Q: What is a chromatic harmonica?

A: Extending the discussion of general types in part 1, a chromatic harmonica is a harmonica that has all 12 notes in an octave directly available. It is actually tuned in a diatonic scale, but it can be raised a half step by pushing a button on the side -- BB

Also from "Post #2 General Stuff" 2 Nov 1992 JE:

The standard chromatic tuning is different and called "solo" tuning. The entire scale is repeated in each set of four holes (just like holes 4-7 of a diatonic). 12 hole chromatics are available in 12 keys. 16 holers are only available in C. A 16 hole chromatic has four complete C scales, with the C repeated in every octave. See layout below...

(TOP LETTER = BLOW / BOTTOM LETTER = DRAW)

  1.  2.  3.  4.  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12 <-cover plate #s
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  - may differ
+--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--+__ ++
|C#||E#||G#||C#||C#||E#||G#||C#||C#||E#||G#||C#||C#||E#||G#||C#|B \++| (#)sharps
|D#||F#||A#||B#||D#||F#||A#||B#||D#||F#||A#||B#||D#||F#||A#||D |D_/++|<---------
+--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--+ ++ SLIDE|
+--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--+__ ++ IN |
|Db||F ||Ab||C ||Db||F ||Ab||C ||Db||F ||Ab||C ||Db||F ||Ab||Db|B \++|<---------
|Eb||Gb||Bb||Db||Eb||Gb||Bb||Db||Eb||Gb||Bb||Db||Eb||Gb||Bb||D |D_/++| (b)flats
+--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--+ ++

+--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--+_____ ++ |C ||E ||G ||C ||C ||E ||G ||C ||C ||E ||G ||C ||C ||E ||G ||C |Blow \++| SLIDE | D|| F|| A|| B|| D|| F|| A|| B|| D|| F|| A|| B|| D|| F|| A|| B|Draw_/++| OUT +--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--++--+ ++ -----> 1. 2. 3. 4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 |<- - - - - - - -12 hole layout - - - - - - - >|

Notes: 1. The cover plate numbers on different models/brands of 16 hole harmonica will differ. Some show the first four holes with a dot beside them to indicate the octave below middle "C". Middle "C" is found in hole 5 (the 5th

hole) on a 16 hole chromatic.

2. Hole 16 tuning (slide in) is slightly different from it's lower octave companions (1., 5, 9, & 13). Hole 16 contains a "D" note where you might expect a D# (Eb). Why? I don't know. (hope these drawings got through the mail OK.) -- "Post #2 General Stuff" 2 Nov 1992 JE

(FMI: "Jazz Chromatic" 20 Sep 94 WY) (FMI: "RE: Chromatics without the slide???" 20 Dec 94 JE)

 

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Playing "Help-Me" In the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II: A step by step, note for note analysis of some of Sonny Boy's Signature Riffs

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Error Message Eyes: A Programmer's Guide to the Digital Soul
 

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The JT30 Page Popular links

I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into JT30.com in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Learning Harp

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A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

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Harp Amps

I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old Harpamps.com website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.


Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


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Harp Frequently Asked Questions