Tested Model: CX-10 in the key of A.
This is a unique instrument, available only from
Brendan Power's website. Brendan customizes most Hohner chromatic
harps into what he calls Power Chromatics and, believe us, the
transformed instruments deserve a new name! One of the most
attractive Power Chromatics is the CX-10. No, don't look for
this product in the Hohner catalog, it doesn't exist. This is
a cut-down Hohner CX12, shortened from 12 holes to 10 holes.
It comes in various tuning, the most popular being the Richter
tuning, which is exactly the same tuning as the blues harp but
with a slide allowing to raised the notes a semi-tone (it is
like having a bluesharp in Bb and another one in A in the same
instrument). It is half-valved, meaning you can naturally bend
all the same notes as on the diatonic, but also get valved bends
on the low pitched notes in each hole (eg. blow notes holes
1-6, draw notes 7-10), providing the player with many enharmonic
- Customized instrument. Very airtight, responsive and easy
- Probably the easiest way of playing chromatically: the player
only has to push the button to obtain the missing notes and
explore new territories. Moreover the CX-10 provides unbent
notes for all the notes of the chromatic scale except for
the F#, A and A# in the low octave (for an harp in C), plus
lots of enharmonic notes.
- As no overblow is needed, the player can more easily apply
vibrato and shape the sound. The half-valving allows a good
- The sound is very close to the standard bluesharp despite
the fact that this is a chromatic harp.
- Big instrument.
- Big mouthpiece. This can be a major drawback for players
coming from the bluesharp. It has to be noted that Brendan
also customizes the Hohner 260 and Slide Harp, which have
- Valves can be disturbing. They can buzz or pop if the harp
is not warmed up.
- Hard to cup (but an additional feature allows to push the
button while cupping).
- The high notes are not easy to bend. It's still playable
for a good player on an A harp but a player who don't fully
master the blow bends will have some trouble. Anyway in that
case, there is just to use the slide to obtain the missing
- The harp is expensive as it is based on a chromatic and
requires a lot of customization. This is a major drawback
for blues players that would need several keys.
Brendan provides a very good and reliable service. For more
information, you can consult the issue
3 of Planet Harmonica and Brendan's
Hohner produces the Koch and Slide harps which
have exactly the same features as the CX-10. But these harps
are very leaky out of the box. If you're inclined to follow
the path of richter-tuned slide harps, we highly recommend the
How to play it:
Pushing the slide raises any note one half-step. So just push
the slide in and draw in the 6th hole, and you'll obtain the
minor third in 2nd position. The minor third in 1st position
is obtained by pushing the slide in and drawing in the 4th or
So the riff can played the following way:
As the CX-10 is half-valved, the blues scale in 1st position
can be played in two ways:
- Either by using the slide to obtain the notes missing on
a regular bluesharp,
- or by using the slide on the 6th hole and playing valved
bends on the other holes.
Listen to the sound
As you can notice, the sound of the 4 draw slide
in is especially good as this is a regular note on the CX-10.
Despite its size, the CX-10 is in our opinion
the easiest way of playing chromatically. The notes sound well
and are easy to obtain. Anyone who can afford it should try