The Tremolo: Reviews
Overall: An acceptable instrument. Sometimes this is the best that can be had from musical instrument stores in a given geographical area. It is Richter-tuned, and as a result, poorer than all of the others here in availability of notes.
Price: Approximately $50 U.S. plus shipping from Coast to Coast Music. They list it as "Hohner Echo 64 Tremolo Double Sided". Most retail stores add about $20 to this price.
Keys: It's double-sided, two keys per instrument. Available key-pairs are C/G, Bb/F, and D/A.
Size: This model is 16-tone per side. The 32 refers to
reeds, not tones. There are larger models, but the larger
models are available in fewer keys.
Box: Weak paperboard box. Must be replaced more or less immediately.
Physicality: Wooden comb, not treated much if at all; some splinters nearly loose when brand new; after more than a year of ownership, I had splinters come into my mouth. Good and somewhat ornate sheet metal covers. Covers are nailed onto the comb, and as a result, I have had professional harmonica technicians tell me they will not touch them. Overall feel is acceptably strong, but definitely squashable: I would expect ruination (perhaps a hammer and anvil could effect a crude and unaesthetic emergency fix) if I accidentally sat on this instrument on a moderately soft sofa. If there is any risk of squashing, I carry my Hohner Double Echo in a very strong felt-lined oak box which a craftsperson friend made for me. He won't make any more, sadly; apparently this one took much longer to make than he expected, and he says he has more interesting things to do, even if he were to be highly paid. The squashability is, no doubt, a necessary part of the "double" design. Other doubles are designed in much the same fashion, except that some doubles do use screws.
Tone & Tuning: The tone is excellent, the tuning nice and precise, and the tremolo off-tuning is a very good choice by Hohner. If the tuning were not Richter, this instrument might be quite recommendable by yours truly, because the wooden comb makes a very good timbre.
Downsides: Richter tuning, crumby wood comb, nails which preclude service. It is true that I have been told that the crumbiness of the comb is not universal with Hohner Double Echo. Some tell me that they have seen none of it, and others tell me that they have seen it as bad or worse. But with these three strikes, the writer cannot easily recommend this instrument, unless the very nice wooden-comb timbre is a strongly overriding desire.