The Tremolo: Reviews
The Hohner Echo Celeste

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Overall: This is a relatively new model; Hohner began to make these as of the middle of 2004. So far, The Tremolo has received a large number of good reports, and a very few reports that are not so good. It is tentatively suggested here that there are good and bad production runs of this instrument. Two different reviewers bought one or more, found them to be less than excellent, called Hohner, was told to mail them directly to Hohner for replacement...and within two weeks had excellent replacements in their possession with which they were quite happy.

Price and availability: US$14.95 plus shipping from Coast To Coast Music, and approximately the same from Hohner retailers worldwide. An excellent price for a quality instrument.

Keys: All twelve major keys.

Size: 24-tone.

Box: A very interesting and visibly durable case, with a wrist strap. Looks to be made of strong nylon fabric reinforced, and closes with a good zipper. It is reminiscent of certain cell-phone cases, in a different shape of course.

Physicality: Good strong plastic comb, behaves as if it will last a long while. Good sheet metal covers. Two good screws secure into nuts, holding it all together, with more dimly visible inside. Brass reedplates, edges visible. The usual sheet metal covers are polished to a high sheen, with just a few light markings to indicate make and tones. Overall feel is good and strong, like Suzuki Humming, though quite a bit lighter.

Tone & Tuning: When new, the ones owned by this writer have had tone so good it's almost scary. It is excellent in all of lows, mids, and highs, very sweet. Solo-tuned. The tuning is extremely precise. The off-tuning is normal tremolo, and very well done. On this instrument there is interesting mystery as to how the excellent timbre is produced, because although the comb is plastic, the sound is wonderfully rounded throughout the range, and the volume and tone shapes are very controllable. Chords are as easy as single notes, just like 1521. This harmonica is full-scale (solo) tuned, unlike most other Hohner tremolos, so multiple-octave runs are ready for the playing.

Downsides: On my Echo Celeste, the max volume is not quite as loud as other instruments being used (Tombo, Suzuki, Swan Professional), but not badly so, and this is a tradeoff for the greater expression. Over time it has become evident that the instrument is not as durable as either Suzuku Humming, Suzuki Two-Timer, or Tombo 3121 or 1521. But this again may well be a trade-off for the tone quality, as big thick strong reeds won't give such sweet tonality, and the price of the Celeste can make it worthwhile. So if you play hard and often, or on the road, keep two of each, you can afford it, whereas it's a good bit harder to do so with the others! ☺

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