I just learned playing Diatonic Harmonica. I find it a bit difficult to play bend on it ( I am practicing though). Someone told me that a easy way is to use Press Button Chromatic Harmonica. Is it that you do not need to play bend on Chromatic Harmonicas? I was told that to get sharp or flat you do not need bend, instead you press the push button. Is it correct? Also, Are there different scaled chromatic harmonicas as in diatonic ones..? (e.g C scale Chormatic, G scale Chromatci etc.)

Also, I want to advance to tremolo harmonica now, But I do not understand as to how to get the chart for different scale and different hole (12, 20 hole) harmonoica..?

I am comfortable with 10 hole standard diatonic harmonica...

1 Answer 1


Indeed, you need to bend notes on the diatonic harmonica because all notes are not available. And even when you'll be able to bend them, you'll find out that a few of them are still missing, and you'll then need to learn overblows to obtain them -- but you can worry about that later.

You can, but don't need to bend notes on the chromatic harmonica because that "button" allows you to transpose all notes by a half-tone so as to obtain the missing ones. Chromatic harmonicas do come in different scales for the same reasons as the diatonic ones, i.e. to cover different ranges.

It then seems that chromatic harmonicas render bending useless, but it's not quite true. Bending offers a smooth transition from one note to the other, which you cannot obtain if you only use the "button" -- if this means anything to you, it's the same difference between bending a note on the guitar and moving your finger to play both notes one after the other.

I will let someone else comment on the tremolo harmonica.

  • That is a very nice answer.... For a 10 hole diatonic harmonica notes and hole position are well documented on the net, but then how to find the same for 12 hole or more hole harmonica....? How do I know which hole belongs to which note for a more than 10 hole harmonica.... I understand the scales, I can play the guitar as well.... Dec 1, 2011 at 9:43
  • 1
    Wikipedia has the information you need. If your harmonica is not a C harmonica, you just need to transpose accordingly (i.e. move everything up or down by X half-tones). Dec 1, 2011 at 9:45

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