The Chromonica is a truly classic model of chromatic harmonica - made by the Hohner Company of Germany.
The Chromonica harmonica has a wooden comb, which means that the middle part of the instrument, the basic body of the instrument, is made of wood. Quite often these days, the comb of the harmonica is made of plastic .
There are varying schools of thought about whether it's better to have a wooden comb or a plastic comb - they definitely have their pluses and minuses. Wood, as you can imagine, reacts to humidity and swells and shrinks accordingly, a little bit. Plastic combs on the other hand don't have this problem but may not have the beautiful tone that wood has.
However, the Chromonica has been in production for several decades, and is still a really great instrument. It is not Hohner's "top of the line" anymore, but it is a good reliable instrument that you can get a "classic" sound with, and if taken care of, the Chromonica harmonica can last and be one of your favorite instruments.
The Chromonica comes in various sizes: the 12 hole and the 16 hole models. The 16 hole chromonica has an extra lower octave on the left side of the harmonica, which can be fun, but on the other hand the 12 hole harmonica tends to fit in your hands much better, is lighter, and is easier to hold cupped to a microphone if that is the way you play.
Chromatic harmonicas are designed to play every complete scale in any key -- major, minor, pentatonic, blues, etc. -- all on one instrument. Nevertheless, they can be bought in various keys - the most common by far is the key of C.
A chromatic harmonica theoretically can play in any key because it has as part of its mechanism the ability to play all 12 notes of the "Western" (standard do-re-mi) scale, so that by using the button slide on the side of the chromonica you can build your various scales. But as you can imagine, the various keys start in various places on the scale of western music, such as G typically starting lower than the C scale harmonica.
I have done this version with notes added which progress to the border in an OOF (Out Of Frame) fashion for artistic flair.
November 26th, 2012
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