Top 10 Best Harmonicas

Dave Mostert
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If you are a fan of blues, jazz, rock or folk, you probably enjoy playing the harmonica. Playing the harmonica requires no musical knowledge or understanding, but to begin with it’s better to learn some basic music theory.

So here are some guides for musical instruments for beginners.

A harmonica is a free-reed instrument that is played by the mouth. The mouth free reeds work by players breathing across them, causing them to vibrate and produce the sound. The type of harmonica you buy will determine the tone and playability.

NameCategoryProduct
Hohner Special 20 Harmonica 3 piece Pro Pack keys of G,C,ABest OverallHohner Special 20 Harmonica 3 piece Pro Pack keys of G,C,A
I-MART Diatonic 10 Hole Key of C Blues HarmonicaBudget PickI-MART Diatonic 10 Hole Key of C Blues Harmonica
Lee Oskar HarmonicaUpgrade PickLee Oskar Harmonica

1. Hohner Special 20 Harmonica 3 piece Pro Pack keys of G,C,A

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hohner Special 20 Harmonica 3 piece Pro Pack keys of G,C,A

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Pros:

  • Excellent quality
  • Affordable price point
  • Physical volume controllers keep audio nice and loud (but won't distort)
  • Easier to play than other harmonica models.
  • Everything you need is included: Stand, Hardshell Case, and a Tuner

Cons:

  • Not as attractive as other models
  • Lacks true harmonic qualities
  • Pretty light-weight

For the complete beginners who don’t really know what to expect from a harmonica, this is the perfect bundle for you. The product comes in a hardshell case and features the basics that you’re going to need in order to become the next Willie Nelson.

The bundle contains a 20, 12, and 10-hole diatonic harmonica. It also has an instructional DVD that will help you get started and also synchronizes with the song that you’re playing quickly.

The 20 key harmonica is made with a combination of stainless steel and brass with a vitreous enamel finish and can be easily cleaned with just a simple cloth or rag.

2. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica

Our rating: 9 / 10

Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica

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Pros:

  • Adjustable, comb-style cover
  • Sharply tuned notes
  • Durable plastic comb
  • Portable and easy to play
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Slight tuning issues
  • Tendency to stir up sound in phones, computers, and projectors
  • Notes may be difficult to learn

The Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica is one of the best harmonicas for the money. It has everything you need to get in on the fun: a sturdy, metal comb, sharp notes, and a handy adjustment comb that will make it easy for you to play almost any song you can think of.

The notes are clear and sharp, and they’re directly and evenly spaced. The Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica is tuned to the key of C, so you’ll be able to play to the most commonly used music. It’s a very easy-to-play instrument, and all you have to do is blow on it to start playing.

3. Hohner Marine Band Harmonica

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hohner Marine Band Harmonica

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Pros:

  • 36 different harmonicas in 12 different keys
  • Available in different styles
  • Well known brand
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Excellent quality for the price
  • Accepted to play along with band members in any situation
  • Choice of mouthpieces

Cons:

  • Not ideal for beginners
  • Harmonica case is made of cheap plastic

For those who are looking for some of the best cheap harmonicas on the market, then you really can’t go past the range offered by Hohner. Their harmonicas are not only highly regarded and trusted, but they also make a great choice for beginners wanting to hone their harmonica skills.

The Hohner H270 key of G Marine Band Harmonica is one of their most popular models and is on the list of the top budget harmonicas out there. It features an airtight design, 10 holes, and has an excellent sound, which is great for both beginners and those looking to upgrade from less expensive, entry-level harmonicas.

The tone quality of this harmonica is great, especially for the price. It really does offer excellent value for money, especially when compared to the other budget harmonicas available. It features a design that is similar to the Marine Band Deluxe Bronze model, however, it is a lot cheaper, making it a real bargain.

