14 Best Harmonicas [Buyer's Guide + Reviews 2019]
Posted in Misc | Last Updated on June 11, 2019
If you have ever wanted to play the harmonica, you have come to the right place. This musical instrument has been available since the last century. It is an excellent piece of wind instrument that comes in a small size. Even with a small size, they are durable and sturdy instrument that will bring life to your band and your music career.
We have done our homework in bringing forth the top harmonica review. This list is the result of hours of research and examination of customer feedback. Hence, we are sure you will find in here that pleasant wind instrument that will suit your need.
Take a look at our best fourteen harmonicas available in the market.
Seydel Blues Silver 1847
It comes in a stainless steel reed with noncorrosive silver finish. It doesn't feature the classic 1847 maple comb, preferably a solid polymer comb. It has a cover plate that is friendly to the lips and beard, with a round edge design.
It is 4.4 inches long with 10 holes. We love the superb quality built into this harmonica; besides, it comes with built-in steel reeds.
We also love that it is easy to grip and play with compared to other models. It comes in an ergonomic design with nonvented cover plates which gives warm tones. Its loudness and high responsiveness are also one of the things we appreciate about it.
Hohner Marine Band 1896: Runner Up
Designed by Hohner, this is one of the original blue harps. Over the years, many well-known musicians (John Lennon for example) have played this classic wind instrument. It is known for the patented steel cover and the wooden comb.
It has 10 holes and 3.9 inches in length. It is pretty affordable and gives a bright and warm sound. It is an excellent companion if you want to play rock, country or blues music. It has quality exterior and responsive reeds
Some users, however, complained of the small home which could be quite problematic for beginners at first. It should not be exposed to moisture due to the wooden hole to prevent swelling. We recommend this for professional and intermediate players.
Seydel Big Six Blues Classic
This is a six-hole miniature harmonica which features a beautiful thin packaging. There is also a lanyard which you can wear around your neck. While it looks like a toy, it gives out a classic professional sound due to the stainless steel reed that forms the instrument.
It measures 2.9 inches in length with combs made of wood. It gives a full, loud and clear sound just like a 10 hole harmonica. It can play varieties of song and users find it easy to work with. One of the things we like about it is that even though the comb is made of wood, it didn't swell after a long period of use.
For everyone who wants a compact harmonica, this is a good option.
Hohner Special 20
This has been the top choice for many veterans in the music industry like John Popper. This particular brand features airtight design as well as recessed reed plates which make it pretty responsive. The comb is made of plastic which makes it pretty durable.
We love the sturdy comb with recessed reed plates which makes it pretty comfortable to play, clean and maintain. Users can expect it to be durable, with little tendency to wear and tears since the effect of moisture is reduced.
Some beginners, however, reported that it was quite challenging to draw on some of the holes. Overall, it is pretty easy to use when it comes to bending.
Lee Oskar - Key of C, Major Diatonic: Best For beginners
This is a big rock and blues harmonica that you can quickly get. It is a diatonic harmonica which can be tuned perfectly for jazz and country music. It is a diatonic harmonica which has received the utmost attention from music lovers all around the world.
This has been the top choice of many due to the quality of sound and super design and construction. Lee Oskar Harmonica is the first choice of most professional and intermediate players. It is easy to use. Hence, you have a cool wind instrument that will bring out the best in you with this harmonica.
Suzuki Humming – Tremolo-21-C
Manufactured by Suzuki, this is one of the most popular tremolo harmonicas. It blends pretty well with old music and ancient gospel music. This harmonica enjoys superb technology and comes with two reeds which are tuned to the same notes. One of the reed, however, is tuned a little higher than the other.
This harmonica produces a perfect sound and is recommended for professional players. People with significant experience playing the harmonica will find it easy to manipulate this wind instrument. It features solid construction materials meant to last many years to come.
Boseno 10 Hole Double Tremolo Harmonica
This harmonica stands out in that it was made out of an imported bronze reed. It comes with copper volume which gives out a sound spring intonation for users. Inside it is a thick copper plate which gives this instrument a clear and resonant sound.
The cover design is made of copper which makes the harmonica strong and capable of lasting use. Also, Boseno harmonica features the best quality ABS resin frets. It is light in weight and easy to handle. Beginners and intermediate players will have a good time playing with this wind instrument.
