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Periodically, I find it very useful to switch between 12-hole and 16-hole chromatic harmonicas. Somehow the 12-hole instruments feel faster and lighter, which allows me to tighten up my phrasing, while the extra range of the 16-hole’s four octaves allow me the space, especially in the lower register, to play a fuller range of pitch. Mind you as Chet Baker once said, “I like to play in the deep register. I was never a high-note specialist. My range goes from the bottom of the horn up to around C or D. High D is about it for me … about two-and-a-half octaves, I think. But in these two-and-a-half octaves, I can say everything I have to say.” Thank you Chet!


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