Best Blues Harmonicas for Beginners In 2020

Best Blues Harmonicas for Beginners

Good music is soothing to both the mind and the soul. And for music lovers like me, it’s always fascinating to watch others play.

So, it really isn’t surprising if you want to try out a few instruments after a show.

In fact, most harmonica beginners confess that when they finally learned to play the musical instrument, it was simply magical.

But, let no one lie to you that it’s a single day affair, you have to exhibit dedication and resilience.

Below are the best 10 harmonicas for beginners to help you shop;

Best Blues Harmonicas for Beginners In 2020

1. Hohner 532BXC Blues Harp MS Modular

The Hohner 532BXC Blues Harp is sleek and attractive, but make no mistake comparing it to a simple toy.

It contains 10 singles holes and a peek inside reveals 20 reeds.

And like all other Hohner designs, this little mesmerizing thing is well constructed and offers durability to its users.

It comes with a plastic carry case, to ensure it isn’t exposed to random scratches as you move around.

And even if its diatonic blues harmonica tuned to key C, the wooden comb of this Hohner musical device enhances a fuller tone, giving it an unexpected loud sound.

Also, this 4-inch device gives its users a comfortable hold, making it easy to play even for a prolonged period.

It’s a gem and quite affordable at its price range.

Pros
  • Strong construction
  • Ease of use
  • Stainless steel cover
  • Good tone quality
  • sturdy plastic comb
Cons
  • Not so durable Brass read plates
  • Some challenges drawing on holes

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2. Hohner 560PBXC Special 20 Diatonic Harmonica

Hohner outdid themselves yet again with this little amazing harp.

It comes with a sound system, which is a perfect match for the blues genre.

The harmonica has a molded plastic comb, with a steel cover enclosure on both ends.

This reliable music instrument gives its users a glimpse of 0.9mm brass read plates, tightly screwed into place.

The special 20, like the Hohner 532BXC Blues Harp is diatonic and tuned to C-major.

Its sound quality is pretty amazing and those who have used it can’t keep calm about it.

The projected mouthpiece on the plastic comb makes it comfortable to play for long. Thus, making it ideal for players willing to spend a lot of time practicing.

Pros
  • Impressive sound system
  • Ease of use
  • 30-days free online course
  • Durable stainless steel covers
  • Convenient carrying case
  • Unique design
Cons
  • A few reed tuning issues

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3. Hohner Accordions Marine Band 1896 Harmonica

This is one of Horner’s original harps, and it hasn’t disappointed over the years.

And this is evident as it’s still being used by professional harmonica players even today. The likes of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, among others.

It’s quite similar to Horner’s Blue version with the 10 hole configurations and tuning to key C.

This little wonder is cleverly designed with a classic pearwood comb complete with 20 reeds.

And this assures its users a matchless sound quality when compared to other harps within its present price range.

The benchmark harmonica comes with a protective case and like all Horner harmonicas, users benefit from a 30-day free online course.

Pros
  • Classis Wooden comb
  • Rich sound
  • Plastic protective case
  • Meets Current industry standards
Cons
  • Difficult to disassemble and clean
  • Wooden comb swells when moist

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4. Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica

Away from the Horner, Lee Oskar also has its share of the harmonica lovers’ market share.

It continues to enjoy praise from the industry’s pro players and you can easily tell why at first glance as the craftsmanship is fascinating.

The little beautiful musical tool comes with a plastic comb, which is pretty easy to clean and maintain.

It’s an airtight design, with its responsive reed plates being securely held into place by the recessed bed.

This also helps in the projection of better sound quality.

Lee Oskar has been in the market for a while, and because of their experience and innovativeness, they have managed to provide their users with replaceable read plates for this harmonica line.

The replaceable plates offer easy installation thanks to their mountable capability.

It also has a 10-hole configuration, with larger holes for ease of play and a diatonic Key C.

Pros
  • Durable stainless steel cover
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Durable and replaceable reeds
  • Effortless bending
  • Large holed Plastic comb
  • Airtight design
Cons
  • No carrying case
  • Not great with advanced skills.

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5. ARTHOMES Harmonica

This compact harmonica comes with 10 holes and 20b tunes.

