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The Best Harmonica For Beginners

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Hello! Today I'll help you decide which harmonica to buy as a beginner.

What type of harmonica should you buy?

If you want to play blues, rock, pop, folk or country, you'll almost certainly want a 10 hole diatonic harmonica (sometimes called a blues harp). This is the most common type of harmonica for playing all of those genres. There are lots of other types of harmonica (chromatic, tremolo, bass, chord...) so it's easy to get confused if you are new to the instrument.

What key harmonica for a beginner?

I recommend you start with a harmonica in the key of C. This is because most lessons use this key. It's right in the middle of the normal range so you'll find it easier to play than a low harp (e.g. key of G) whose reeds can be heavy and harder to manipulate, or a high harp (e.g. key of F) that can be shrill and squeaky in the hands of a beginner.

What brand of harmonica is best?

I recommend a Hohner Special 20. This is a "mid-range" harp in terms of price. There are extremely cheap unbranded models that look very similar but it's worth paying a bit more because it will make it a lot easier to learn techniques like bending and playing blues. There are also some pretty expensive harps that probably won't be worth the extra cash at this stage (of course, you may want to invest in the future). I use Special 20 harps to gig and record and they are a good all-rounder at a reasonable price.

WIN: 5 harps plus carry case

I'm giving away a set of five Hohner Special 20 harps (in C, G, D, A and E) plus a case to carry them in. I can ship worldwide! (Entry deadline: Fri 12th November 2021) Click for more info.

Thanks for studying with me today. I hope you enjoyed the lesson!

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