians to learn because of that intuitive scale pattern. It will drive a trained musician nuts though and is why many people who already play an instrument have a terrible time learning harmonica. The usual comment is "there are notes missing!" which is true but it's by design. Without someone who plays harmonica nearby as a guide, most trained wind musicians get frustrated with them and toss it into a drawer.

Scale-tuned and Solo-tuned though is equally frustrating for the non-musicians to learn on and you hear often "chromatic is much harder to learn" - but that is in comparison to the diatonic from the non-musician's view. People who already play an instrument will find that a chromatic (or scale tuned diatonic) is MUCH easier to learn than a Richter system harmonica. It's also more in keeping with the sorts of music (written in western notation) they already play. It's simply "blow, draw, blow, draw, blow, draw, draw, blow and you have do, re, mi, fa.... through the whole harp; throw the lever to raise the pitch a 1/2 step." Wind players "get" that real easy.

All of that explained - I'd suggest something that is scale-tuned or solo-tuned and lean toward a chromatic if it's in the budget.

* Chromatic - Hohner Super Chromonica model 270 in C [ http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/hohner-270-super-chromonica-chromatic-harmonica/584346000814000?src=3WWRWXGB&cagpspn=pla&gclid=CPLsxsDribACFYuc7QodRgkCMg ] Best choice for jazz and classical music.

* Diatonic single reed - Hohner Marine Band model 364s in C [ http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/hohner-marine-band-364-soloist-diatonic-harmonica ] - this is a Marine Band model that's solo tuned so that it has a full scale for the entire range. It's different than a Marine Band 1896 model but will do some of the things a 10-hole does (like bend for blues) and some things a chromatic does (like provide a full major scale for 3 octaves)

* Tremolo - Hohner Echo Celeste in C or G - [ http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/hohner-455-echo-celeste-tremolo-harmonica ] don't let the price fool you, these are awesome solo-tuned tremolo harps. Not as good as a Suzuki Su21H but they aren't $100 either.

* Tremolo - Suzuki Su21H in C [ http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/suzuki-su-21h-humming-tremolo-harmonica ] among the best examples of the Asian style scale-tuned tremolo harps.

* Octave - Hohner Comet 2503/32 in C [ http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/hohner-2503-32-comet-harmonica ] a real classic. The design is pretty cool too. There's a larger model 2504/40 [ http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/hohner-2504-40-comet-harmonica ] that adds some range. Fantastic for playing folk songs but not scale-tuned so plenty of notes are missing in the bottom.

And, if you think he'd like to go standard blues harp style to learn to wail some blues then:

* Hohner Marine Band model 1896 in C [ http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/hohner-1896-marine-band-harmonica ] simply the top selling harmonica in the world for about 100 years and the choice of most professional blues style players for the incredible price of under $40