Ladnis - Harmonica C 10 Holes
With 10 holes and 20 tunes, these harmonica suites well for varieties of genre, be it jazz, county and classical. The reed was made using complete bronze which makes it resistant to corrosion. The frets also come in nontoxic ABS grade resins.
Weighing just 3 ounces, it is light and easy to play. It is the ideal gift for lovers of music, friends, kids, and people who love harmonicas in general. You are guaranteed of a clear and melodious output with Ladnis Harmonica.
It is recommended for professionals, students, adults and beginners alike.
Hohner Marine Band Harmonica, Key of C: Overall Best
Hohner Marine Band Harmonica made into this list because it is one of the best harmonica brands in the world. It is noted for its full tone and wood comb. It comes in the C key, although with other primary keys available like minor tuning, higher and lower octave.
It is made of single lacquered pearwood comb and features arched stainless steel cover with side vents. It is handmade and comes in a particular protective case. This is the only harp played by top professionals like John Lennon and other notable musicians.
It features cutting edge technology which allows the harp gives a quick response and significant volume. It is a blue harmonica with fixed melody and undivided air flow for utmost satisfaction.
Fender - Key of C: Best harmonica For Blues
Blue Deluxe harmonica comes with a key of C, designed to suit players of all levels. It features a classic tone and an outstanding pitch which was made possible by the molded PVC comb. It also features brass reeds which gives it the a resonating sound pleasant to the ears.
This harmonica is easy to play, comfortable and does not cause fatigue. This is due to the traditional shape as well as the chrome metal cover which makes playing on this wind instrument pretty easy. Besides, players have access to seven keys: C, G, A, D, F, E, Bb.
Mugig - MK 2
If you need a model with a rich tune, Mugig pro is a good option. It is recommended for folk, pop, and blues. We recommend it for beginners as it can help build your skill. With the ABS resin comb, it is easy to play and can be washed.
It comes with 10 holes, and the player can have 20 notes. In a single key, the player can play chords effortlessly. The phosphor bronze reeds and stainless steel cover make it very durable, giving out rich tone.
It can fit your pocket meaning you can take your music anywhere with you. It gives stable sound and can be easily blown compared to other harps.
Swan - SW1020-7 (Best Budget friendly)
This classic harmonica comes with high-grade material and exquisite appearance. It is made of a copper plate and silver steel cover plate. This makes it durable and stainless. It is a C key harmonica capable of giving 20 tones with 10 holes. It is small in size, easy to use and perfect for beginners as it comes with detailed general instruction.
This is your ticket to a rich and pure blue sound as each recorder is tuned correctly and tested after manufacturing to ensure it meets standard. If you want to learn how to play, this harmonica is a good start.
This is a good value for the money, perfect for kids interested in developing their skill on the harmonica.
Eastar - Major Blues Diatonic
If you need a harmonica to give out a vivid, clear and distinct sound, Eastar Major Blues Harmonica is the right choice. This is the ideal choice for beginners and intermediate players. It is well noted for its pure, accurate and sweet sound. It is a made of a unique brass base which gives a stable resonance and right airtightness.
It is easy to clean with ABS edging. Hence you will not experience a hurting hand. There is a built-in airflow splitter which helps maintain a stable airflow. With this, beginners can play and master their craft on the harmonica with ease.
Weighing huts 15 grams, it comes with essential accessories like harmonica cloth, user manual, etc.
Anwenk Harmonica Key of C 10 Hole
This is a very good choice which comes with copper reed plate and stainless steel cover plate. This gives out a rich and full sound. Its end is fully enclosed which reduces air leakage, enhancing the tone. This is the best choice for everyone who wishes to develop their skill on the harmonica.
It has ten holes, a key C diatonic harmonica suitable for folk, blues, and pop. It is small, perfect for a gift to your child or loved ones. The hole surfaces are smooth and feature plastic comb and sleek chrome steel cover which makes it easy to slide across the hole, reducing moisture.
Users get access to the case, instructions and we love the 6 months money back guarantee that comes with this harmonica.
This part of the article is meant to guide you into choosing the best one. If you want to get one of these instruments, we recommend going for a quality one, like any of the ones discussed above. Bear in mind that harmonicas are not expensive; hence, you should never go for a second-hand model.
Before you, however, get a harmonica, there are parts of the different components, the features and what you should consider in each before making a selection.