4. I-MART Diatonic 10 Hole Key of C Blues Harmonica

Our rating: 9 / 10

I-MART Diatonic 10 Hole Key of C Blues Harmonica

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Produces a decent sound
  • Comes with an instructional DVD
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Long-lasting
  • Improves breathing techniques
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Easy to disassemble and clean
  • Produces a great sound

Cons:

  • Some customers report the sound being somewhat fragile
  • The sound may be too trebly for some

This is a great little harmonica for beginners. It is small, easy to hold, and produces a nice sound. The harmonica is easy to learn on and it doesn’t take long to learn how to play simple songs such as the blues.

The harmonica comes with an instructional DVD and it definitely helps to have one of the really basic videos about how to hold your lips and how to blow before you begin. The DVD also really helps to get a good grip on some of the basics that you should learn on harmonica regardless of what kind you have.

This harmonica is perfect for kids as well. Its small size makes it just about the right size for little hands and you can easily teach your kids songs with one of these. It will also improve their breathing technique.

5. Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica Key of C Blues,Mini Harmonica

Our rating: 9 / 10

Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica Key of C Blues,Mini Harmonica

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Pros:

  • The harmonica itself is well-designed. The wood is comfortable to hold while playing.
  • It's small and fits very well in a small purse or bag.
  • A good firm seal when taking a deep breath, and is quite fun to play.
  • Other than being fun to play, you can also learn how to play blues tunes with it. There is a YouTube channel by Stevie Wonder that shows how to play various songs.

Cons:

  • This is the high note for this harmonica. It's not really accurate at the lower end.
  • It's difficult to get all the bluesy notes. However, when you get close to the correct note it's satisfying to play. It's primarily a high texture of sound that seems to emanate from the instrument.
  • You lose air power quickly when you pause on a note.

6. Diatonic Harmonica 10 Hole

Our rating: 8 / 10

Diatonic Harmonica 10 Hole

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Pros:

  • Includes a lot of goodies for the price
  • Professional looking
  • Frustration-free packaging
  • Well-known and trustworthy brand

This may seem like a super low-budget option in comparison to other harmonicas on the market, but it turns out that you get quite the bang for your buck with this one.

You get a diatonic harmonica with a very nice design. There’s also a polishing cloth, instructional booklets for basic techniques, and a couple of bonus songs you can learn.

We found that these bonus songs were quite helpful for beginners. Even if you don’t like them that much, at least they serve as good practice material.

7. Anwenk Harmonica Key of C 10 Hole 20 Tone Diatonic Harmonica C

Our rating: 8 / 10

Anwenk Harmonica Key of C 10 Hole 20 Tone Diatonic Harmonica C

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Pros:

  • Good price
  • Exact tone
  • Smooth
  • Light
  • Made of good materials
  • Compact design

Cons:

  • Little hard to blow
  • Sound is not loud

We believe that this top-notch harmonica is for everyone. It was created for beginners, students, and kids, but who said that more experienced players can’t also enjoy this musical instrument? It’s soft, with a lightweight design, and is easy to learn how to play. If you’re looking for a harmonicas for beginners, students, or kids, this is a great option.

The Anwenk Harmonica Key of C features a compact design that is easy to grip and appropriate for small hands. It’s a perfect addition to your camping gear, your travel kit, or your outfit.

It also comes with a storage box for its 10 beautiful holes and for its 20-tone design to maximize its value.

8. Lee Oskar Harmonica

Our rating: 6 / 10

Lee Oskar Harmonica

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Pros:

  • Widely popular option for beginners
  • Durable
  • Portable
  • Very affordable
  • Comes in various keys
  • Free online lessons
  • 3-year warranty

Cons:

  • Incompatible with some harmonica holders
  • Numbers on key and cover rub off over time
  • Treble side can be hard to play

Lee Oskar harmonicas are a top pick for beginners. Their cheerful colors, durable construction, and affordability make them a good value for beginners. The harmonicas are also popular with professional musicians, as they take up very little space and are built to last. In addition, they offer an online video lesson course that helps you learn about the different skills you need to have to play this instrument.

