Getting Started with the Harmonica: Buying Guide

The Harmonica is one of the easiest musical instrument to play, compact and easy to take anywhere. Harmonicas are available in various shapes and sizes, and available for players from beginners to pros. You get blues harps, chromatic, and complete sets in all the keys you need.

Various Names & Types

The harmonica is not just a popular instrument tin America & Europe, its also quite popular in other parts of the world.

The harmonica, also known as the mouth organ, has various nicknames, including blues harp, pocket piano and Mississippi saxophone.

Harmonicas are generally classified in three basic types: Diatonic, Chromatic and Tremolo. If you’re a beginner, you probably should go with a diatonic harmonica.

Major Diatonic harps are produced by several manufacturers using various names such as Blues Harp, Marine Band, Golden Melody, Big River, Special 20, Pro Harp, Folk Master, Star Performer, etc. Although the cover plates are stamped with a variety of different names for marketing purposes, all of these harmonicas have the exact same notation layout as the Major Diatonic.

Used in Various Genres of Music

The harmonica is used in a variety of musical genres – classical, folk, country, rock, blues, jazz. The Major Diatonic harmonica is the most commonly used tuning for playing Blues, Rock, Country Folk & Jazz.

Its also commonly used in folk music (and local music) in countries around the world.

How the Sound is Produced

To produce sound from the harmonica, you need to inhale and exhale into evenly spaced air channels; when you do that, the metal reeds placed within produce the musical tones.

The length and thickness of the reed determines the note that is produced.

Buying a Harmonica

Once you get a hang of the instrument, you should also consider owning a chromatic harmonica. The chromatic harmonica allows you to bend notes, which means you can play more songs on a chromatic harmonica, compared to a diatonic harmonica.

German made harmonicas are considered to be the best in the world.

Lee Oskar Harmonica, Key of C, Major Diatonic

Lee Oskars make some of the best harmonicas in the world. This one is a major diatonic harmonica, in the Key of C.
Suzuki SCX-48 Chromatix Series Harmonica C 12 Hole

The Suzuki SCX Chromatix Harmonica looks beautiful, is hand-constructed by skilled workers, has a ergonomically designed mouthpiece, precise and smooth slide mechanism, and ABS comb. It uses Phosphor bronze reed plates and Chrome-plated covers. Included is a deluxe, soft-lined case.

Watch: How to Play the Blues Harmonica

Learning to Play the Harmonica

Contrary to what many feel,the harmonica is actually quite easy to play. You can learn to play simple tunes in a few days.

There are many things that you can do very quickly, very easily on the harmonica (and it will sound great).

Over time, you will need to learn things like – breath control, tone control, single note technique, tongue, blocking technique, bending technique.

Harmonica Lessons for Beginners

Watch: Learn to move the harmonica, not the head.

Watch: How to play beginner harmonica chords.

Watch: Advantage of second position over first position.

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