Blues harp or ten-hole harmonica is the most popaular type of harmonica. It is a diatonic instrument with ten holes which allow the player to produce nineteenth notes within three octave range. The main feature of the diatonic harmonica is a possibility to play only in a single key at a time, the blues harp allows to play in different keys.
The valved diatonics are used rather than the chromatic diatonics because they allow playing the chromatic scales on diatonic harmonicas. As opposed to the chromatic diatonic the valved diatonics have a wider and more dynamic range. But it doesn’t have the slide assembly. Another preference is its not expensive price and a small size. It is hard to bend the notes accurately, that’s why the western classical music is unachievable for playing. But nothing interferes to play the diatonic harmonica jazz or blues.
The diatonic harmonica can be specially-tuned. Some manufacturers tune harmonicas in such way that the player can use it in natural minor, harmonic minor, and major scale from two draw to six blow.
Some harmonicas are may be tuned by the players themselves. The player only needs to make small scratches in a reed, and the notes will be changed.
There exist tewelve- or fourteen-hole harmonicas. They were made by Hohner: the M364 Marine Band and the M36460 Marine Band Soloist. The Marine Band Soloist is a solo-tuned harmonica, it is bigger than the usual diatonic harmonicas.
One of the most popular diatonic models is Hohner’s blues harp. Due to its high quality this instrument achieved the success and widespread distribution. The Hohner’s model has a distinctive feature in the construction: it has a wooden comb, high covers without side vents and high quality reed plates. Such construction gives a really bluesy sound.
This instrument was very popular among the professional musicians all over the world. Here are the most famous blues harp players: Sonny Boy Williamson, Paul Butterfield, James Cotton, John Mayall, Van Morrison and many others.