11-18-2015, 11:33 PM
Hello, Tremolo Friends.
Here's the story of the Asian System tremolo
harmonica reed placement, as far as I know.
The Japanese tremolo harmonica player, Hidero Sato
(1899- ?) was the first known tremolo player to use
the Asian System.
He designed it, and may have used it to win the
Hohner World Harmonica Championship on
tremolo harp, 1927, in Trossingen, Germany.
He earned the honor of being listed as the
"World's Greatest Tremolo Harmonica Player".
His system was listed in the 1981 Tombo products
catalog. It was available in 12 major and 12 minor keys.
It had 22 tones, 44 reeds (22 holes).
TOMBO #1722 TREMOLO HARMONICA, Key of C.
Large letters are exhale, small letters are inhale reeds.
Both reed plates use the same reed placement:
||d |C |f |E |a |G |b |C |d |E |f |G |a |C |b |E |d |G |f |C |a |b ||
The Hidero Sato reed placement system may have been patented
by Tombo. That may explain why the system wasn't used by Hohner
until 1953, when the 28-year old Cham-Ber Huang was hired as a
consultant for Hohner, and designed the Sato (Asian) System for
Cham-Ber Huang was listed as "C.B. Wang" on the free Hohner
instruction sheet provided with the Hohner tremolos using the Asian
System. His photo was included on the instruction sheet. Huang's
design was a 24-hole, 24 tones, 48 reeds harmonica.
HOHNER TREMOLO, ASIAN SYSTEM (1953), key of C:
||G |d |C |f |E |a |G |b |C |d |E |f |G |a |C |b |E |d |G |f |C |a |E |b ||
Since 1953, Hohner and other Asian companies have made 21 double-holes-,
22 double-holes, and 23 double holes tremolos, in addition to the standard
24 double holes tremolos. 30 double-hole models have been made also.
And, 16 double holes, 20 double hole tremolos (see the Hohner chart above).
The 23-double holes model has no G on the low side, range of D-B.
The 22-double holes model has a range of D-E.
The 21-holes model has a range of D-A.
But, they all use the same Asian (Sato) System.
01-23-2016, 06:40 AM
Re John's comment on learning the tune by ear. John there are song we would like to play but have never heard the music played, just a vocal.. TABs are useful, but only if they are for a certain type and key of the Tremlo.. My feeling now is we need to get the name of the notes (perhaps copyright forbids) . Once we know the note name then we should know where to find that note on the Tremlo we want to play. Then if we know the lyrics we should be able to follow some sort of the rhythm. Trouble is too many players want to play without doing the work and learning a bit about music theory.
Hello, Tremolo Friends.
For learning new songs or tunes that we've never heard before,
traditional music notation is by far the best system. It provides
the most information.
Harmonica tablature (Tab) is quick for learning the locations of the
notes, and the breath direction. But, you must have already heard
the song or tune to successfully perform in tablature. If provided
with vocals only (words), tab will be useless on a new tune or song.
Experienced "by ear" players can hear a new tune or song, then play
it back. Depending on the player's audio skills, this may be all that is
needed to learn a new song. Most harmonica players claim that they
can hear a tune or song once and play it, but they are usually incorrect.
Tabs, such as Asian system tremolo tabs for an Asian system tremolo harp;
Richter system tremolo tabs for a Richter tremolo harp; and solo system
tremolo tabs for a solo system tremolo, are the same for every key of a
harmonica, if the number of mouthpiece holes is the same from one reed
system tremolo harp to another of the same reed system.
That is, a key of Bb solo system tremolo harp will use the same tab as
an Eb solo system tremolo harp, if the amount of mouthpiece holes
are the same. The sound will be in a different set of notes (a different key),
but the tune's or song's melody will be played the same, in the same place,
with the same breath patterns.
The tremolo-type and octave-type harmonicas are available in many different
keys, many different reed amounts, and many different scale "flavors" (major,
harmonic minor, natural minor are a few flavors, custom-made reed placements
There is no single tremolo tab that will work for all tremolos or octave harps.
Manufacturers provide a key of C sample note chart, and the player must
transpose the reed placement for any different keyed harp.
Getting only a music scale's note spellings will not be helpful to a tremolo player.
For a great source of reed placement systems and music scale alterations, go to:
Copyrights and patents do exist for some reed placement systems. Copyrights
are for visual and audio creations, and patents are for mechanical and electrical
inventions. Titles, names, chord accompaniments, and tabs are not copyrightable.
Learning a song or tune "by ear" only, requires a proficiency in audio perception.
Stevie Wonder, Sonny Terry, and countless other harmonica players and musicians
don't need traditional music notation or music theory to learn a tune or song.
Music theory and traditional music notation are not needed for most musical hobbyists,
but they certainly increase the player's musical knowledge, making the player more
confident in performance, and in learning new music that is unfamiliar to the player.
01-29-2016, 07:29 AM
Well, John, I agree with all you wrote . However It applies to those with good musical ear to pick up a tune. I know if a note is not correct, but I find Tabs a far quicker way of sorting out the melody. And of course once sorted out the Tabs are not needed. John, we are not all pro musicians and every bit of help assists. Yes I read music notation when I'm lucky enough to get a piece, but I would never discard Tabs. You will know that Henry in Slidemiester contributes Tabs for chromatic. They help me a lot, even the way he spaces the words and notes to get an idea of rhythm. Hearing the You tube with his Tabs is great. I would never condemn Tabs for beginners.
Use whatever system works easiest for you.
The tab systems are an excellent way to quickly
review familiar tunes, and to provide a "map"
to locate note "addresses".
I also use tab notation when needed, to find a note
or notes' location on a harmonica.
But for music unfamiliar before the reading, tab will only
set the location of the note(s), and the breath direction,
and is not useful in that situation.
There are a few tabs that provide more information (chords
and vocals), but, of the nearly 100 tab systems that I've seen,
There are as many tremolo tabs systems as there are types and
sizes (reed amounts) of tremolos, and more. For me, learning
one system that is universal (traditional music notation) is more
logical. It's used on all chromatic and diatonic musical instruments.
After study, there is no need to master dozens of tremolo tab systems.
The trad system is complete.
In addition to note location and breath pattern, traditional
signs for harmonica techniques