Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

So far I’ve found them only in the key of C(Huang Cadet Soloist, Hohner 364S Marine Band, Hering Master Solo). Does anyone know if solo tuned in G/D are avaliable, and where ?
(Those of Brendan Power are very expensive. I’m using Lee Oskar melody maker but looking for 3 octave full diatonic version).

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Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

I’m not familiar with this tuning - how’s it work?
Sounds like it might be similar to something I’ve been comtemplating trying, retuning a D special 20 to one or three sharps. It’d take a bit of time with a file, and might compromise the reeds, but it sounds like it could be fun.

I’ve recently been playing around with a 12-hole Chrometta in G, which has some possiblities and is a pretty cheap and available chromatic with a good quick return on the slide. It’s the most promising chromatic I’ve tried for trad. The Peacock’s Feather sounds awesome on it down in the low register.

Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

I was searching for a solo tuned harp and it’s quite difficult to find the actual note layouts - with Richter tuning you get missing notes in the major scale at either end, because they were originally made for simple German folk tunes with oom-pah-pah chords (then those crafty blues men came along and started playing them in the wrong keys and bending notes). By solo tuning I mean a full major scale with no gaps. In the end I bought a Suzuki humming tremelo in D, which wasn’t cheap but it is very loud, beautifully presented and nice to handle. The way you run through the scale is slightly different to Hohner but you soon get used to it. You are limited to the notes in the major scale, but slight note bends are a possibility (so that for example you can flatten the c sharp for some tunes. Here’s the UK link (I bought by telephone):
http://www.suzukimusic.co.uk/

The other make to check out is Tombo who make the Lee Oscar harps - there are some nice tempting things on this site:
http://www.tombo-m.co.jp/eng/

Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

Hohner’s Golden Melody line are tuned in equal temperment. Hubby played them for a while, but they gave him nasty nickle allergy.

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Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

I bought Brendan Power’s book/CD/two-Suzuki-Harp set, and I’ve been very very pleased with it.

It helps that the concertina has trashed my judgement on where "expensive" start, your mileage may vary.

Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

umm…. you can learn to play a full chromatic scale on a normal diatonic: http://www.tenhole.com/ now, i’m not saying that its easy…. or even practical, but its possible

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Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

For the most part, I find that the middle and upper octaves of a richter-tuned harmonica are sufficient for tunes that stay in D major. Most tunes seem to go from the D up to the b, and you’ve got all the major scale notes in that range. Tunes that need the high c are out, but that’s not leaving out too much. It’s exactly the same as the comfortable range of the whistle, although you can of course push the whistle above that.
The A and G harps don’t quite work for the tunes in one or three sharps, because the range is wrong, which is why the idea of retuning a D is tempting.

If anyone wants to try straight D, there’s a dummy user named "harmonica" where I’ve made a list of tunes that I like on the D richter harp. This link should get you there:
http://www.thesession.org/members/3061

If you want a good party piece, there’s a set of polkas for harmonica. Egan’s/The Little Diamond/Glenside/Britches. Rockin’ stuff.

Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

It’s true that solo-tuned single reed diatonics are scarce. Solo-tuned chromatics come in Low C, low D, Eb, E, F, G, A and Bb - but not B, which would give you the same setup as a B/C accordion.

There are true solo-tuned Huang tremolo harps, though some of them are tuned like Knittlinger instruments.

What do I mean by "true" solo-tuned?

If you look at a chromatic, there are two things that stand out:

1) all the notes are available in every octave

2) All the blow and draw notes keep the same relative positions from octave to octave - Blow C is alsways with Draw D, etc.

The Suzuki tremolos have all the notes but the blow-draw relationships shift from octave to octave, which means you have to learn each octave as its own tuning.

The solo-tuned Huangs have that pseky doubled tonic note (C on a C-harp) that ends one octave and begins the next. This allows the notes to preserve exactly the same setup from octave to octave. If you don;t like the doubled note, you can re-tune it to, say, A on a C-harp. This gives you a lot of useful alternate-breath possibilities.

I agree that the middle and upper octaves of a standard richter-tuned diatonic can give you enough to go on. But on high-key harps like D it can get kind of shrill, and you do run the risk of running out of notes at the top end.