This is the main feature of the device. It has air chambers that cover the reeds. It is arranged like a comb which gives it the name. Combs are made of different materials, and the most common are:
Wood: this material offers a warm sound than most materials and also gives a natural feel, the choice of professional players. The problem with wood, however, is the sensitivity to water which could make it swell and warp on coming in contact with water.
Metal: this usually comes in the form of stainless steel or aluminum. While it is expensive, it doesn’t damage or wear out quickly. This guarantees a constant use.
Plastic: this is the most common used material for making harmonica combs. It is convenient to play and lip friendly. Some high-end models come in Plexiglas. The problem with this is the tendency to crack after some period of use.
This is another essential part of the harmonica because it determines the quality of sound produced. We have two major types of cover design:
Traditional Open Cover Design: this usually comes in stamped plastic or metal. They are typically held together in place with a screw or nail. Many low and medium priced harmonica do come with open plates cover design.
Closed or Cover Design: with this, users get a louder, more vibrant tone. It is present on brands like Suzuki Promaster and Hohner Super 64.
Choosing Your First Harmonic: if you are beginner, we recommend going for the diatonic harmonica type. This is pretty easier for a beginner compared to tremolo or chromatic variety. Depending on the kind of music you want to play, each comes with distinct strength
The diatonic type is recommended for country, blues music, country, and fork music.
The Chromatic type is recommended for classical and jazz music
The tremolo type is best for folk music and the Asian folk dances
Best Harmonica Brands
It could be pretty tedious looking for the best harmonica brand to buy. With so many options out there, making a decision could be confusing. In this regards, we have picked a handful of top harmonic brands for you to review.
This is one of the most popular brands. They are known for creating various diatonic harmonicas with multiple names. This brand is a go-to choice of professionals since ago. This is due to the outstanding quality which sets them apart from many other brands.
Hohner comes with various options recommended for beginners and professionals alike. This explains why it is the top choice of many people.
Fender comes with various harmonicas designed to be played with the guitars. The brand is one of the household names in the musical instrument industry.
Generally, blue players are known to play their harmonica on a holder which links to a guitar, with both playing simultaneously.
They have made available much range of harmonica to make this possible. It often gives out a rich and robust blues tone.
Swan is known for producing quality harmonicas on accessible prices that last pretty long. They are the best producer of beginner harmonicas.
If you want to start playing the harmonica as a hobby, this is a good brand that offers impressive value for the money.
Types and Tuning Difference
Just like any musical instrument, harmonica comes in various types. They vary in the aspect of the type of music you can play with them, their feel and how easy they are to play.
The most common types available in the market:
- Diatonic Harmonica
This is the most common type and is especially recommended for beginners. They are usually configured to play a single key. However, you can get them to play in other keys by having the harmonica tuning done in the ‘Richter' diatonic tuning. This will, however, be possible via additional pressure in the reeds.
- Chromatic Harmonica
This is the second most common type. This class of harps comes with a side button which helps configure airflow around the harmonica, which flows to the reed.
Using the side button will give you the chance to play in the changed diatonic major scale that your harmonica comes with. This makes the chromatic harmonica able to play in the entire 12 notes of the Wester scale.
Chromatic harmonicas come in 12, 14 or 16 holes. This depends on the keys you intend to cover. Many players choose to go with the key of C type because it enables them to play easily with other keys.
If you are interested in solo tuning, a chromatic harmonica is the best to go for. With it, you will have the lowest note of the 12 holes chromatic at middle C key. The 16 note chromatic on the other hand will have its note beginning at a lower case.
- Tremolo Harmonica
This type of harmonica can play two reeds at once. It is also a common type of harp that is noted for varying reeds – one flat and the other sharper. Quite a number of people feels that this accounts for why the song’s pitch changes even if the player plays the same note many times over again. This type is quite popular in East Asia due to their folk music.
- Orchestral Harmonica
This is a very specialized type of harp which features majorly during orchestra performances. With this harmonica, the player can guide other band members through the pitch and range of the song while changing the keys.
Taking care of Your Instrument
It is very critical to take excellent care of your harmonica. Cleaning it regularly will ensure that the quality of tone it produces does not change. If it is the plastic type, you can rinse it in lukewarm water to make sure it remains cleans and fresh always. You should however not try this if any part is made of wooden or metal to prevent gradual deterioration.
To also ensure that you clean it properly, we recommend using isopropyl. This is a type of alcohol which you can get in a spraying bottle. It is an excellent way to disinfect your harmonica and keep it free from germs and dirt.