The Hohner 980/40 Koch Chromatic Harmonica is the king of versatility. This incarnation of the 1896 Marine band harmonica is complete with 10 holes and a chromatic slide. It allows you to play in a standard diatonic scale and then reach some limited chromatic capabilities. Its sort of like having two diatonic harmonicas in one. If you buy one in the key of C then you will be able to play in the key of C and C sharp if that makes sense. Honestly, this is my first chromatic harmonica and I’m struggling to understand it but so far I like it.
Chords are easily achieved on the first 3 mouth holes. Use the chromatic slide to change chord, or just play something a little flat for that extra touch. Blue Grass and Country musicians will find this feature very practical. With this you can support the chord progression, or be the melodic force.
The chromatic slide is easily accessed by hand while playing. You will find it easy to change key or play blue-notes on this harmonica. The chromatic slide bar allows for access to all 12 tones from the given tonic. Jazz or Blues musicians will find this feature practical. You are no longer bound to one key, or have the hassle of quickly changing harmonicas. Each mouth hole has 4 reed: 2 in and 2 out, which maintains great intonation, with genuine timbre. The only downfall I’ve heard of about this harmonica is that air leakage can be a problem but I really haven’t noticed that.
One thing I noticed is the Hohner Koch Chromatic Harmonica has superb intonation. I mean you can tune a string instrument to it, it is on pitch every time. It has a timbre that is unmistakable, the double reeds give this instrument a great sound. If you are fanatical about the harmonica, you know this instrument when you hear it. This harmonica has had a major impact on my everyday enjoyment while playing and never gave me that, “hmm, what did I buy” moment. Nope, for the price I could not be happier.
What I also like is that this harmonica has excellent bendability. I read somewhere that most chromatic harmonicas do allow for the type of bends you get from a diatonic, but this one is great for it. I mean the bends on this instrument maintain clarity without the wheezing sound some harmonicas are known for.
Along with these many great features The Hohner 980/40 Koch Chromatic Harmonica is tough and reliable. It comes in a chrome case, which looks great and keeps the reeds.Published in