Chinese Harmonica

Hi guys,

I used to learn harmonica using the Chinese 24 hole harmonica. It sounds like a chromic harmonic but without a button. My uncle has one in a key of D. They are very common in my country and the cheapest instrument you can get you paws on (usually ranges from Brunei dollars 4.00 to BND 24.00) as opposed to the Hohner ten hole harmonicas (about BND 25.00 to about BND 75.00(Special 20).

Like the ten hole harmonica, they came with 2 types either wooden reeds or metal reeds and like I mentioned it earlier it sounds like a chromic harmonic and it is easier to play cross harp with it as well.


Sounds Good! Thanks for the tip!

I’m guessing BND is not the same as USD, but it still sounds cheaper!


I’m not sure what is the USD currency now, I maybe able to calculate it for you though.
BND is Bruneian dollars and they definately are lower than USD.

i think I found it:
1 US dollar = 1.2425 Brunei dollars
1 Brunei dollar = 0.8048 US dollars

So roughly (roughly) the same…bit cheaper…


That means it cause from USD 3.33 to USD 20

it sounds like a chromatic harmonic and it is easier to play cross harp with it as well.

Wow! I hear tell from around Seamus’s CR that them Chinese do create some good harps, provided they’re not stamped: Hohner. Hehehe!

So just how is a 24-hole Chinese harp set up anyway?

Meaning, would it be like a solo-tuned, repeating the scales over and over again from one end to the other?

And what or how does the Chinese musical scale go anyhow? Any different from the European Do, Re, Mi, Fa…C, D, E, F…and so on?!

On a diatonic, in cross-harp, since it requires ‘bending’ to get the ‘missing’ notes – Am figuring, there’s no need to bend here on these either.

Yet even with my Hohner solo-tuned in C – While I can bend a few of the notes for effect – With all the notes of the scale there, I really don’t have to bend anything.

I just have to know where and when to hit them to play the song correctly.

Now the Hohner solo-tuned only comes in C; and considering that the Chinese 24-hole harps may come in different keys other than C and/or D –

Well if you can get them in different keys, how then would one play cross-harp on one to the other cross-harp key? Wouldn’t you just pick the key the song is in and play it straight?

Know what I mean?! {Do I know what I mean? I hope so! Hehehehe!}

Just wondering…

No, this particular band in the picture is Hero and it only caused BND 15.00 (around USD 12.50). From the picture it is not clear. The set up is 12 holes for drawing and 12 holes for blowing. Like this…

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

As for drawing and blowing, they are arranged like this…


(* B=blow, D=Draw)

Compared to the 10 hole harmonica, we blow and draw on the same holes.

To me, I would like to call it a “mouth piano”, if I recall it properly, the scale it’s the same as the European but the only difference is that you could play all the notes and bending is not necessary. That is why you are able to hit all the notes without bending.

It also depends on how you played it as well, my uncle usually plays on the lower scale so the song he plays has a bluesy , melancholy feel. It’s easy to play country music on this then playing blues.

It requires a lot of practice and it is not easy to play since the holes are small and maintenance on these harmonics is a nightmare… I used to play one of these back when I was still in elementary on a school band.

I forgot to mention the size… it’s about 1 inch in width and around 11 inches in length so it’s not really pocket sized like hohner… and it’s kind of in the way when you try to do something.

But I must say, I can’t really answer all your questions especially the one on cross harp and I’m not really an expert in this kind of harmonics though… if there are anything left unanswered, I must apologize…

So its basically a chromatic scale! Lightbulb Sweet!


Methinks we got lost in translation somewhere along the way…

Meaning, there are double-rowed tremolos. The one here has 14 slots with 28 holes:

And they grow bigger from there!

Now unless I’m in err (and won’t be the first time! hehehe!) – The harmonica you described is not a tremolo; rather it’s a solo-tuned. It has 12 holes with 24 reeds:

The solo-tuned has 3 sets of complete scales - C/D to C/D, all whole notes, from low to middle to high.

It’s basically a chromatic without the flat/sharp slider on it. And while some of the draw notes can be bent down to get the flat/sharp – It’s usually not done in regular play. But then, I’ve done as your uncle does on the lower end to get that bluesy sound too!

I acquired my solo-tuned from the Coast2Coast online music store, along with some tutorial books on how to play it. However, currently or for how long, their site is not working at this time.

And still, the Seydel Soloist based on the Steve Baker Tuning is not exactly the same as a pure solo-tuned, be they in other keys than C. However, unless anyone else knows where they can be had (perhaps in China though) I have yet to find any other solo-tuned in anything but the key of C.

Hope this clears that up some; maybe even more! Hehehe!


Keep On Harpin’!


Nice to see you back, Jemmy! :wink:

Guess you celebrate your April Fool’s Day differently from everybody else; and/or you just couldn’t leave this great fun place anytime for long! :o

Either way, it’s all good!! ;D

Rock on, yo!

Are you kidding? I love April fool’s day. But you are right though… THIS IS a fun place to be. I mean seriously, I have learn a lot and best thing of all its freebee.

Since I have got next year (to go to Japan) so I might as well just have some fun before my exams, music festival, graduation ceremony and my band’s closing performance are coming. so yea, basically this is a busy year.

Just to let you know… I have changed my plans slightly, instead of going to the music college in Tokyo (the cost of living is extremely high)… I’m going to the music college Okinawa (it’s cheaper and I have got friends there too).

Sounds like you got it figured out Bro!


What is described sounds very much like a Tremolo. I have 2 Suzuki Tremolos in C & A & they are lovely instruments giving an olde worlde sound. They are diatonics and come in 21 & 24 hole models. The Tremolo is the biggest selling harmonica in the world as it is the one most used in Asia. Check out the following Chinese site:-
The Chinese site has some 40,000 students. It was, from my understanding, set up by Tony Eyers who is also the founder of the Harmonica Academy which is an excellent site offering online courses with instruction in Blues, Irish Fiddle Music/ Bluegrass & Tremolo.

Great site, Mr T!

But er um with everything written in Chinese, well, it’s all Greek to me! :-\

Sorry, couldn’t help myself! Hehehehe!

Just goes to show though that Tony Eyers is definitely an International Harmonica Master! :wink:

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)