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HOHNER 64 CHROMONICA 280 C Pro Model HARMONICA Original Case Germany 2
HOHNER 64 CHROMONICA 280 C Pro Model HARMONICA Original Case Germany 2
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Hohner 64 Chromonica Chromatic Octaves Professional Model 280 C
Hohner 64 Chromonica Chromatic Octaves Professional Model 280 C
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THE 64 CHROMONICA 4 CHROMATIC OCTAVES PROFESSIONAL MODEL 280 64 C WITH CASE
THE 64 CHROMONICA 4 CHROMATIC OCTAVES PROFESSIONAL MODEL 280 64 C WITH CASE
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Vintage Hohner C 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octave Professional Model Harmonica
Vintage Hohner C 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octave Professional Model Harmonica
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Vintage Hohner 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Pro Model B 7843
Vintage Hohner 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Pro Model B 7843
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THE SUPER CHROMONICA MODEL 270 C BY M HOHNER  ORIGINAL VINYL STORAGE CASE
THE SUPER CHROMONICA MODEL 270 C BY M HOHNER ORIGINAL VINYL STORAGE CASE
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M Hohner The 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model Key of C USED
M Hohner The 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model Key of C USED
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Hohner 64 Chromonica 280 4 Octaves Professional Model Key C Orig Box 1950s
Hohner 64 Chromonica 280 4 Octaves Professional Model Key C Orig Box 1950s
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Vintage Hohner Chromonica Model 261HarmonicaVery Rare w Working Slide Bar
Vintage Hohner Chromonica Model 261HarmonicaVery Rare w Working Slide Bar
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HOHNER VINTAGE HARMONICA THE 64 CHROMATIC PROFESSIONAL MODEL 4 CHROMATIC OCTAVES
HOHNER VINTAGE HARMONICA THE 64 CHROMATIC PROFESSIONAL MODEL 4 CHROMATIC OCTAVES
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THE SUPER CHROMONICA MODEL 270 C BY M HOHNER  ORIGINAL VINYL STORAGE CASE
THE SUPER CHROMONICA MODEL 270 C BY M HOHNER ORIGINAL VINYL STORAGE CASE
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Vintage Hohner 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model Harmonica
Vintage Hohner 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model Harmonica
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Honer The 64 Chromonica 4 Octaves Pro Model C Vintage
Honer The 64 Chromonica 4 Octaves Pro Model C Vintage
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THE SUPER CHROMONICAMODEL 270 C BY M HOHNER WITH HARD VINYL STORAGE BOX
THE SUPER CHROMONICAMODEL 270 C BY M HOHNER WITH HARD VINYL STORAGE BOX
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Vintage HOHNER 64 CHROMONICA 280 C Model HARMONICA W Case As Is
Vintage HOHNER 64 CHROMONICA 280 C Model HARMONICA W Case As Is
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Vintage MHOHNER HARMONICA 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model
Vintage MHOHNER HARMONICA 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model
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M HOHNER THE 64 CHROMONICA 4 CHROMATIC OCTAVES PROFESSIONAL MODEL USED
M HOHNER THE 64 CHROMONICA 4 CHROMATIC OCTAVES PROFESSIONAL MODEL USED
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Hohner 64 Chromonica 4 Chromonic Octives Professional Model Harmonica In Case VG
Hohner 64 Chromonica 4 Chromonic Octives Professional Model Harmonica In Case VG
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Hohner Chromonica 280 C 64 Chromonica Ovtave Professionsl Model
Hohner Chromonica 280 C 64 Chromonica Ovtave Professionsl Model
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M Hohner The 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model Key of C USED
M Hohner The 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model Key of C USED
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M Hohner Harmonica The 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model
M Hohner Harmonica The 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model
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Vintage PAIR of Hohner 64 Chromonica Model 280 C 4 Octave w Wood Storage Box
Vintage PAIR of Hohner 64 Chromonica Model 280 C 4 Octave w Wood Storage Box
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Vintage Hohner The 64 Chromonica Professional Model Harmonica Please see images
Vintage Hohner The 64 Chromonica Professional Model Harmonica Please see images
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Hohner Chromonica 64 model 280 chromatic harmonica harp
Hohner Chromonica 64 model 280 chromatic harmonica harp
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vintage HOHNER 64 Chromonica HARMONICA Professional Model in Case Minty
vintage HOHNER 64 Chromonica HARMONICA Professional Model in Case Minty
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The MHohner 64 Chromonica 4 chromatic Octaves Proffssional Model
The MHohner 64 Chromonica 4 chromatic Octaves Proffssional Model
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Hohner Harmonica The 64 Chromonica 4 octaves PROFESSIONAL MODEL C w case
Hohner Harmonica The 64 Chromonica 4 octaves PROFESSIONAL MODEL C w case
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Vintage 64 Chromonica Proffessional Model MHoner Germany Harmonica REDUCED
Vintage 64 Chromonica Proffessional Model MHoner Germany Harmonica REDUCED
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MHohner Harmonica The 64 Chromonica Professional Model Vintage or Antique 7 C
MHohner Harmonica The 64 Chromonica Professional Model Vintage or Antique 7 C
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Vintage PAIR of Hohner 64 Chromonica Model 280 C 4 Octave + 260 C
Vintage PAIR of Hohner 64 Chromonica Model 280 C 4 Octave + 260 C
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Hohner 64 280 Chromonica Professional Model Key of C 7204
Hohner 64 280 Chromonica Professional Model Key of C 7204
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Vintage Hohner 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model Harmonica
Vintage Hohner 64 Chromonica 4 Chromatic Octaves Professional Model Harmonica
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