It conforms to a diatonic scale of key C major, which is ideal not only for blues but also jazz, rock, folk, and even pop-classical music.

And small enough to fit into a standard pocket thus making it suitable for beginners and pro players.

Its sound system is top-notch (clear and melodious), thanks to the 1mm bronze reeds, which guarantee rich and full notes.

Also, due to its non-toxic nature, it’s suitable for kids who love practicing on their own. Besides, it’s made of durable construction so you don’t have to worry about having to replace it any time soon.

Arthomes gives their customers a gift with each piece of ARTHOMES Harmonica they purchase. So, you get an additional 4-holes, 8-tones necklace harmonica with a professional appearance.

With the package, you will also receive a quality carrying case and a cleaning cloth to keep your tool clean wherever you’re.

On top of that, the impressive smooth finishing of this device gives easy access to the holes.

Pros
  • Sturdy structure
  • Airtight feature
  • Loud and clearer sound
  • Kids friendly
Cons
  • Few reports of failed lower notes

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6. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica

Evidently, Fender isn’t only good with their acclaimed electric guitars. They have a share of their customers in the harmonica world.

The Fender Blues Deluxe harmonica doesn’t disappoint. It’s neatly constructed with sturdy PVC and chromed metal construction.

It’s a Key C and offers ease of play to all levels of players while allowing them to be as versatile as possible.

The musical device comes with a vented hard plastic case to keep it safe and ensure durability.

Pros
  • Wide range of colors
  • Hard plastic case
  • Stylish
  • Allows versatility
Cons
  • Not loud enough

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7. Swan Mini C Harmonica

This budget-friendly harmonica makes an ideal pick for players working on a tight budget.

The C-key harmonica measures10*2*3cm and comes with 10-hole s and 20 tones

It has a durable construction of a stainless steel cover plate and copper read plates.

This beautiful Swan Mini device is ideal equipment for beginners and offers a 6 color choice.

So you get to select according to preference.

It also comes with an instructional manual, which is convenient for new users.

Pros
  • Durable plastic case
  • Very affordable
  • Various color options
  • Light
Cons
  • Less comfort
  • Not very loud

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8. Hohner Marine Band Key G Harmonica

We come again with a product from Hohner; one of the best-selling and famous harmonica brands in the world.

The Hohner Marine Band Key G is recognized across the world for its impressive full tone capabilities.

It comes with a pearwood comb and is tuned to key G, but you can also get one with lower and higher octave and other minor tunings.

It has been used by famous harmonica stars such as Paul Butterfield, John Lennon, among others.

So, as a beginner, you should feel privileged to possess one.

It carries 20 reeds complete with 0.9mm brass reed plates, which release amazing sound quality.

Also, expect to find a distinctive protective case in the package.

Pros
  • Easy to learn
  • Crystal clear sounds
  • Durable wooden comb
  • Quality for price
Cons
  • Hard to play holes 2&7
  • Hard to disassemble

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9. Johnson BK-520-C Harmonica

The Johnson brand isn’t new when it comes to musical instruments.

It has been around since 193993 and their Johnson BK-520-C Harmonica making it to this list is evident how well they have been performing.

The device offers 12 major keys, with the Key C being the famous of them all.

It comes in an air-tight design and contains brass reeds, which offer a lot of flexibility to support pitch bending.

This harmonica displays a classic appearance thanks to the recession of the reeds into the shell.

Plus it is so affordable, making it perfect for beginners and other players operating on a tight budget.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • 12-key options
  • Featherweight storage case
  • Great tone
Cons
  • Too calm reverb
  • Very basic

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10. Suzuki Bluesmaster MR-250 Harmonica

Suzuki is generally a well-known brand. And their Suzuki Bluesmaster MR-250 Harmonica tuned to key C doesn’t disappoint.

The 10-hole diatonic harmonica is easy to play, thus gives ample time to beginners.

It also comes with stainless steel covers, which guarantee the durability to its users.

The ABS plastic comb gives this harmonica quality sound with the support of the phosphor reeds.

Pros
  • Captivating sound
  • Easy to maintain
  • Airtight
  • Great design and finishing
Cons
  • Few reports on difficult to bend notes

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What Is the Best Type of Harmonica for Beginners?

