Top Harmonicas for Beginners – Guide & Comparison
If you want the best harmonica for beginners, but you’re too busy to read the entire guide put together by our researchers, here you will find the answer to your question. We looked at customer feedback, expert reviews, and sales figures, and established that if you want to spend money on a high-quality product, you should pick the Hohner Marine Band. This harmonica is more than just a musical instrument; it is a symbol, known worldwide for its extraordinary sound. You will not need tuning to make it sound like you want it to, and overall, it is an excellent choice for beginners, due to the ease of use. A protective case is included with your purchase, so you can take your harmonica anywhere you want to go. In case the Hohner Marine Band is no longer available, try the Hohner Special 20, which is another excellent pick for beginners that we recommend.
Our Top Choice
The brand’s history blends to that of music itself, and for this reason, even as a beginner you probably want to experience what the professionals felt like throughout time. The Marine Band is an iconic harmonica that delivers full tones, provided by the pearwood combs. The instrument comes tuned in the key of C, but different versions are available as well, for your preference.
Although this model has been used for quite some time and is related to world-renowned musicians, it’s also an instrument that can be hard on the lips if used extensively, so you might need to make some adjustments.
If what you want is a professional instrument that offers a great sound performance with full tones, then this harmonica is the one you should try out.
Another example from the same famous manufacturer, the Special 20 harmonica features recessed plates that will help you master the instrument with ease. The airtight construction also comes in handy, as you won’t need to deal with air loss while playing. This means that less effort is needed to get the right sounds.
Certain items from this model need some adjustments, so if you are new to this field and you are not sure how this is done, you might need to get a professional to take a look at it, or contact the seller.
For someone who is looking to learn to play the harmonica and enjoy a lean learning curve, this model is definitely one that should be considered.
A very nice and highly portable model as it comes with a beautiful case and a special cleaning cloth for the right kind of maintenance, Johnson’s BK-520-C unit is available in all 12 keys. The airtight construction means that less effort is needed as you play, to get all of the desired sounds.
Some of the harmonicas delivered from this model did need some cleaning in order to sound just right, so this is something you should be aware of, especially if you’re new to this.
Overall, this harmonica is a great buy for someone who is just starting to learn and want to practice a little before spending more money.
10 Best Harmonicas for Beginners (Reviews) in 2020
It is easy to feel overwhelmed with so many products available for sale. Harmonicas are very popular, and that is why many brands make them, but that can increase the difficulty of choosing the right model. Here you will find the harmonicas that are most appreciated by buyers and aspiring musicians like you.
- 1. Hohner Marine Band Harmonica, Key of C
- 2. Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, Major C
- 3. Johnson BK-520-C Blues King Harmonica, C
- 4. Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica in C
- 5. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica – C
- 6. JWBOSS Diatonic Harmonica Standard 10 Hole
- 7. Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica Key of C
- 8. Fender Blues DeVille Harmonica – C
- 9. Suzuki HA-20-C Promaster Hammond Professional
- 10.Suzuki Folkmaster Harmonica in C
- Yearly Guide & Report
1. Hohner Marine Band Harmonica, Key of C
The Hohner Marine Band is praised all over the world for its beautiful sound, and its history blends in with the history of music itself. As a beginner, you will surely want to go with the tried and tested, and all the good beginner harmonicas available should be on your list, starting with this one.
The full tone the harmonica delivers will help you pick up the basics with ease, and you will appreciate not having to deal with a steep learning curve.
Everything about this model spells quality, starting with the pearwood comb and ending with the history of the instrument, one that has been used by names like John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen.
The harmonica comes tuned to the key of C, but, if you want to play in a different key, versions in different keys are also available. High precision technology is used in the making of this harmonica.
Buy from Amazon.com
2. Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, Major C
All the reviews of harmonicas for beginners will point out this brand as the name behind some of the excellent models on the market. The Hohner Special 20 is one of the popular ones, and for all the right reasons. The recessed reed plates help you master the instrument with ease.
It is also built to be airtight so that you will not experience air loss while playing. That means that it will take less effort on your part to have the harmonica sound the way you want it to. The stainless steel covers make the harmonica look beautiful, and also make it easy to clean.
While it is an excellent recommendation for beginners, the Hohner Special 20 is a good option for professional harmonica players, as well.
You will also get a nice extra in the shape of one month of free lessons you can learn online.
Buy from Amazon.com
3. Johnson BK-520-C Blues King Harmonica, C
Why do you think musicians pack when they go on tour? They surely have their travel guitars with them, but for some, a harmonica or two will also be part of their starter kit. The Johnson BK-520-C is one of the harmonicas on the market that any musician would be glad to take on tour with them.
The beautiful case that is supplied with your purchase makes it easy to carry your harmonica around with no fear that it might get damaged. You should know that, besides a plastic case, the manufacturer also supplies a special type of cloth for cleaning your harmonica after each performance.
The harmonica is available in all 12 keys, so you can pick the one you want with ease. The airtight construction makes sure that no air loss will occur, and that each sound you deliver is loud and clear. The recessed reeds contribute to the professional performance of this instrument.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($11)
4. Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica in C
While your guitar might need a guitar tuner to sound the way you want it to, a harmonica rarely needs any tuning. The Lee Oskar Key of C is the optimal choice for a beginner for the simple fact that it does not require tuning.
It comes tuned in the key of C, and the only thing you need to do is to focus on learning how to use it. One of the most important advantages of this model is the excellent response delivered by its reeds. Due to the airtight construction, you will get a musical instrument that sounds loud and clear.
