The harmonica music instrument is such a fascinating instrument for music enthusiasts to possess. I can vividly remember my first encounter with this instrument during my freshman year in high school. Before my encounter, I had always found music equipment interesting but the harmonica increased my interest in them.
In a music class, my music teacher introduced us to various musical instruments but when she got to the harmonica, everybody was happy. The instrument itself looked unique with nice designing. I had never seen anything like it until that day. Every student was curious to get his or her hand on the harmonica. Once the teacher played the harmonica, we were all amazed. The tune that came out of it was melodious and the sound is of great quality. She played across different pitches that even as a kid, I was impressed by the sound and excited by what she did with the instrument.
Back home I told my parents to get one for me. Ever since I heard my music instructor play this instrument, the sound and appearance have become an inextricable part of my memory. I later go to have one. I started learning, today I am adept at playing this instrument, and it has become one of the best musical instruments that I love playing. The harmonica has occupied a special place in my heart that I am greatly happy about knowing this instrument. I am always eager to introduce people to this musical instrument. Besides, what is special about the harmonica?
The harmonica, also known as the mouth organ or French harp is a free reed wind music instrument that is played across music genres. It is popularly used in jazz music, classical music, folk music, blues and more. The harmonica is played with the mouth by blowing air into one of the holes along with the mouthpiece. The holes are known as reeds and generate alternating musical sounds.
There are different harmonica types including chromatic harmonicas, diatonic harmonicas, orchestral harmonicas, tremolo-tuned harmonicas, chord harmonica, etc. It has five basic parts. These are the comb, reed plate, cover plates, windsavers, and mouthpiece.
This exceptional music instrument dates back to the early nineteenth century in Europe. The first harmonica is written independently by different scholars to be invented around 1820 by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann. This was after free-reed instruments like the Chinese sheng were introduced into Europe. Just like every other musical instrument, the harmonica needs the skill to be able to play it. You can buy any design that best compliments your skill.
Are you looking for a suitable harmonica instrument to buy today? Do not worry because Surf n’ Buy has you covered. We have done the legwork for you reviewing some of the best harmonicas in the market today. We will provide you with information that will help you make an excellent choice.
Now that you know what the harmonica is about, let us look at some of them. Here are the top 6 harmonica products to consider buying today.
Top 6 Harmonicas
1. Hohner 590BX-A Harmonica, Key of A
This harmonica model is one of the best harmonica instruments from Hohner in Germany. Hohner is one of the popular harmonica brands that build harmonica that has excellent quality. This model stands out in so many of its features that make it worthy to be on our list. From the design to the sound it produces are exceptional and topnotch. Unlike most harmonicas, the Hohner 590BX produces good sound just by blowing or drawing air. Whether you are playing reclined at the back of your porch or you are playing for an audience, the Big River harmonica gets the job done.
For an increased volume, it features a 10-hole, plastic and airtight body. For better sound projection, there is an open-ended cover. The Hohner 590 Big River harmonica is easy and comfortable to hold with the aid of the contoured covers. This Hohner is just the perfect harmonica for beginners. This is because of how easy it is to play and the increased volume. It is affordable and has replaceable reeds, which is advantageous in cost-effectively replacing damaged reeds instead of going for a new harmonica. The body is well designed that makes it appear, attractive, robust and sharp.
The Big River Harmonica lasts forever if you properly take care of them. In case you want to clean its internals, this is easy. This is owing to the screws instead of rivets that make cleaning or repairing easy. The inability of the 590 harmonicas to retain moisture is also one of the reasons it generates beautiful and rich sound. This harmonica is a wonderful companion that you can take to a stage. In addition to all the great features it has, it is available in all the 12 major keys. For dependable performance, this harmonica is up to the task.
- The replaceable reed is a key feature for those that do not want to spend much on repairing their damaged harmonica. For a small cost, you can get a new reed and make continuous use of the Big River Harmonica.
