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Can someone explain 12-hole chromatic

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Duane C.
Mar 20, 2010 8:39 PM GMT

I don't understand the need for different keys in a 12-hole chromatic. If you got one in the key of C, don't you have all the notes of each full octave that it plays?

Jamm'n for the enjoyment and challenge



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Comments (5)

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Mar 21, 2010 5:46 AM GMT
Tony W Replied:

That is true in theory. If you can successfully play in all 12 positions then you only, in theory need one. But if a certain sound is required for a song then a lower or higher one might be needed. In reality (at least mine) the chromo is typically played in mostly 3rd position or 10th (button in as in Blues in the Dark by George Harmonica Smith). I love putting the big harp out once in while to lay down some 3rd position Blues and or Horn lines.


keep it in your mouth


Mar 21, 2010 6:09 AM GMT
Diggs Replied:

If you want more chords and double stops you would want more one key.

I only use a C chromatic.. Also some classical pieces lay better if you

have a lot of ornamentation. Robert Bonfiglion does this for a few pieces.



Mar 21, 2010 8:11 AM GMT
Andrew T Replied:

Good timing on this discussion. I just posted this as a topic but I'll ask it here too:

I'm up late irresponsibly looking to spend some money on Amazon and I'm seeking your advice about chromatic harmonicas as I am finally ready to break into it. What keydo yourecommend starting out with? What keydo you find most versatile for Blues? Other styles?What key(s) do you have? Which do like best? Any other tips about getting into chromatic playing? Thanks for your time.

Andrew T.



Mar 21, 2010 6:34 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Another thing to remember is that for certan keys, the breath shifts can be a problem as well as the slide itself and it's easier to play in certain keys (especially outside of blues) where the slide is either mainly pressed in or out. Each key has its own special timbre that is frankly quite different. George Harmonica Smith often used C, but he also used Bb, F, and G chromatics as well. On his Tribute To Little Walter LP, he covered Last Night (which is really not the same tune as the LW recording) alternating between a key of D Marine Band played in A and a key of G 12 hole chromatic also played in A.



Mar 25, 2010 1:13 PM GMT
Duane C. Replied:

@ Tony, Diggs, Barbeque Bob, thanks for your input friends. With that info as well as some other I gathered, I believe I understand it now.




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