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  • Writer's pictureTony Peri - Owner of Reedworks Pty Ltd

The Amazing Tremolo Chromatic Harmonica From Suzuki

Suzuki have made an amazing kind of harmonica - The SCT128 Tremolo Chromatic harmonica. Its body is shaped like a grand piano. It has 128 reeds! Each hole has 4 reeds - 2 blow and 2 draw. And each of the two reeds are tuned to a tremolo beat for a unique and one of a kind instrument that plays a 4-ocatve chromatic scale.

This instrument came in to my workshop for cleaning, new valves and tuning. With 128 reeds it was like doing two chromatic harmonicas in one. Though, tuning to tremolo correctly (like an accordion MM set of reeds) was difficult. The spaces are small and the tuning margins are narrow to get it right.

The instrument took a lot of innovative design and thought to make. To not only dream up how it would work - but to manufacture it as well, Suzuki engineers created something quite special. As a repair job, it took quite a bit of mapping out and thought as to how the reeds worked and to which was the tremolo set of tuned reeds. Even the gapping from front to back changed as the air travels different distances to each set of reeds, with one at the front and one at the back.

The plastic comb and the moulding was particularly difficult to make. But the designers at Suzuki kept at it and made it work by all accounts.

The photo above you can see the two sets of draw reeds which play at once through the one mouthpiece at the front. It is not a double sided tremolo harp like the Hohner Echo.

The end result is a high quality instrument. The cover plates, mouth piece and even the beautiful leather case are all high quality, solid and beautiful to hold and play.

A tremolo chromatic is not easy to play. It takes a lot of finesse and control. But it gives a totally unique sound. Although this one took A LOT of time to tune and fix up, it was a challenge worth doing. I'd never seen one before. I was impressed with the Suzuki SCT128 tremolo chromatic harmonica.

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