- Thick cover plate, which makes the sound generated more melodious and clear.
- Highly affordable.
- Very suitable for beginners.
- Comfortable to play.
- The screws enable easy repairing or cleaning for maintenance.
- Contoured covers for better hold.
- Easily adjustable for overblows.
- Presence of side vents.
- No case included.
- A cardboard box.
The Big River Harmonica stands out in generating excellent sound and is very easy to play. It is comfortable to play especially for beginners. The replaceable reed makes it one of the popular choices for those that are economic about the harmonica. The presence of the screws instead of rivets makes it easy to lose to clean or repair. It is truly a mark of quality from Horner. Affordability is another impressive feature of this instrument. Also, this instrument is designed to stand the test of time and offer great value for your money.
2. Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, Key of D
The Special 20 harmonica is a high-quality musical instrument from a reputable and reliable company, Hohner. The Special 20 is a go-to harmonica for those that are learning how to play one. It is budget-friendly and very friendly with beginners. It has a compact design that makes it highly durable. What’s more, this harmonica is pocket-friendly making it possible for owners to take it to any place they want to. This is just a beautiful instrument for any level of player.
In addition to the excellent sound the Special 20 churns out, the plastic comb is another appealing feature it comes with. The plastic comb is better than wood combs as it does not crack, swell or shrink because it does not absorb moisture. The plastic comb also has an airtight construction that increases responsiveness. It cannot be twisted or swollen, which in turn enhances sound quality.
The Special 20 is an excellent choice for prevention of chaffing on the lips. The plastic along the reeds makes this harmonica smoother and comfortable to put around the lips. This combined with the great tunes it generates has been one of its selling points.
Another remarkable feature of this instrument is the recessed reed plates in its comb. This keeps the sharp edges found on brass reed plates from harming your lips. There are designs in place that minimize air loss to produce steady and bigger sound volumes. These features are essential for getting the best of sounds and playing experience out of a harmonica. What makes this instrument more interesting is that it is affordable. It does not require breaking the bank before you get one. Made of stainless steel, it is durable to last you for as long as possible. It is also easy to clean and maintain.
- Portable as it is pocket-friendly.
- Made of stainless steel, which makes it highly compact and durable.
- The Special 20 is safe to use. There is plastic that makes smoother and more comfortable on the lips. This prevents chaffing. In addition to this, the recessed reed plates in its combs that keeps the sharp edges on the brass reed plates from harming your lips.
- Airtight reduces air loss to produce bigger sound volumes.
- Very friendly for beginners and professionals.
- The sound produced is of high quality.
- Improved tuning accuracy.
- Ideal for blues music.
- To make the very best use of this the player has to be a professional.
- Non-replaceable reeds.
- It could be on the expensive side for most people.
The Special 20 is worth every penny it costs. This beast is capable of covering so many music genres. That plastic comb is molded to offer you a suitable comfort. The notes churned out are clear and of great quality. With all the features it is packed with, this is an instrument for many music players.
3. East Top Chromatic Harmonica, Key of C
The East Top Chromatic Harmonica can be considered as a great harmonica for people that are learning how to use the instrument. It is one of the best harmonicas manufactured by EASTTOP brand. This brand is known to manufacture and distribute excellent, unique and nice-looking harmonicas. They are popular for having a preference for top quality and guaranteeing players’ satisfaction.
If you are planning to hold a harmonica that is played by professional and across many genres, then this chromatic Harmonica is in the market for you to consider. It does not even cost an arm and a leg to acquire. This harmonica can be packed away in a stylish and portable case. It is 100% portable. The chromatic harmonica in the key of C helps you to explore up to 40 tunes as you play and discover new chords and get more creative.
The harmonica has a smooth and responsive performance that allows you to hit the notes clearly and accurately. Its body is made from high-grade materials that give it its chic and sophisticated appearance. Players will find this instrument easy to play especially considering it has a comfortable mouthpiece.
