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. 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. One very well-reputed musician has reported that the replacements were not improvements.

Price and availability: US$24 plus shipping from many different web sources, and approximately the same from Hohner retailers worldwide. This is quite a rise from the original $15.

Keys: All twelve major keys.

Size: 24-tone.

Box: A very good and 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: Strong plastic comb and sheet metal covers. Two 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 very good tone, excellent in all of lows, mids, and highs, very sweet, the tuning very precise, the off-tuning normal tremolo, and very well done. There is 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: The max volume is not as loud as other instruments testing well; and over time it has become evident that the Celeste's reeds are not as durable as Swan Professional, Suzuki Humming, Suzuki Two-Timer, or Tombo 3121 or 1521. It is suggested that this is because big thick strong durable reeds won't give such sweet tonality. The price of the Celeste originally made this worthwhile, as one could buy two or three or four of these for the price of one of any other instrument available in most keys. But this is no longer true, Easttop and Swan and others have clearly overtaken in this regard.

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