Diatonic vs Chromatic

Chromatic vs Diatonic
I am not a very good harmonica player, but I thought I would express some of my experiences with both types of harps in case anyone is interested.

I started playing in about August of ’21. Within about 2 weeks I could play single notes using lip pucker with ease. By the time I could do that, I was able to play, by ear, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 or 30 tunes, and that rapidly expanded. The only instruction I needed for most songs was the starting hole and whether it was a blow or a draw. (I have more than 60 years of music background.) By December I was trying to learn draw bends with limited success. By about February, I could hit most bends pretty well, but had a LOT of trouble bending without playing the draw note first, and had a LOT of trouble controlling the draws on hole 3.

I had a lot of dry mouth trouble, and my lips got sore easily, particularly when practicing draws. I also suffer from COPD, and had problems with my breathing. I was unable to practice for more that about 15 minutes before getting sore, and I frequently played until my mouth got very sore, thinking I would get better.

I contacted Greg Jones, 16:23 Harmonicas in June and he suggested I invest in a Seydel NO Slider. He told me that the ‘tightness’ would help both problems.

I had already purchased a Hohner Chromatic, because I wanted to play a lot of songs that I could not tab on a Diatonic, especially with my inability to master my draws many of my favorite songs, including Indian Love Call, Again, Don’t Blame Me, Moon River, Days of Wine and Roses, I’ll Walk Alone, Together, My Happiness, Autumn Leaves, Always In My Heart, All The Things You Are, and others. I had a lot of trouble co-coordinating pushing the button.

I took a ‘vacation’ for a while to let my lips ‘heal’, which was basically a mistake.

When I began practicing again, I found that wearing my dentures while playing helped my ‘dry mouth’ a great deal, but my breathing had suffered with my layoff.

I really like the No Slider, (by the way, all odd number holes can be bent ½ tone). It is a VERY nice harp, and tilting is a whole lot easier for me than pushing the button!
However, unlike the diatonic, I have a lot of trouble playing any of my songs without having the tabs in front of me, so I am far more comfortable playing the Diatonic. I also must note that the Diatonic is quite a bit more expressive than the Chromatic.

Hello to all my friends on Harmonica.com.


Hello @Poppo,
I am very happy to read from you. In the last few weeks I’ve often thought of you and wondered how you’re doing.

Thank you for your description. As for the chromatic harp, I don’t feel too good about it either. I don’t have any problems hitting the slider on time. But I also miss getting feeling into the game.
However, for me it might be because I’ve invested very little time to really figure it out.

It’s a pity that you can only play a little because of your situation. But 5-10 minutes a day is better than not playing at all.

I wish you all the best! See you soon!

Kind regards from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Thanks, Yes, I have kept reading posts these but haven’t had much to say. I really need to play every day, but sometimes I just don’t do it. Can you tell me how to translate your German posts? I have tried to convert them to English, but don’t really know how. God Bless You! I hope you have remained in good health. Poppo.


Hello @Poppo, here is Article 1.

Saxon handwork for 175 years: about the oldest harmonica factory in the world

As of October 27, 2022, 11:15 am

The harmonica manufacturer CA Seydel and Sons is far from “playing the song of death”: Harmonicas have been handcrafted here for 175 years - the company is now the oldest still producing harmonica manufacturer in the world. Contrary to what one might think, the harmonica was not invented in America, the home of blues and western films.

The sound of the harmonica is known from American western films, such as “Play me the song of death” - and wonderfully melancholic. It only sounds like that on the banks of the Mississippi, where the blues legends are at home, you might think. But actually a trip to Klingenthal in the Vogtland region is enough, because harmonicas have been manufactured there for 175 years - by the company CA Seydel Söhne.

Around 1900 - it is said - Klingenthal had a market share of 80 percent on the world market.

Florian Stark, Sales Manager at CA Seydel and Sons
The production of harmonicas began in Klingenthal back in the 1820s, says sales manager Florian Stark. Many companies would have produced these instruments at that time, it was a big industry.

