Welcome to the Harmonica Club. You have many new friends here.
Don't let the other members distract you. If you are satisfied with
U-block playing, keep doing it. It will only improve. It's the easiest
of the 3 basic single note techniques.
I've played with the U-block technique on all harmonicas, including
the chord and bass harps. U-block isn't only for beginners, and won't
slow you down, if you master the technique.
Tongue blocking and the pucker technique are more difficult to learn
for beginners.They have their advantages ove u-block, but U-block
is the easiest of the 3 types, and thebest technique for single-note
playing (at least for me).
Like you, I have trouble playing the tongue block and pucker, mainly
from lack of practice.
For me, the pucker is easiest for playing bends and overblows, even
chord bending. The tongue block offers octave playing (two notes played
together, an octave apart), tongue switching and chord shifting, techniques
not available with the U-block, a strictly single note melody technique.
Bends and overblows are available on any single reed per note harmonica,
with the use of tongue blocking, pucker or u-block.
As a beginner, you should concentrate on 1 of the 3 methods, but practice all
3 methods for the future. Professional harp players use all 3 methods intechangeably,
whichever is easiest to achieve the desired effects.
Sorry, I missed your request for information on the Hohner Echo-Luxe.
I'll get that for you.
There are at least 8 different Hohner Echo-Luxe models. Could you post photos?
Most were made from 1935-'37; some were made for the Chicago Trade
Exposition "Century of Progress" (1933-'34).
Most had beautifully-enameled covers, and one was designed by the Art Deco
artist, John Vassos, for the 1933-34 "Century of Progress".
How many double holes on the mouthpiece? Is it one-or two-sided (2 keys)?
With that information, we'll be able to give an estimated date, to within 5 years.
Hello, Tremolo Friends.
Please forgive the interruption of these great holiday tunes for
For new tremolo harmonica players, here's a link to some
tremolo tunes and techniques:
Happy Holidays, keep those tremolo tunes playing here.
Hello, Drifter, Alison and Eric.
DRIFTER: The Hohner Band harmonicas were made from 1912-circa 1995,
in many different models. If you can, email photos of your Hohner Band,
top metal cover, bottom metal cover, and mouthpiece (player's side).
If you can't send a photo, please describe your Hohner Band octave harp:
how many mouthpiece double holes?
is the harmonica wood body rectangular, or curved?
and, any other information, such as the hands & circles trademark on
the bottom cover:
does it have a star in the center of the circles? how many points on the star?
list the city/year medallions on the bottom cover (city name and year).
ALISON: On your octave harp, why is the lower reed plate of horizontal reeds
higher in pitch than the higher reed plate? I don't know the answer to that, but,
it seems to occur only on my Richter system reed plate harmonicas, not on my
solo system or Asian system reed plate harps.
If that situation is difficult for you, or illogical, you may "flip" (switch) the two reed
covers. See if that works for you. It may pose more negative problems.
Jerry Adler, Cham-Ber Huang, and Sonny Terry are only a few of the world's best
harmonica players who have played with the slide (or highest pitched reeds) on the
left side of the harp. I think that Hohner and Seydel make harmoicas with this "left-
handed" slide button.
Jerry Adler had his slide chromatics custom-made this way, by Hohner. Cham-Ber Huang
was presented with a Hohner Marine Band harp when he was 6, from his grandfather.
The MB harp had incorrectly installed reed plates, with the low notes on the left, high
notes on the right. Cham-Ber taught himself to play that way, and when he started to
play slide chromatics, he had Hohner install the slide button on the right (with the low
Standard slide chromatics have always had the upper reed plate lower in pitch, than the
lower reed plate's reeds, a differenc of a half step (upper plate key of C, lower plate key of C#).
With the slide out it's C, slide in, C#.
Today, some players of slide chromatics, especially in Irish music, flip the slider plate over,
so that the slide out pitches (upper reed plate) are higher in pitch, than the slide in pitches
(lower reed plate). It seems to make Irish music easier to play, or at least, more logical.
Here's a list of websites in Australia, for harmonica players.
They are all different sites, for Mandoharp.
Mandoharp is a highly respected seller of harmonicas,
and a repair facility. Lots of advice on harmonica topics.
I don't know if these websites are still working, but you might
try them, for use in the future. Since Mandoharp is in Australia,
it would make ordering and delivery of harmonicas quicker, and
probably less expensive, than sending your harps overseas for repairs
I'm not an employee of any harmonica maker, distributor,
seller, or harmonica book publisher.
Two books written about the history of harmonicas
& players in Australia, both written by the same author,
both books are highly recommended.:
A Band in a Waistcoat Pocket, by Ray Grieve, Currency Press, Sydney.
If you can only afford to buy one, buy this book. It may be out of print,
but you might find a copy at ebay or Amazon internet book sellers, in the
used books section.
Boomerangs and Crackajacks, by Ray Grieve, Bushlark Music publisher,
a companion CD is available for sale, with historic harmonica solos of Australia.
You may find both books, and the CD, for sale at
Self-incriminated Earl of Sussex,
Sussex, Wisconsin, USA
Hello, Mothat (Helen).
Welcome to the harmonica Club. You have many new friends here.
Here are a few harmonica websites (free) for harmonica information:
www.harpinanawhinin.com (play-along tunes in tablature, no traditional music notation)
Each vertical pair of tremolo harmonica reeds is either exhale or inhale, not both exhale and inhale.