There are various types of harmonicas.

But the standard varieties fall into the three categories of chromatic, tremolo and diatonic.

We are going to focus on comparing these three types to help us suggest the best type for you (as a beginner)

  1. Diatonic Harmonicas

This is the most common type of harmonica and because of this, it can be easily accessed from families and friends.

The diatonic harmonica releases a bluesy calming but powerful tone, which has made it extremely popular.

This explains the reason why it’s easily preferred for a variety of music styles. From blues, hymns, folk to gospel, one can never go wrong with this choice.

But for experienced jazz and advanced classical music artists, chromatic harmonica takes the day.

But even so, you can’t wake up one morning and decide to learn chromatic without any prior experience.

That’s why beginners should start their harmonica journey by learning diatonic, given that it’s much easier to learn than chromatic.

If you enroll in a harmonica class, then you will note that most teachers will start by teaching you the basic 10-hole diatonic to help you rise the ladder, fast.

Mainly, the diatonic harmonicas comprise of 10 holes, instead of the 12 basic music keys, the reason as to why they’re dense and simple.

Therefore, beginners should focus on getting key C harmonicas instead of those tuned with 12 keys.

The best 10 harmonicas list we reviewed fall under key C, so you can easily check them out and pick one.

  1. Chromatic Harmonica

These types of harmonica usually come with 16, 14, 12, 10, and 8 holes.

And while the 12-hole chromatic harmonica remains the most popular in the 12 keys, most professionals prefer using key C.

The chromatic has larger reeds, which will prove hard for beginners to bend and overblow.

Also, there are a variety of such harmonicas, which use side buttons to help them produce semitones like you would a piano.

So, with these types, you gain access to various tones within the available octaves.

And it’s the complexity in style and ease of use of this harmonica that makes it difficult for beginners to master.

So, we highly recommend that as a beginner, you begin by learning diatonic and proceed to set-up to chromatic when you’re skillfully ready to step into a more challenging environment.

  1. Tremolo

These types of harmonicas are known to produce rich trembling sounds.

This’s because they contain vertical double holes containing two reeds, each.

One of the reeds is sharper than the other.

Although these types of harmonicas produce cool sounds, they’re rarely used, maybe because of the various restrictions they present. Making players prefer diatonic and chromatic types.

Advanced players use chromatic tremolo to play pop, and they’re most famous in Asia, rock.

As for Diatonic tremolo, players use them in folk and pop music, and the production of classic music such as the cowboy songs.

There’re also some less known types of specialty harmonicas and they include;

  1. Chord Harmonicas

These are most popular in harmonica ensembles and orchestral settings, and they can produce up to 48 chords.

The blocks consist of 4-note clusters, with each note containing 2 reeds that are tuned to an octave area.

They are great in enhancing melodic and rhythmic sounds in large harmonica settings.

So, due to their nature, they’re only suitable for advanced players, thus not suitable for beginners.

  1. Orchestral Harmonicas

They work similarly like the chord harmonicas but offer numerous pitch and note-layout ranges and arrangements.

They come in both chromatic and diatonic models, but even then, they’re more expert friendly than beginners’.

So, to answer the question, from the above arguments, the best harmonica for beginners is diatonic and key C.

Which Key to Choose for Blues Harmonica

If you’re a blues harmonica, then you’re at the right place.

We are going to give you some awesome tips on which key to choose for blues to help you choose your favorite harp set.

It’s very easy to find blue harmonicas in all keys. From minor tuned, major to low tuned, so get ready to enjoy multiple choices.

First, begin with Key C diatonic, with a major tuning, which should have at least 10-holes.

It gives a moderate key, which is neither too high nor too low.

As you master the C, you can now slowly start adding different harmonica keys to enable you to practice with several keys.

Generally, you will require keys C, S, D, G, F, and Bb. In this category, the lowest is G, with F being the highest.

Expect to play a lot in the second position, famously the 2nd harp. The same case applies to the 5th key on your harmonica.

But, you can still choose other keys to suit the song you’re playing.

Your favorite set of keys will largely depend on the various playing styles you indulge in.

