Chromatic King - Original Blues Chromatic Instrumental Songwriting Contest


Chromatic King

It’s time to place what you’ve been learning at into context in the Chromatic King Original Blues Chromatic Instrumental Songwriting Contest! The winning entry will have the honor of being called’s Blues Chromatic King, as well as given the opportunity to perform their winning song and play in the grand finale at Mark Hummel’s Blues Harmonica Blowout (California) in January. They will also win a Hohner 270 Super Chromonica. All entries will be listened to and commented on by our all-star lineup of judges... blues chromatic wizards Rick Estrin, Mark Hummel and Dennis Gruenling!


Using the tools you’ve developed from your Blues Chromatic, Improvising and Performance Training lessons on the site, your task is to record yourself playing to a backing track or live musicians an original instrumental. Here are the rules:

  • Use Chromatic Harmonica
  • Original instrumental composition (no vocals) - Adapting a non-harmonica tune to the harmonica or rearranging another popular harmonica tune is allowed, but arrangements too close to the original will be scored low.
  • May be acoustic or amplified
  • Accompanied - There must be at least one other instrument to accompany you. Using a pre-recorded jam track (most will do this), a live band or just a guitarist/pianist are all good examples. You may have other instruments solo in your instrumental.
  • Must be recreatable live on the bandstand (including no electronic loopers or sound-on-sound devises).
  • Less than 5 minutes in length
  • Must be a current, subscribed member of from the date of your submission to the announcement of the winners.
  • Have fun… enjoy the process!

Judging Criteria

Good instrumental writing practices are taught in detail in the Improvising Study lessons at, but here are the general areas we’re focusing on as judges for this contest.

  • Head/Hook - How catchy is your hook or head in your composition? If we can't stop humming it after we listen, you did a great job!
  • Body - This is the solo section of your instrumental. How well you use Chorus Forms, Focus Notes, Rhythm, Texture, Breaks, Bridge and possible Soloing Theme to make your soloing interesting.
  • Execution - This is the technical side of your performance: your tone, rhythm, control of technique (bends played in tune), etc. This doesn’t mean that you have to use difficult techniques in your composition (areas 1 and 2 above are scored higher), but what you do play should be executed well.
  • Recording quality is of no concern.



  • 1st Prize: Hohner Super 64 Chromatic Harmonica, Hohner Shirt and Hat
  • 2nd Prize: Hohner Discovery 48 Chromatic Harmonica, Hohner Shirt and Hat
  • 3rd Place: Hohner Tin “Vintage” Signage, Hohner Shirt and Hat


  • 8/1 - Submissions can be uploaded to website
  • 11/1 - No more submissions will be accepted and judging begins
  • 12/1 - Winners announced

Previous Contests

Visit for more information.

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