Top 10 Best Harmonicas for 2019 Reviews

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Harmonicas are one of the most basic musical instruments out there, but it is extremely enjoyable to pull out and play at any time. It also fits into a lot of different genres of music, making it extremely versatile.

Most people are looking for a dependable, solid harmonica that plays well and sounds more expensive than it actually is. Here is a look at the top 10 harmonicas out there right now. This is a great starting point for anyone who is looking to get into this instrument, or upgrade from what they currently have.

1. Hohner Special 20 Harmonica Major C

Hohner Special 20 Harmonica Major C

There are a lot of people who believe that there is no better option for a harmonica out there than the Hohner Special 20 Harmonica. Like many of the harmonicas listed in this article, it is available in different keys depending on what a person is looking for.

Each harmonica is put together with the finest materials out there. The construction is top-notch, and it just feels like a premium option when in use.

Every new order comes with a free 30 day trial of online lessons, which is always a great plus for anyone who is starting. This is more of a seasoned veteran harmonica, but just about anyone can benefit from having one of the very best.

Pros:

- Great, all-around harmonica
- Free 30 day trial of online lessons
- Quality Materials

Cons:

- A little pricey
- Not the most durable

2. Hohner 1501BX Blues Band Harmonica C

Hohner 1501BX Blues Band Harmonica C

If the harmonica above is considered the best of the best from Hohner, think of this as more of an option for beginners. It still plays and sounds very well, but at under $10 fairly easily, it is more of a throwaway harmonica than anything.

Despite the cheap price, it still has a solid brass reed plate, a stainless steel cover and more quality options. It also sounds well, even after heavy use. It's virtually impossible to not get full value out of this harmonica. This is the perfect gift for someone who might have a little bit of interest in the harmonica, but they aren't quite sure yet if they will stick with the music instrument. For such a small investment, it's worth trying out.

Pros:

- Very affordable
- Quality parts for the price
- Made by a quality brand

Cons:

- Not the highest-quality sound
- Easy to break

3. Hohner Piedmont Blues Harmonica Set

Hohner Piedmont Blues Harmonica Set

Crafted specifically for people who are into playing the blues, this is a set that is very valuable for the price. This is a harmonica set that comes in seven different keys, and it also has a solid carrying case for easy travel.

Each harmonica is not the highest quality ever, but it still has a great sound that people like using. Having the ability to switch in and out of different keys in a matter of seconds is great as well.

Beginners usually have a tough time figuring out which key they should use. For the most part, people are trying to learn what sounds the best to them. Give it a try and see exactly how it all works out. More often than not, people are surprised with the quality of the set for such a cheap price.


Pros:

- 7 different options
- Hohner brand
- Great carrying case

Cons:

- Harmonicas don't feel or sound the best
- Difficult to decide between for beginners

4. Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica Key of C Blues

Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica Key of C Blues

This is the only harmonica featured in this article from Swan, but that does not mean that they are a subpar brand. In fact, many people view the brand as one of the best for cheaper options. This is another harmonica that is under $10, but plays at a much higher level.

Beginners will really enjoy the fact that this harmonica performs well. It is very easy to hear the notes being played when a new player has a breakthrough. They also offer many different colors, making it a fun investment for players to get a more customized look.

One thing that really stands out is that this harmonica seems built for children in particular. It is a little easier to hold, and The design seems kid-friendly as well. It also comes with a pretty durable storage case so that it isn't accidentally damaged.

Pros:

- Optimized for people of all ages
- Great storage case
- High-quality sound for the price

Cons:

- Lack of brand recognition
- Some people have struggled keeping it in great shape

5. Hohner Marine Band Harmonica Key of C

Hohner Marine Band Harmonica Key of C

The Marine Band is one of the most recognizable harmonicas in the world. It has been around for well over 100 years, and has been used by some well-known musicians in every single type of music.