For example, if you’re playing a boogie, you will realize that you’re using much of key A and Bb.

Next, you also need to acquit yourself with some low tuned keys. Begin with low C as an accompaniment to nice chords.

But if you settle for first position (straight harp) harmonica, then it’s advisable to settle for medium tunes. The likes of A and G.

Note; for a beginner, minor tuned harmonicas make a perfect pick as they’re not only nice but also encourage you to play minor chords and try out minor melodies, which is a great starting point.

Here’s a YouTube video to help you understand better;

What to Look for When Buying Blues Harmonica

Construction

This applies to both the comb and cover material.

Comb material

A good comb material should offer you an easy time to maintain.

Most of the harmonica devices come in four different materials, and they include wood, plastic, metal, and Plexiglass.

Metal ones tend to be expensive, while wood is hard to maintain.

So, for beginners, we advise you to go for plastic as it’s easy to maintain.

Cover

When it comes to harmonicas, the kind of sound you want to produce should greatly impact your choice.

You can choose the cover-all design if a full warm sound is what you’re after.

But if a clearer tone is what you need, then go for a traditional one with an open back.

Also, if you choose a metal cover, then be ready for a louder sound, as compared to the softer version of plastic covers.

Type

We have already gone through the various types of harmonicas, so this should be pretty easy.

For beginners and blue players go for diatonic ones that come with 10-holes.

But, it’s also good to know that you can still play blues on chromatic harmonica, but it won’t be as easy as when using diatonic ones.

Keys

Keys are an important part of harmonica playing.

If you’re a beginner, get one with tuned Key C, which allows you to play up to three octaves.

Also, this is a perfect pick to play blues as they’re played on a cross harp or 2nd position.

If you get music that’s indicated G, then you can use a C harmonica in the second position.

The above notes on keys selection should guide you into making the perfect pick.

Price

Quality usually comes at a price.

So, if you want a good harmonica that can serve you through the years then you have to spend more.

But as a beginner, it’s advisable to start with affordable ones and get to acquire expensive ones once you master the art of playing.

However, don’t go too cheap as you might have to pay the high price of air leakage and poor construction.

The best investment you can make should at least range between $30-$65.

FAQs About The Best Blues Harmonicas for Beginners

How to Clean A Harmonica? (Quick Clean for Plastic, Heavily Sealed and Alloy Harmonicas)

  • Get some lukewarm water and give your harmonica a rinse.
  • Next, give it a tap against your hands, but with the mouthpiece facing down, to get ride-off all the remaining water.
  • Let it dry.

Thorough Cleaning

  • Slowly unscrew the cover plate and then clean it with a clean cloth and an alcohol-based spray
  • Let the reeds soak in lukewarm water for about 30-minutes. You can add a few drops of vinegar or citric acid, whichever you prefer, then brush them with a soft brush.
  • Rinse through water and dry.
  • Use lukewarm water with soap to wash the comb (plastic). If wooden, just dry brush.
  • Reassemble all the parts once dry.

Watch this YouTube video for harmonica cleaning tips;

What Is the Best Key for A Blues Harmonica?

The standard Key C in 10-hole harmonica is the most popular and great instructions.

Is Blues Harmonica Hard to Learn?

No, it’s not. So long as you’re patient and dedicated, nothing can stop you.

What Is the Difference Between A Diatonic and A Chromatic Harmonica?

Diatonic harmonica contains only notes for a specific scale making it suitable for pop, Rock, Country and Blues music.

On the other hand, chromatic harmonica plays all notes within the chromatic scale and is ideal for classical and jazz music.

Who Is the Most Famous Blues, Harmonica Player?

Jason Ricci, an American blues harmonica player.

What Is the Difference Between A Harmonica and A Blues Harp?

Blues harp also refers to the diatonic harmonica. It usually comprises of 10-holes, 20-reed, diatonic harmonicas and Richter-tuned.

Conclusion

If you have been planning on playing harmonica and needed information to help you take the bold step, we hope this article did exactly that.

We took you through the best 10 harmonicas for beginners, gave insights on the best type of harmonica for beginners, before answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

Make use of the information and be the best you can be.

All the best!

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