That is not to mean each pair of horizontal reeds.
The problem in understanding is in the listing of what a tremolo harmonica is. In the Hohner location
system, 4 cells (2 horizontal reeds, 2 vertical reeds) make one hole.
On most other brands, a hole is considered to be only 2 vertical reeds, either exhale or inhale.
The exhale and inhale horizontal reeds are not paired in the other brands of tremolos.
Yes, whenever octave notes are played together,
on any musical instrument, the lower of the 2 pitches
adds depth to the upper pitch. A fuller. louder,
more forceful sound is achieved.
The lower pitch also adds "partials", extra vibrations.
The partials are based on the fundamental (lower) pitch,
and they are the audio source for harmony. They are not
always audible to our ears, but they are always present.
If we play a low key on a piano, we should be able to hear
the first three to four partials above the fundamental pitch.
For example: the partials form what is called a "harmonic
series": Going from strongest partial added, to the weakest:
Fundamental Note Added series, in order bottom to top
1st partial = C
(etc., the distances between partials narrows)
Bb (7th partial, above G)
G (6th partial, above E)
E (5th partial, above 4th)
C (4th partial, above G)
G (3rd partial, above 2nd partial)
C (octave above fundamental, 2nd partial)
C (fundamental pitch, 1st partial)
You may have noticed in the charts above, that after the fundamental pitch,
the C chord (frequencies of C, E, G ) occur most often.
Octave harps make use of the harmonic series, to increase fullness and loudness.
The altered tuning of the tremolo paired reeds makes a harmonic series difficult to
find (the 2 harmonic series are fighting), and not very audible. On a tremolo harmonica,
the wavy tone is heard when the two vertically paired reeds are played together.
The fighting vibrations create a wavy tone, desirable for some music styles.
Compared to the other type of double reed (per note) harmonicas:
Octave harps have two vertically-paired reeds factory-tuned 8 scale degrees
apart.The octave harps produce a doubled tone when two vertically-paired
reeds are played together. They have increased volume; no tremolo sound;
and are used mainly in patriotic, ethnic, country, and folk music, and the
sound produced is similar to a brass instrument group (trumpets, basses,
trombones, French horns, etc.).
Tremolo harps produce a wavy tone ("tremolo") when two vertically-paired
reeds are played together. The two reeds are tuned to the same pitch, and
one of the reeds is slightly de-tuned at the factory. They are commonly used
in religious, folk, country and ethnic music.
On a harmonica, the Richter is a reed placement system, not a music scale.
It was named for it's inventor, Joseph Richter (1812-1881), a harmonica
maker in Haidau, Czechoslovakia (now Novy Bor, Czech Republic).
In city records, Joseph is listed as a glass painter. Joseph started making
harmonicas circa 1825, and started his harmonica company after 1830.
In 1857, after touring an accordion factory, Joseph designed the Richter
system, a copy of what was being done on accordions (accordion bellows
in, bellows out was transferred to harmonicas: breath in, breath out). The
harmonica became an inhale-exhale instrument.
In the Richter system, a few simple chords are available for the performer.
This was a new improvement on the harmonicas before 1857. Also, the
Richter system introduced 2 reed plates, one above the wood comb, one
below the wood comb. In the Richter reed placement, scale notes do, mi,
and so are on the top reed plate, and re, fa, la and ti are on the bottom reed
On a 10-hole diatonic harmonica: the "do" major chord is exhale anywhere
on the harp; the "so" dominant and dominant 7 chords are inhale holes 2-5;
the "re" minor chord is located at holes 4-6 inhale; and a partial "fa" major
chord is available at holes 5-6.
Those chords (starting on "do", "re", "fa" and "so") are the basic chords of
most European and American music tunes.
Welcome to the Harmonica Club. You have many new friends here.
In reply to your post:
1. Don't be discouraged. All musical instruments are difficult when starting to learn to play.
Be patient, work slowly, enjoy your progress.
2. The best way to start learning to play your octave harp, is this instruction book:
"Tremolo and Octave Harmonica Method", by Phil Duncan, Mel Bay publication.
You may order it at any local music instrument retail store, or through Amazon.com.
It's price was $15 plus tax in 2007, the year that I bought my copy. At Amazon, you
might be able to find a used book, for a lower price. The book includes a CD, for
listening, to learn the examples and exercises in the book.
3. The book uses traditional music notation and harmonica tablature,and is set up for
a 20-hole octave harp, but your 14-double hole harp will use the same tablature as
the 20-hole model. Your harp has fewer reeds (notes) than the 20-holer.
4. Do you have a musical background? Do you read traditional music notation?
5. The Hohner hands & circles trademark has been used since 1886, with changes
along the way. Your Unsere Lieblinge harp has a 6-point star in the center of the
circles. The German government ordered Hohner and other companies to remove
the hexagon star from the trademark, starting in 1938. But, Hohner was allowed to
use it's stockpile of bottom metal covers until they were gone.
6. The medallions with year and city names were Grand Prix ("Grand Prize") awards
to Hohner in those years, at world trade fairs and exhibitions.
7. An exact year of production may not be possible to provide, but your Unsere Lieblinge
was probably made before 1938. The Paris exhibition was the last medallion listed, 1937.
Hohner's Grand Prix medallions included:
Wien (Vienna), 1873
St. Louis, 1904
Geneve (Geneva), 1927
Sussex, Wisconsin (USA)