Even though it seems like a pretty fancy product, it is anything but. What people love about it is that it is very simple, and with plenty of history behind it, it just makes sense to not mess with what works overtime.

The classic model might not be for everyone, but it is the best for a folk kind of sound. Most people love the nostalgia that it brings, but it is also something that is as serviceable as any of the other harmonica is listed.

Pros:

- Same look from 1896
- Plays well with any type of music
- Easy to handle

Cons:

- Better options available now
- Sound isn't as great as in the past

6. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica Key of C

Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica Key of C

Many people think of Fender as a brand that only focuses on guitars, but they have a variety of musical instruments to choose from. They were established in the 1940s, and they have something for just about any type of musician, regardless of skill level.

The Fender Blues is a pretty basic harmonica that a lot of people love practicing on. It is a very versatile piece of musical equipment, which means that it can be used with just about any type of genre of music. A lot of people describe it as a very distinct, articulate town, so keep that in mind when shopping.

Out of all the harmonicas, this might be the absolute best at keeping everything pretty dry overall. Moisture will inevitably get into harmonicas from time to time, but this one was able to hold up well.

Pros:

- Fights against moisture well
- Quality Fender workmanship

Cons:

- A little plain
- Doesn't have a distinct sound

7. Harmonica Mugig Harmonica 10 Holes 20 Tones Key of C

Harmonica Mugig Harmonica 10 Holes 20 Tones Key of C

This is one of the highest-rated and most popular harmonicas on Amazon right now. A lot of people are very happy with the purchase, and it is pretty easy to see why. The company keeps things pretty basic overall, and the quality of materials used stand out.

One thing that does catch the attention of some people is that it is a bit on the smaller side, which might not be the best for children trying to learn. It is however, great for portability, as people can take it on the road with them anywhere. Just throw it in the pocket and it can be completely hidden.

The sound on the Mugig Harmonica is a pretty lively one, which is great for anyone who is doing a solo performance. Even though this is a pretty cheap option overall, this could perform at a high-level and people would not know the difference.

Pros:

- Stylish
- Perfect for live performances
- Compact

Cons:

- A little too small for younger players
- Not everyone loves the sound

8. Clearly Colorful Translucent Harmonica Blue

Clearly Colorful Translucent Harmonica Blue

There are some pretty cheap harmonicas on this list, but this one takes the cake. An option that is under five dollars is certainly not going to be for everyone, but it is meant to be for those early learners.

Available in four different colors, people definitely will not get the best sound ever out of these harmonicas. However, they are fine and easy to learn with, and it is made of some durable materials that will hold up over a lot of months of heavy use.

If there is one drawback, it is the fact that this is the only harmonica that does not come with a case. That is at least somewhat expected, since it is a little bit inexpensive, but it would still be nice if that was included.

Pros:

- 4 colors to choose from
- Durable
- Built with younger players in mind

Cons:

- No case
- Quality parts are lacking

9. Harmonica for Toddlers, Kids, and Adults Musical Instrument for Beginners with 10 Holes and 20 Notes

Harmonica for Toddlers, Kids, and Adults Musical Instrument

Even though it has a professional-looking finish, this harmonica is perfect for any type of player. Beginners like using this because it looks like a truly remarkable piece of equipment, but it is priced very affordably. Younger children will like the fact that they never feel like they are overwhelmed with what it is capable of doing.

Pros:

- Perfect for any age
- Affordable
- Makes learning easy

Cons:

- Not the highest quality
- Quality control issues at times

10. NEUMA Harmonica 10 Holes 20 Tunes Mouth Organ Blues Deluxe

NEUMA Harmonica 10 Holes 20 Tunes Mouth Organ Blues Deluxe

This vintage turntable system combines the classic record playing style of yesterday with the newest technology of today. The external full-range stereo speakers and the built-in Bluetooth enable you to stream music wirelessly from devices like Androids, iPhones, Tablets, iPads and Smartphones.