Vogtland worldwide center of instrument making
There are various sources, but it can be assumed that the instrument was developed around 1800 in the area around Vienna, says Stark. Dealers would then have brought the harmonicas with them and had them made here on a large scale.

In 1847 Christian August Seydel then founded the company CA Seydel and Sons and soon became the most important manufacturer of harmonicas in the so-called “Musikwinkel” in Vogtland. Today it is the only local company that still manufactures these instruments, formerly known as mouth organs. In the GDR, after nationalization, the manufactory belonged to VEB Klingenthaler Harmonikawerke and then went back to the heirs of the former company founder after reunification.

From the GDR to today - a success story from Klingenthal

However, the first decade after reprivatization was marked by setbacks. The problem back then was that you were so far away from the market, explains sales manager Florian Stark. “You have to imagine that during the GDR era, the harmonica manufacturers had no access to the market here and there was no idea what the customer actually wanted.” In addition, the eastern markets collapsed. Because of the strong D-Mark, customers could no longer afford the Seydel instruments.

So you had to reinvent yourself: “And that was achieved in 2004/2005 with the invention of the stainless steel tone tongue. Since then, Seydel has been the only manufacturer in the world to use stainless steel tone tongues and they have a better response, they sound louder, richer in overtones, more penetrating .” The company C. A. Seydel and Sons has thus opened up a completely new niche.

Prominent Seydel players like Barack Obama
On the website, as well as on a tour of the company, you can see photos of the stars of the scene playing Seydel instruments: James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite and Xime Monzón from Argentina. And even Barack Obama can be spotted among them being handed such a harmonica from Klingenthal.

1 Like

@Poppo, here is Article 2:

Oldest harmonica factory: Chef presents new model for 175th anniversary

The C. A. Seydel Söhne harmonica manufactory has been in existence since 1847 - the oldest in the world. Although there would even be a double anniversary to be celebrated, a large event was deliberately avoided. However, a surprise is planned.

Klingenthal. A document issued by the court clerk of the then independent municipality of Untersachsenberg and dated October 27, 1847 is considered to be the founding document of the harmonica manufacturer C. A. Seydel Söhne. Today, after 175 years, it is the world’s oldest manufactory in this branch.
Managing director Lars Seifert says there will be no big celebration with a concert like the 170th anniversary this time. “We think that after two years of the corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the upcoming cost increases in the energy sector, that would be the wrong sign,” he makes clear. There should still be an internal meeting for the employees. This is also important for the cohesion of the team in the coming months.

A limited anniversary harmonica, which many fans were hoping for, is also not planned. But a special musical surprise has been announced for the company’s 175th anniversary. On October 27th, a new Seydel model will be presented in the Seydel newsletter and on the online portal. It is the result of more than a year of research and development work, in which regional partners were also involved. Seifert didn’t want to reveal any more: “The fans will have to be patient for a few more days.”

The Klingenthal manufactory currently has 33 employees. C. A. Seydel Söhne is a practice partner of the Plauen vocational academy. A student of the educational institution is specially trained for international marketing. A trainee also strengthened the team.

16 basic models form the basis of the production, in the case of customer requests, the Klingenthaler make possible what is technically feasible - and that is a lot.

Despite all the difficulties of the past few months, according to Seifert, the manufactory is in good financial shape, and with the 4th quarter, the traditionally strongest time of the year in terms of sales has only just begun with the Christmas business.

North America is at the top of the sales list. Seydel has its own branch in the USA. That was unthinkable in the days of company founder Curt August Seydel. According to the company chronicle, he drastically resisted direct contacts in the USA. It is said to have been a great moment when, after his death, the first box of instruments was sent directly from Untersachsenberg to the USA.