The Hohner 364 is available in Low D. This gives you melody notes on the fiddle range and with 12 holes, it gives you more top end than the 10-hole:

Blow D F# A D F# A D F# A D F# A
Draw E A C# E G B C# E G B C# E

The same is true for some of the Hohner Echo extended-range tremolo instruments. Like the chromatics, the keys tend to be low rather than high: Low C, Low D, Low F, G, A, Bb. It is true that the top end of the tuning gets kind of crazy because there are four draw notes to three blow so they get out fo sync - that’s what that doubled C in solo tuning is meant to prevent.

For tuning diagrams for a wide variety of double-reed harmonicas, visit the Coast-to-Coast music website (they sell harmonicas; I have no affiliation).

Their reed layouts are at:

http://coast2coastmusic.com/double_reed/tuning_charts.shtml

Winslow Yerxa

Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM - Suzuki tremolo

Suzuki Humming tremolos are great instruments. However, they do have a much cheaper version that is nearly as good, called the 2-timer that comes in only A and C. The C might not find much use in IRT, but the A certainly will. If I remember correctly, I paid about $US45 for the Humming and maybe $15 or $20 for the 2-timer at Coast to Coast.

Again, with the Suzukis the keys tend to be low rather than high.

Winslow

Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

The Hohner Super Chromonica 48/270 is a solo-tuned chromatic harmonica available in D and G as well as C, E, F, A, Bb, B, and Low C. This is one of Hohner’s least expensive chromatic harmonicas.

The Hohner CX-12 is a solo-tuned chromatic harmonica available in D and G as well as C, E, F, A, Bb, B, Eb, and Low C.

The Hohner Chrometta 12 is a solo-tuned chromatic harmonica available in G, but not D. It is also available in C. C is close enough to D, so that you could probably tune it up to a D. The interesting thing about tuning a C chromatic up to a D is that if you tune the C reed plate up to a D, then the slide will DROP the pitch by a half-step when you use it. This will turn your C# into a C which allows you to treat the harmonica similar to a penny whistle. You can play in G just by flatting that one note.

The Hohner Echo Celeste 455 is a solo-tuned tremolo harmonica that is available in every major key. It’s very inexpensive, and has received good ratings.

The Hohner Tremolo 53 Kreuzwender Replacement harmonica is an extended Richter-tuned tremolo harmonica that is available in D and G as well as C, F, A, and Bb. The extended Richter-tuned layout is a bit odd, but it does give you two complete octaves plus some extra notes on both ends, including the tonic one octave higher.

Seydel offers a configurator to configure most of their diatonic harmonicas to solo tuning, among many other choices such as Paddy Richter. They also have a solo-tuned slide harmonica called the Sampler that looks like a chromatic harmonica, but it actually switches between either C and G or D and A solo-tuned. I’m sure you could special order a D/G model that allows you to switch between two solo-tuned keys and lock the switch in place. The Seydel Sampler actually looks like a very interesting harmonica for playing ITM.

Tombo, the makers of the Lee Oscar harmonicas, make two Tremolo harmonicas in D, but I don’t know if they are solo-tuned and they are difficult to get.

Huang made a Musette Tremolo solo-tuned tremolo harmonica that was available in every key. They are out of business now, but these come up on eBay every once in a while.

Huang made a Cathedral Concert solo-tuned octave harmonica that was available in every key. These also occasionally show up on eBay.

X-Reed Harmonicas makes a ChromaBender which is a slide-less solo-tuned diatonic harmonica that allows you to bend every note. If they made one in D, which is a possibility, you could easily bend the C# to a C to play it in G as well. This is a very new harp that looks like it could potentially be very interesting for ITM.

Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

Also, Swan currently sells the "Swan 24 hole, senior performance harmonica, special-key" in every key. It’s PROBABLY a tremolo harmonica and PROBABLY solo-tuned. I’ll be getting one in "D" to find out.

Re: Solo tuned diatonic harmonica for playing ITM

Also, the Suzuki Humming Tremolo is a solo-tuned tremolo harmonica available in "D" and "G" as well as C, C#, A major and Am, Gm, and Dm minor keys!