The Tremolo: Reviews
Overall:A very useful instrument which produces great tone quality. It is Richter-tuned, so the smaller variety can have trouble following melody-lines.
Price: $70 for the smaller, $150 for the larger, retail. Our favorite web-order source, Coast to Coast Music, is no more, we're hoping to develop new info soon. At the moment it is recommended that you ask around the Instruments forum, there are very good deals to be had.
Keys: It's double-sided, two keys per instrument. Available key-pairs are C/G, Bb/F, and D/A.
Size: The small model is 16-tone per side. The 32 refers to reeds, not tones. It used to be that the larger ones were available in fewer keys, but my 56/96 (not sure how those numbers work) is A/D, so this no longer applies.
Box: Weak paperboard box. Must be replaced more or less immediately.
Physicality: Wooden comb, not treated much if at all. When I had my new 32/64 C/G, some of the wood was weak when it was new, and after more than a year of ownership, I had soft bits come into my mouth. My 56/96 is much better, possibly due to age (though it is in pristine condition), the wood is hard and feels like it will last a good long time. The covers are somewhat ornate sheet metal. My 32/64 had covers nailed onto the ends of the comb, and as a result, I have had professional harmonica technicians tell me they will not touch them; my 56/96 uses screws. Overall feel is acceptably strong, but definitely squashable: I would expect ruination (perhaps a small hammer and anvil could effect a crude and unaesthetic emergency fix) if I accidentally sat on this instrument on a moderately soft sofa. For my 32/64, I had a very strong felt-lined oak box which a craftsperson friend made for me. He won't make any more, sadly; apparently the box 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.
Tone & Tuning: The tone is excellent, the tuning nice and precise, and the tremolo off-tuning is a very good choice by Hohner. The wooden comb makes for a truly wonderful, warm yet strong, timbre, no screeching. I haven't played any other tremolo with this kind of tone, though I have heard that there are others.
Downsides: Richter tuning (which some prefer), wood comb, and on some of them, nails which preclude service.