Notwithstanding all the top-of-the-line features, that this harmonica comes with it is highly affordable. Music professionals and teachers hugely recommend this instrument to those in need of one. A very good instrument to learn how to play the harmonica it is. Its stainless steel framework makes it durable to use for a long time. It can also be easily cleaned and maintained. The phosphor bronze reed makes the instrument impregnable to corrosion, which in turn maintains the color and aesthetics of the chromatic harmonica. This appealing diatonic harmonica is just worth buying and playing.
- This is a suitable choice for players at different levels. It is a suitable companion for beginners until they learn how to play the harmonica.
- Having a stainless steel cover and phosphor bronze reeds make this harmonica corrosion and scratch resistance to maintain its beautiful looks for as long as possible.
- Blowing in each of the 10 holes, you can explore up to 40 tunes. Enhance your creativity the way you want.
- The bronze reeds also enable players to produce natural and clear sounds.
- Cleaning and maintenance is easy
- There is a small case that enables you to keep this instrument away from dust. In addition, it enables you to take it anywhere you want.
- Though affordable, it is not everyone that can afford it.
- The reed plates may not be polished for clearer sounds.
- The case is very delicate but that does not cloud the nice features of the harmonica.
Do you intend to learn how to play the harmonica? Are you searching for a budget and pocket-friendly harmonica that you can take to and play anywhere you want? Do you want a Harmonica that has beautiful and natural sound quality? The East Top Chromatic matches these preferences.
4. Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, Key of F
Just as we described earlier, the Hohner Harmonica is one of the leading harmonica distributors around. Their products are of top quality. They distinguish themselves from other manufacturers with their rich tone, affordable and durable harmonicas. Any harmonica player can rely on their products for an excellent playing experience. Special 20, the key of F offers great features and rich tones. The outer body made of stainless steel ensures that it is durable. This diatonic harmonica is one that can be played by both beginners and professionals. It is available in all 12 major keys.
To show how remarkable and well built this sophisticated musical instrument is, it has become a harmonica of choice for John Popper, a recording artist, and many other artists that play various genres. From rhythm to blues, country, and folk, the Special 20 is up to the task. Another feature that draws players to this instrument is the mouthpiece. It is ergonomically designed with a molded plastic comb to enable players to have a better experience playing the Special 20. The Hohner has recessed brass plates that are mounted with strong screws to prevent them from budging during use.
One of the best features of the Hohner Special 20 is that it comes with a free 30 days of online lessons. This is very helpful for beginners who are serious about learning how to play the instrument. This time is enough to get a hang of the basics of harmonica playing. Whether you are playing jazz or pop music, the Hohner harmonica will help you excel in any environment. Its unique, natural, clear and rich sounds will help you develop a style of your own when playing the harmonica. If you are looking for an advanced harmonica, we highly recommend this product to you.
- Rich and natural sounds that will help you discover new sounds and excel in any musical environment.
- Molded plastic comb on the mouthpiece to help you avoid injuring your lips during play.
- Recessed brass plates mounted with strong screws to prevent them from budging.
- Stainless steel coat that makes it corrosion resistant prolonging its lifespan for as long as possible.
- Comes with 30 days of free harmonica lessons that will be helpful for beginners.
- It comes with features that make playing it easy and fun.
- It comes with a price that may not be affordable by some.
- One needs to achieve a professional status to be able to learn how to play this instrument efficiently.
We are Surf n’ Buy recommends this Hohner harmonica to those that have an interest in learning how to play one. It is affordable and yet packed with features that will enhance the playing experience. The molded plastic comb, 30-day free online harmonica tutorial, stainless steel coat, rich and natural sound production all make the Hohner Special 20 harmonica a beast to have. Even professionals will recommend this one harmonica to you.
5. Hohner Marine Band Harmonica, Key of G
The Marine Band, the key of G, the harmonica is a mouthful of joy that definitely provides players with a magical sensation during play. It is one of the best and most selling harmonicas in the world. Often, it is used as a benchmark for other harmonicas manufactured. To show how gold standard this harmonica is considered by many, even John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen had their own Band Harmonica.