Features of the Lee Oskar Harmonica:

  • Key of C
  • 18 holes, 4 octaves
  • Rich, resonant sound
  • Durable plastic comb
  • Won’t break if dropped
  • Cover Plate: Metal with Lee Oskar Logo
  • Length: 125mm
  • Width: 40mm
  • Thickness: 9mm
  • Weight: 1.17 oz

9. Mippy Harmonica

Our rating: 6 / 10

Mippy Harmonica

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Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Ease of play
  • Available in different tones
  • Excellent price for the quality
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Great for beginners
  • Portable
  • Easy to clean
  • Durability
  • Beautiful tone and pitch

TheMippy Harmonica is a 10-hole blues harp that features a clear, crisp sound and a sturdy design that makes it not only ideal for beginners, but also convenient for anyone – from children to parents and grandparents. This harmonica is simple to use and has a duration of 10 seconds. While we recommend this instrument for beginners, it’s also great for more advanced players.

The Mippy Harmonica features a unique chromatic musical scale that allows it to play a wide variety of keys both in music and with instruments. This means that the harmonica is great for a range of genres. It is designed to provide better air circulation and an improved sound quality that adds to its sound. Made from plastic, this model is incredibly durable and has a great appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What brand of harmonica is the best?

Now, you might think this is an unfair question, because it doesn't provide enough information to be answered. Is the person asking the question talking about respect? Skill? Tone? Durability? Cost? Or something else?

For example, if they were talking about skill, then they’d be looking for harmonica teachers. If they were talking about tone, then they’d be looking for, well, different harmonicas.

Despite not providing much information, this is actually a highly common question, because many people have made value judgments about certain brands of harmonicas for no other reason than that's what they grew up with. So, we'll try to answer the core of the question without too much bias, because there are many factors at play.

What is the best professional harmonica?

Technical aspects:

Mechanical advantages:

Pricing:

The bottom line:

Gold standard in harmonica manufacturing for decades, Hohner's Crossover.

Are Swan harmonicas any good?

Swan harmonicas are one of the most underrated and overlooked brands around. They filled the demand for reliable harmonicas when no one else was there to do it.

Now, they are often the go-to brand for many harp players because they fill the void that most other brands leave. For instance, they make beginner, intermediate, and advanced harmonicas in all 12 keys. You can’t do that with any other brand we know of.

Other players like their harmonicas because they’ve always played the harps that they do. It’s hard to hear a bad thing about Swan harmonicas. Pros and beginners alike seem to love them.

If you’re interested in getting into playing harp, have a look at a Swan harmonicas. You can’t go wrong if you pick one up.

What is the most expensive harmonica?

While the professional harmonicas do typically cost more than the average, you can still find well-made harmonicas for a decent price. Just save your pennies for a good one!

There are many harmonica brands that are in the mid-range market and are some of the best-selling ones. Here are a few of the best selling harmonicas on Amazon and some of their best features.

The HOHNER Blues Band Harmonica is a favorite among many who enjoy playing this great instrument. The notes are made in Germany from lead and chromium free zinc. For the beginner, it’s easy to play and a great price.

Conclusion

Which is the best harmonica? There are so many different types of harmonicas available today. From a simple, beginner diatonic harmonica… to the big, flashy chromatic harmonica, there’s something for everyone. If you’re shopping on a budget then consider an instrument that offers what you want at an affordable price. For beginners looking to learn, choosing an instrument that comes with free instructional material is a good idea. Or you could visit your local music store to get a more personalized recommendation. Just remember that your harmonica is an investment. Be sure to choose quality over quantity at every cost.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Hohner Special 20 Harmonica 3 piece Pro Pack keys of G,C,ABest OverallHohner Special 20 Harmonica 3 piece Pro Pack keys of G,C,A
I-MART Diatonic 10 Hole Key of C Blues HarmonicaBudget PickI-MART Diatonic 10 Hole Key of C Blues Harmonica
Lee Oskar HarmonicaUpgrade PickLee Oskar Harmonica