German Harmonica

Harmonica Blues - Could you help me figure it out?

Okay, let's start with the fancy letters on the this thing. On one side it says, ECHO Glockenreine Stimmung | On the other side, it displays the trade mark, M.Hohner. This is a german harmonica, and it was given to my father, by his grandfather, and passed on to me. There are no numbers to help me figure out which holes are what. Anyone have any idea what I should do now?
I have watched some beginner videos, but I would rather be contacted directly, so as to feel less lost.
Ah, also, on one side, in the corner, it has a C, on the other, a G. What might this mean?

What you have is a very expensive Hohner Echo tremolo harmonica. The two sided style is called a "Wender" (pronounced: vender) type. Which model you have depends on how many holes you have on it. This group comes in 64, 80, 96, and 120 reeds models. The model 54/64 (two rows of 16 holes on each side for 64 total holes) is probably the most common.

Glockenreine Stimmung means "bell metal reeds" and since that's in German instead of English was probably intended for sale in Germany. The C and G are the keys of that harp. One side is in C, the other in G - two harmonicas in one package. Those models also come in D/A and F/Bb.

They aren't a "blues harp" and aren't so great for blues harp style playing that you find in online tutorials. These are for playing folk and Alpine ethnic music and they're very good for that. You can't bend one easily (because there are two reeds for every note) and the scale is just a little different from a 10-hole diatonic harmonica. The scale on these is called "Wiener System" ("Vienna System" pronounced: veener and not weener) so the notes are in slightly different place than on a Richter System blues harp. Weiner System harps are usually not numbered - you play by feel of the position relative to the other holes.

As for learning to play it, it's usually not one beginners start on. There's no rule that says you can't start on it but you won't find an awful lot of tutorial or lessons in the English speaking parts of the world for that particular type harmonica. If you happen to speak German (where these are VERY popular), Hohner makes a video and book set for tremolo harp.

The scale of a Weiner harp is very similar to a Richter except that there's not a blow and draw reed in each chamber - they're side-by-side. So that means each pair of holes (horizontally) is equivalent to one hole on a 10-hole. If you think of holes 1-2 as 1, 3-4 as 2, 5-6 as 3... etc. then you can convert most 10-hole harmonica lessons to the Weiner System tremolo. But, that's a lot of work for a beginner.

Be careful with it. That wooden comb is maple and they are easily damaged if you get it wet or drop it.

* http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/hohner-54-64-echo-harmonica is the model 54/64 at Musicians Friend. That's the least expensive of the four sizes these come in.

If you want to learn to play it, stop by your local music store and pick up a cheap 10-hole. Start out with that for a little while and you'll be able to transfer what you learn on it to the Echo Wender. Keep in mind that these are really for playing folk type melodies and not for playing the 3-chord-trick of blues/rock music.

Note too: when you look online for tremolo harmonica lessons, most are written for Asian type tremolos which have a different scale pattern than do the Europeans. The Asian tremolos are more like a chromatic harmonica whereas the European tremolos (what you have) are closer to the blues harp scale pattern. It makes a big difference playing.

Happy harping ♪♫

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