The Marine Band has a 10-hole configuration and is tuned to the key of C. Unlike other harmonicas equipped with plastic combs, the Marine Band has wooden (pearwood) comb, which makes it a more traditional harmonica. The wood comb combined with the 20 reeds generates a full inimitable sound that distinguishes it from other harmonicas.
This great product is not purchased without a protective case to keep its beautiful features safe. In addition, there is a 30-day online free lesson that comes with the harmonica purchase. Just like every Hohner harmonica, the Marine Band harmonica is easy to play. This is most especially useful to beginners who are dedicated to learning how to play this musical instrument. An amateur can make a creative and great tone playing this instrument. Even professionals find it a very essential and fun-to-play instrument.
The Marine Band is ideal for playing country and American folk music. It is very responsive to effective bends. For maintenance, it is easy to clean. The mouthpiece is constructed in a way to deliver extra comfort to the player. You can find Stainless Steel cover on the harmonica that guarantees durability for long-term usage. Consider that this instrument is made by Hohner, a purveyor of quality and beautiful harmonicas, you can be sure to get the best value for your money buying this instrument.
- The combination of the wood comb, made from pear wood, and the 20 brass reeds produces a sonorous and powerful tune. This comes handy when players want to play and impress their friends or audience.
- After purchase, the Marine Band comes with a month free online lesson. Amateurs that are serious about learning how to play the Marine Band can capitalize on this.
- This instrument is easy and fun to play to bother beginners and professionals.
- The mouthpiece is comfortable to enable players to play the instrument for as long as they want without any injury.
- There is a case that protects the body and features of the Marine Band.
- It is hard to disassemble to clean or repair.
- Notwithstanding that it is affordable, some may find it too much to afford .
The Marine Band harmonica is a very nice instrument that is acknowledged by many as one of the best harmonicas available to play. If you are looking for a harmonica that is easy, fun, to play we recommend this harmonica to you. What is more amazing about this is how affordable it is. Truly, you will get the value for your money playing this wonderful instrument.
6. Marine Band Crossover Harmonica in Chrome – Key of Bb
The Marine Band Crossover harmonica is a top-quality harmonica manufactured by the German company, Hohner. It is a good harmonica for anybody that wants to go back to playing harmonica that has a classic and vintage design. This easy to play harmonica is one designed to help you play out vintage and fantastic sounds. It is very responsive making your attempt to play the instrument fun. The comb made of bamboo wood combines with the 20 Reed brass plates to produce ear-friendly sounds in the key of Bb.
The mouthpiece is ergonomic enough to guarantee you a safe and relaxing way of playing the Marine Band. It comes with a protective case that ensures you keep this magnificent harmonica safe. This harmonica is easy and fun to play. Beginners will not have a hard time trying to get a hang of it. Professionals highly go for it because of the feel and quality sound it offers. Without any doubt, the Marine Band Crossover harmonica is an excellent musical instrument that every harmonica player should have. We at Surf N’ Buy highly recommend it to you. In addition to all its brilliant features, it is very affordable.
- The Marine Band Key of Bb is a harmonica popular for the rich tones it produces. This feature has endeared it to the hearts of many harmonica-playing professionals and amateurs.
- It is very easy to play. This makes it well suited to beginners that are making a great effort to learn how to play the harmonica.
- It is pocket-friendly. This makes it highly portable as you can take it anywhere.
- The extra heavy Reed plate may make it uncomfortable to carry.
- Though cheap, it may not be afforded by many.
- There is no free 30-day free online harmonica tutorial.
The Marine Band Crossover harmonica is an invaluable musical instrument to have. Made of Stainless Steel it is highly durable. Are you looking for a harmonica that is easy to play? Are you searching for a harmonica that is budget-friendly? This harmonica suits these checklists. Considering that it is made by Hohner, you can be sure of getting true quality. They are dedicated to manufacturing harmonicas that are of top quality and very easy to play. This objective of theirs has led them to manufacture great harmonicas and thus has won them the admiration of many harmonica enthusiasts.