The system is housed in an elegantly-styled cabinet, which can be used as a centerpiece and bring flair to any space around the house. It has a unique Vinyl-to-MP3 function that provides you with the capability of saving all your old records as digital MP3 files.

Its three-speed selectable vinyl playback capability allows you to listen to all of your records. This system is designed to deliver rich stereo sounds. You can revel in the iconic and classic style mixed with the latest hi-tech features.

Pros

• Visually appealing
• Amazing sound quality
• Sturdy and solidly assembled

Con

• Needle tend to bounce on newer vinyl

Harmonica Selection Tips

The market is filled with different types of harmonicas, which stand out in terms of sound, design complexity and the price. For this reason, when selecting a harmonica, you need to evaluate various factors that best suit your needs.

The first step in choosing the right model is to understand the difference between the diatonic harmonica and the chromatic unit. In addition, you have to familiarize with individual components.

Materials

The body is generally made of plastic or wood but there are models made of acrylic, brass or aluminum. The thickness of the plates and the number of screws with which they are fixed to the body should also be kept in mind. The larger these values, the more stable the sound produced by the harmonica.

Which one should you choose, then? For beginners, experts always recommend the plastic model since it is more comfortable. During the early days, most users tend to drool more and the moisture penetrates the wooden body causing it to bloat and come out of the seat. As a result, the user’s lips can be affected.

With regards to sound, it is darker and more muffled than wood. The latter has the advantage of a more aggressive and ringing sound, which is why most harmonica players choose to adopt wooden units.

If you are willing to spend a few extra bucks, you can get around the problem of the ‘self-reforming’ piece. There are models on the market built with slightly more valuable woods than those of low-cost harmonicas. These models do not swell and, therefore, they reach a level of comfort similar to that of plastic.

The harmonica is the most personal instrument ever invented. To play it, you have to use practically the whole body (hands, lips, throat, tongue, diaphragm, lungs) and it takes time to know which harmonica is best suited to your body and personality.

Playing style

Another element to consider is the notes: only the letter C, which corresponds to the note ‘Do’ is present in the tonality of the standard harmonics (recommended for the beginners).

This type of instrument is mainly related to folk and blues music. This is a very practical tool. It is not expensive, does not require special care and can fit into any bag or even in the pocket. It is not difficult to play (just a little talent and you can learn by yourself).

The universal variants suitable for all styles and recommended for beginners are diatonic harmonics. Each is tuned according to a given tone, for example, C major. So if you play a piece in C major, the harmonica will always be in tune. Its principle is simple.

The player blows (or sucks) air and vibrates small reeds (laminae) inside the instrument. If you want to play the diatonic harmonica in a group, you will need a complete set of different tones. This makes it easier to adapt to the other musicians and the tone of the piece played.

For example, when playing country and bluegrass genres the harmonica player should have at least two diatonic harmonics (one in C major and the other in G major) as this is the most common tone in these musical genres. If you also get support to attach to the neck, you can play another musical instrument at the same time (the most common combination is: mouth organ + guitar).

Types of Harmonicas

It is important not to make mistakes when selecting a harmonica; that is, choose the right one for your project and your specific needs. The first thing to understand different types of instrument available on the market.

Many famous musicians have written wonderful songs thanks to the harmonica. The diatonic is about 12 centimeters long and consists of ten holes, which allow the production of up to twenty notes. As for the diatonic harmonica, the breathing techniques are simple. This allows you to learn to play the harmonica in less time.

The mouth harmonica is an apparently quite simple instrument yet, in reality, it is rather complex both to play and choose.

Chromatic Harmonics

The chromatic harmonica is sophisticated; thus, it takes longer to learn. However, this instrument has the advantage that it allows you to play in all the tones thanks to its internal structure and twelve holes.

For this reason, the chromatic variant is well suited to people who want to become professionals playing various music genres – from jazz to classical music.