Japan, China and Korea are also important trading partners today, as has Indonesia recently. “Australia with its blues scene is also very important to us,” says Lars Seifert. In the so-called social networks, the Seydel harmonicas also have a large fan base in South America and India. Seifert: “In Chile alone there is a huge scene. In India, chromatic instruments are currently in demand.”

In Great Britain, after Brexit, the focus is increasingly on online trading. The contacts between the Klingenthalers and Russia, which also offered an interesting market for harmonicas, are currently on hold.

Lars Seifert and his team are already looking to 2023. In March there will be an expert workshop for the first time with Brendan Power from the USA, a musician and inventor who has been working with Seydel for a good two decades. “He will show fans of his expressive moods how to get the best out of harmonicas,” announces Seifert. The expert workshop promises musical experiences that you don’t experience every day.

The idea behind the event is to hold such a workshop every year in the future - as a special form alongside the master workshops that are offered as part of the Klingenthal Festival “Mundharmonika live”. “The project has been on the back burner for a long time. We’re looking forward to the response to the four-day event,” says Seifert. Seydel also wants to advertise at the traditional UK festival, which after Bristol is now taking place in Birmingham. However, the Klingenthalers will not be there personally, as the effort will be too great after Brexit.

Seydel Jimi Lee, who lives in Hawaii and has been to Klingenthal several times, wants to re-equip with harmonicas. The collaboration with the Englishman Will Wilde, who has developed his harmonica playing in such a way that it sounds as if he were playing hard rock on an electric guitar, is also still close. Wilde is also a Seydel endorser.

Incidentally, there is a second round number in Seydel’s 175th anniversary. In 1923, Seydel took over the harmonica company Carl Essbach and its trademark. Essbach was founded in 1872 in what is now the Klingenthal district of Brunndöbra - and would now be 150 years old.

That’s it Poppo! Thank you, I’m fine. It’s always an up and down, sometimes more, sometimes less, but I’ve known it for several decades.
Still I’m satisfied, it could be worse.

Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Great information. As you may have read I purchased a Seydel NONSlider (in my favorite key, G). It is really a wonderful instrument. No valves, no slider. Has a double row of 12 holes. Slightly tilting the harmonica accesses the notes normally found by pushing the button. Since there is no slider, there is very little air leakage, yielding a very ‘tight’ harp. Quite expensive, however, $250 in America.
My wife and I watch a lot of old (mostly black and white) moves on Turner Movie Channel. A lot of westerns have someone playing the harmonica. One of the most haunting songs I know is from the 1958 movie “Money, Women and Guns”. Jimmy Wakely, know as the ‘Singing Cowboy’ wrote, plays and sings the slow, sad song “Lonely is the Hunter”. You can listen to the song on YouTube. If you listen closely a harmonica is playing softly in the background. I liked the song so much I tabbed it, and am including it here. I hope I am not breaking some kind of rule by posting it here, I think I may try to post it on Harptabs.com. I have never posted a song anywhere, but will try to post this one.
Lonely is the Hunter – Jimmy Wakely
4/4 Slow, with Feeling.

3 3 3 -1 2 3 2 -1
He was born to be a rambler
3 6 -5 5 -5 -4 4 -4
He was born to ride alone.
-4 6 -5 5 5-4 4 -4 -3
Ever lonely i-s the hunter
3 -3 4 -3 3 2 3
And for ever on the roam
3 3 3 -1 2 3 2 -1
There are times when he gets weary
3 6 -5 5 5-4 4 -4
When he’d like to settle down -
-4 6 -5 5 5-4 4 -4 -3
Ever lonely i-s the hunter
3 -3 4 3 3 2 3
As he rides from town to town
3 3 3 -1 2 3 2 -1
No two arms can ever hold him
-4 6 -5 5 5-4 4 -4
Cause he feels he must be free
-4 6 -5 5 5-4 4 -4 -3
No one brand can ev-er claim him
3 -3 4 -3 3 2 3
Lonely is his destiny
3 -3 4 -3 3 2 3
Lonely is his destiny

God Bless!