Which Key of Harmonica to Pick
Harmonica beginner players are always told to opt for a harmonica that will be easy for them to learn to generate great sounds. This is not always the case. To be able to pick the appropriate key of harmonica, you have to figure out the style of music you will be playing with it. A standard 10-hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C is well suited for starters. Diatonic harmonicas feature all the 12 keys. In addition, it makes harmonica playing easier as learning the harmonica theories is very easy to understand.
Best Harmonica for Beginners
If you are a beginner trying to grasp the basics of harmonica playing, the diatonic Hohner 590BX-A Harmonica, Key of A is well suited for you. It comes with great features that will make the learning process easy.
Best Harmonica for Professionals
For harmonica players that advanced, the East Top Chromatic Harmonica, Key of C is an excellent choice. It features top standard hardware and tones that enable you to put out professional performance on the big stage.
How Does Music Genre Influence Your Choice?
Each harmonica is designed to be played in a particular music genre. For example, the diatonic harmonica in the key of C is built to be well suited for jazz, blues, and classic music.
Types of Harmonicas
Just like every other musical instrument, there are different types of harmonica. They have different and unique features that make them suitable for a particular kind of music.
Below is a list of the types of harmonica available in the market today that you can choose from.
The diatonic harmonica is well suited for and commonly used by beginners. Specifically, each diatonic harmonica is designed to play a single key. The harmonica can be tuned to play in other keys using the usual Richter diatonic tuning. This is by applying additional pressure on the reeds to play keys and tunes it can’t ordinarily play.
It is commonly used in Blue, rock and country music and is found mainly in North America and Europe. The diatonic harmonica has a standard 10 holes and available in all 12 keys of music. It is also used by professionals.
The chromatic harmonica is another major type of harmonica available today. It features a characteristic side button that helps redirect air applied through the mouthpiece to any of the reeds of your choice. Owners of this harmonica can play all 12 notes on the western chromatic scale.
There are chromatic harmonicas with a different numbers of holes ranging from 12 to 16 holes. There are also different keys with the key of C, the most commonly played. This harmonica can be used for any style of music ranging from classical to blues, rock, Celtic or jazz and many others.
Another type and the third major is the tremolo harmonica. This type of harmonica has a distinguishable capacity of playing two reeds at the same time. The pitch of these reeds varies as one is sharper while the other is flat. The tremolo harmonica is popular in East Asia as part of their folk music.
The orchestral harmonica is a popular choice of harmonica used commonly in orchestras. Players can direct and change range, pitch, and keys of songs. It is of high quality and highly sought-after by amateurs and professionals.
The pitch pipe is another specialized type of harmonica. It is mainly used as a guide to direct singers and other music instrument players on the pitch to follow. There are different versions of the pitch pipe including the chromatic and string pitch pipes.
The former is used to perform 12-note octaves for choirs while the latter is used to tune open strings for string players.
This harmonica though electrically powered does not look any different from the traditional harmonica. It features a microphone that amplifies the tune generated without needing an amplifier. This harmonica is mainly used for a huge audience.
Tips on How to Learn to Play Harmonica
If you intend to learn how to play the harmonica, it is important to know that there are several steps to follow. Here is a list of tips on how to become proficient with playing the harmonica like a professional.
Choose the Right Harmonica
First things first, you have to choose the harmonica that will be easy for you to play as a beginner. There are various high-quality harmonicas available in the market for purchase at varying affordable prices. For a starter, either the diatonic or the chromatic harmonica is ideal. In addition, your choice of a music style will also determine the harmonica that you start with.
