Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

I’m curious, is there an off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica that would be the equivalent of a B/C box, i.e.

Slide released: C row, blowing matching the push on the box

Slide pushed in: B row, blowing matching the push on the box

As I understand it, sounds like I would buy a B pitched chromatic harmonica and reverse the slide, but not clear which brands models this can be easily done on.

Anyone have a specific recommendation for a particular brand and model where this can easily be accomplished. I already play B/C box and not interested in learning a new system.

I think it might be great fun to have something like this for travel.

Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

It wouldn’t work especially well for Irish music because you’d be doing a lot of button-pushing just to get the notes instead of for ornamentation. Harps that are in the keys of most of the tunes are much better. If you’re keen to have the slide reversed, you’d be better off with a harp in F#/G and one in C#/D. Of course, it doesn’t matter if playing in traditional keys isn’t your priority. Now whether you can actually buy harps in those keys, as opposed to ordering them specially, is another matter!

Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

I did this with a seydel chromatic (C#/D though) , they have a configurator which allows you to make exactly what you propose. I’m not really used to chromatics, I used to play blues harps, but did feel like it took a lot of air. I took the deluxe model, perhaps the Saxony would give better results.

It works fine though there is a learning curve. I don’t like the slide for ornamentation anyway.

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Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

Thanks Steve and Boyen! I know it’s not ideal, but I’d rather not learn yet another system. So far the recommendations I received from a friend was to get a Hohner 270 in B and reverse the slide, which sounds quite reasonable.

Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

You’d be able to play the Irish tunes but you’d struggle to play them in the usual keys. That’s all I’m saying!

Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

Thanks for the guidance!

Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

Looking at the note charts for the Hohner 270, it’s close, but not quite the same as a B/C box if reversed. There are repeated root scale tones in the middle of the range, I guess this is the standard setup for chromatics.

Looking at the standard 48-note C tuning on a Hohner 270 from the Hohner website, which if reversed would be essentially a Db/C box, the doubled Cs and Dbs on the blow don’t match up with the push/pull pattern of an equivalent Db/C box. So, the same thing in B would have the same issue, just half a step lower.

Unless I’m missing something, I’d need something custom if I really wanted a B/C chromatic harmonica that matched the box layout.

Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

Throwing my b/c accordion out a taxi window one night was best musical decision I ever made. Although I may have had too much of the good stuff

Switching to a d row was like a cloud lifted. B/c is a conspiracy invented by big wigs to slow down Einsteins such as yourself. Compliments to Mr Eskin

Harmonica in b/c ? I would lose one of me teeth!
Your ipod apps help me when I’m traveling. Best of luck in your search although switching rows for d scale sounds diatonic death.

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Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

Beid, great stuff. I’m actually quite fond of playing the B/C box, but it’s taken a long time to get to that point. After 7 years or so, I’m only in the last few months feeling even barely competent playing it in sessions. The harmonica thing is just something I’ve been thinking about, not sure if I’ll actually follow up. It just seemed interesting to me that there wasn’t already a B/C and C#/D chromatic harmonica matching the box layout, but as my wife so clearly articulated, perhaps the reason is that the market demand for such an instrument would be very limited.

Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

Boyen mentioned the Seydel custom configurator. I also had one made by them to match the layout my C#/D button accordion. I find that I can transfer tunes from accordion to harmonica very easily, although I have a speed limit on both that does not match full session speed for reels. But since my main instrument is a tenor banjo, I can use the harmonica for the slower tunes in sessions.

On a C#/D you do not need the button much - with only one button push for the C natural you can play most tunes. The B/C seems like it would be much tougher and you would have to work to get smooth on all the button and wind direction changes.

One caveat: when I recently checked back on the Seydel site, they no longer have the Configurator listed for the less expensive chromatic with brass reeds (which is what I got) - only the very pricey steel reed chromatic.

Re: Off-the-shelf chromatic harmonica equivalent of a B/C box

I have to take back my caveat - they do have the Configurator for the regular brass Deluxe chromatic. I do not know how I missed it previously. If you are just experimenting, this is the less expensive option.