These variants ensure the entire chromatic scale (or sequence of semitones) work optimally. In the past, they were the most widely used type of harmonica, especially in tramp music and jazz. In fact, the chromatic harmonica is ideal for these musical genres but it has limits. This is why the chromatic harmonicas were gradually replaced by the more universal Richter diatonic harmonica.

The central part of the instrument is the body, which can be generally made of plastic or wood. Some manufacturers offer a special type of harmonica with a body made of brass, aluminum, acrylic or precious woods. It is important to pay close attention to the two plates that are screwed to the body and to the number of screws.

Diatonic harmonica

Diatonic variants are divided into units with full scale and instruments with Richter tuning. The latter do not have a complete scale and the player must resort to some technical devices. They can be used to play various music genres, including blues, folk and bluegrass.

This type of instrument allows you to play in a single tonality and are widely used. It has a length of about 12 centimeters and notes are produced either by blowing or sucking from the same hole. The ten holes can reproduce 20 notes.

For aspiring diatonic harmonica musicians, this variant is certainly the most recommended as it is simple and quick to learn. It can also be used for various types of musical genres: from blues to country and folk to rock.

Top Harmonica Brands

Some of the best brands to consider when selecting a harmonica include Neuma, Hohner, Eastar and Swan. Neuma offers an impressive collection that includes Neuma Harmonica 10 Holes. It is a ten-hole harmonica in key C that adapts to any musical genre. The first thing that leaps to the eye of this new model is certainly the low price.

Its dimensions are rather small and therefore it sits quietly in your pocket. It is equipped with a plastic case to store the instrument when it is not in use. Before storing it, remember to use the cloth included in the package for quick cleaning.

Hohner is a brand that has a great track record. It offers many models including a ten-hole C unit. Many buyers appreciate the proximity of the holes, which is greater than other models in its category. This simplifies the playing technique. Despite being an entry-level harmonica, the sound quality is satisfactory. The same applies to the quality to price ratio.

Eastar Harmonica (24 holes) is a well-built model capable of producing quality sound. It has 24 keys and is in C’s tone. The tuning is good and precise. Bending does not present any particular problems, which is far from obvious considering the price range. The reeds, according to some, are excessively soft.

Average Harmonica Pricing

You can purchase quality harmonicas for prices ranging from $8 to $70 depending on your specific needs. Models, such as the Hohner M2009BX-C Harmonica are highly rated and provide real value for money.

Question and answers (Q&A)

Which harmonica brand is best?

Hohner offers premium quality options that are worth considering when selecting a harmonica.

What type of harmonica is best for beginners?

A diatonic harmonica’s simplicity makes it a viable option for beginners. The Swan harmonica is one of the best-selling models among beginners. It costs little and this encourages even the most hesitant to buy if they don’t know whether they will ever learn to play it. However, the price must be a clear indicator of what to expect.

It is even superfluous to say that the instrument is not suitable for professionals or anyone who already knows how to play the harmonica. It is certainly a good pastime for people who rarely play or to put it in the hands of a child. As for the holes, there are ten of them, they don’t always all sound as stated in several reviews.

Is the harmonica easy to learn?

A diatonic unit is easier to learn than the more sophisticated chromatic harmonica. Autumn is the best time to start new courses and engage in hobbies and sports that you have always kept as dreams in the drawer. Fitness, dance and singing courses and, why not, acting.

The most popular ones are those for learning to play an instrument chosen by those who, for example, want to take the first steps to play the drums. If you want to stand out and be the whimsical element of the band, here is something that will do for you: the harmonica.

Do you use your tongue to play the harmonica?

Allowing your tongue to make contact with the instrument produces smooth transitions.

Do harmonicas wear out?

Reeds wear out over time.

Do harmonicas need servicing?

You need to clean your instrument regularly.

References:

https://www.hohner.de/en/instruments/harmonicas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonica

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/harmonicas

 

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