Set Out Time for Practice
Practice they say makes perfect. Just like when you are trying to learn anything new, making out time to practice is important. It may seem hard to practice when you have a tight schedule but this is highly feasible. 5 to 10 minutes can help you get a hang of the basic knowledge of harmonica upon which you can grow and enhance your dexterity. If you practice regularly, there is no doubt you will become better at playing the harmonica.
Have a Harmonica Free Practice
Did you know that you could learn how to play the harmonica without having one at hand? It is not just a great way to learn but also a way to hone your playing skills without drawing attraction to yourself. This practice involves practicing with your imagination. First off, close your eyes and imagine having the harmonica in your mouth. Now pretend that you are playing the instrument and regulate your breath.
Learn How to Breathe Correctly
Learning how to regulate your breath is one of the core things to learn about harmonica playing. Your breath is the powerhouse that dictates how the harmonica tune goes. There are breathing patterns that harmonica patterns utilize to play this musical instrument. You can look them up on the internet or find a good harmonica player to guide you on how to master these breathing techniques. You will become a better harmonica player if you can learn how to breathe correctly.
To be proficient at playing the harmonica, you have to have a healthy cardiovascular system. One way of keeping this part of your body in top condition is to exercise. Enhancing your cardio fitness is also a recipe to better your breathing pattern to play the harmonica better.
Practice with Like-Minded People
One of the great ways to stay motivated in learning how to play the harmonica is to practice with people. Learning how to play the harmonica all by yourself can get challenging and daunting at some point. When you have someone eager to learn harmonica playing as you as learning mate, you will always stay on course. Some several musicians and professionals are willing to help you learn. Find time to practice with them and you will become a harmonicist in no time.
There is a wide range of accessories that will help you play the harmonica better and keep it in better shape. While some of them come with the original harmonica package, others are bought independently. Here are some of the accessories you should consider buying for your harmonica.
Hohner Accordions MZ 2010 Flex Rack Harmonica Holder
This sleek black designed harmonica holder is necessary for players to leave their hands free to play other musical instruments.
HarpArm Ultimate Magnetic Mic Stand
This accessory encourages a harmonica hands-free playing without putting on a necking apparatus to lessen upper body stress and fatigue.
Hohner Harmonica Service Set
The Hohner harmonica service set is an accessory that contains a carefully selected set of tools necessary for everyday service and maintained of the harmonica to enable you to keep it in optimal shape.
Roche Thomas Mouthpiece Disinfectant
This is a topical antimicrobial, designed to remove the harmonica’s mouthpiece of microbial buildup, keeping it clean and hygienic for play.
Tuff-Luv Western Leather Rustic Harmonica Case With Belt Loop
This beautifully made accessory is a rustic looking leather case for protecting your harmonica with a belt loop to carry it about.
Absolute Beginners – Harmonica
Learning how to play the harmonica is made easy with this comprehensive harmonica course as it contains tips and step-by-step pictures on how to play the harmonica.
Vbest Storage Case for 7 Harmonicas
This is a bag made of soft and durable fabrics with inner slots designed for keeping up to 7 harmonicas in place.
Harmonicas are helpful musical instruments for beginners that are trying to gain a footing in the musical sphere. It is a fun and easy instrument to play. Many popular musicians including Steven Wonders and many others have played the harmonica. The harmonica is usually played alongside other musical instruments to enrich the percussion sounds. In bands, they easily rhyme with other musical sounds to produce a sonorous sound.
For beginners, they can opt for the diatonic or chromatic harmonica while advanced players can go for higher and more complex versions of the harmonica. The market is replete with harmonicas that are budget-friendly and yet possess great features to ensure an awesome playing experience.
At Surf n’ Buy we hold it as a belief that shopping for musical instruments should not be difficult and at the end of the day you should go for the best. This is one of the major reasons why we have done the legwork to put together a list of the best harmonicas available in the market. The guide also helps you with information such as the features, types, how to learn to play and the accessories of the harmonica. We sincerely hope that this will assist you to make a better choice of a harmonica and enjoy a smooth playing and journey into the music world.