This harmonica is versatile and can be used for playing various music genres, such as blues, jazz, rock, and folk. The reed plates can be replaced, which means that you will save some money in the long run, as you will not have to replace the entire harmonica.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.99)
5. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica – C
Any harmonica player will find the Fender Blues Deluxe an excellent choice, due to its versatility and ease of use. The manufacturer advertises it as a good option for all levels of experience with playing the harmonica, and that is confirmed by the people who bought it and used it, as well.
If you want a harmonica that looks exactly like the traditional instrument, you will find this model to be just what you are looking for. The chromed covers lend it a professional air, and you will find it that it sounds as good as it looks.
The harmonica is comfortable to play, and the classic tone will make your music stand out, no matter where you go. While it looks like a classic harmonica, the model is made with modern materials, like molded PVC, and it is lightweight. You can replace the brass reeds when the need arises.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.99)
6. JWBOSS Diatonic Harmonica Standard 10 Hole
The harmonica is such a great musical instrument because it does not require special care. You will have to get violin cases if you move with an entire orchestra, but, if you are a one-man-show, and you love playing the harmonica, there is no need for such a case. Even more, if you pick the Mugig Diatonic Standard, you will only need to fit it in your pocket.
This compact size harmonica is the optimal choice for a beginner, and not only due to its small construction. The rich tones it is capable of delivering are right for blues or folk. Beginners will find it easy to use and, with instructions.
The hermetic design makes it easy to play. The comb is made from ABS resin, which means that it is easy to clean, thus helping you avoid getting sick from the bacteria that might build up on a harmonica that doesn’t go through any cleaning process.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($9.99)
7. Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica Key of C
This harmonica is tuned in the key of C, and it is ideal for beginners due to its no-nonsense construction. Beginners usually need a harmonica that is smaller in size than the usual norm, because they first need to get the hang of the basics.
You will notice that this particular model is made from top-notch materials that make it look great and perform beautifully. The copper reed plates are excellent, and the covers are made from stainless steel, a small detail that also helps with easy cleaning.
The beautiful sounds this harmonica creates are rich and ideal for a blues piece. You will not have to tune your harmonica as it comes already tuned from the factory. You will appreciate all the instructions offered with your purchase that will help you understand the instrument and start playing. A plastic case is included with your purchase.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($6.99)
8. Fender Blues DeVille Harmonica – C
What better musical instruments to accompany the sound of a harmonica than acoustic guitars? Famous players have known about this harmonious combination since the beginnings of blues and even beyond. The Fender Blues Deville will help you create a beautiful accompaniment, in case you are also a guitar player.
And, even if you are not, and you want to play a musical instrument that doesn’t require years of study, you will find this model from Fender to be precisely what you need. Already tuned in the key of C, it is an excellent choice for a beginner, as you will have to do nothing to make it sound right.
The traditional shape will make you fall in love with it at first glance. In case you want a harmonica that looks high-class and sophisticated, you will not go wrong with this one. The beautiful black satin covers make it appear as a top of the line model, despite its reasonable price.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($32.99)
9. Suzuki HA-20-C Promaster Hammond Professional
The first thing you might notice about this particular model might be the beautiful black shell. And the second might be the Hammond logo that will give you an idea of the superior quality of this harmonica. Tuned in the key of C, it is ideal for beginners, and it will help you master this instrument in no time.
The phosphor bronze reeds will create beautiful sounds for any music genre you want to play. The compact size is another excellent benefit, for the simple reason that you will be able to fit it in your pocket and take it everywhere with you.
The hard shell supplied with your purchase will also serve for carrying it around, without the risk of having it damaged by accident. Ideal for beginners, it impresses through its beautiful sound and classy appearance. You will find it easy to play the harmonica on this one.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($45.88)
10.Suzuki Folkmaster Harmonica in C
If you read the beginner harmonicas reviews, you will notice that the SUZUKI Liberty Mountain is often mentioned among the choices recommended to those who are just starting to learn this musical instrument. The harmonica is tuned in the key of C, a common choice for beginners.
As a cheap harmonica, you might expect it not to perform at a professional level, but the truth is that this model is an excellent pick for more seasoned players, as well. What qualifies it for such praise is the clear sound and excellent tuning.
The manufacturer uses precision technology to offer a product that is flawless and provides superior performance. The bendable reeds will deliver a mellow, rich sound that you will love. You will also appreciate being able to approach a wide range of sounds. Compared to other harmonicas on the market, this one offers more than expected for the price.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($21.23)
Yearly Guide & Report
The harmonica was made famous by blues and folk musicians, and it is nothing out of the ordinary for a guitar player to accompany himself or herself with this type of instrument for a beautiful and soulful musical arrangement. To find the best beginner harmonica, you will have to read through our recommendations below.
A pocket-size harmonica
It is well known that professional musicians are very particular about the instruments they purchase, and they are right to be like this. However, this does not mean that beginners should go with any instrument they happen to stumble upon. You will love your harmonica more than anything if it is unpretentious and easy to use.
That is why you will often notice that experts recommend beginners to start with a pocket-size model. But what does the overall construction of the harmonica have to do with the performance you can achieve with it, as a beginner?
For starters, you will be able to fit it in your pocket and take it everywhere with you. But that is not the most important benefit you will draw from a compact size model. You will be able to play the harmonica better if you find it easy to hold and use.
Another benefit of these small harmonicas is that it is easier for manufacturers to create an airtight design. Without air loss, you will be able to make your harmonica sound loud and clear with each blow. You will notice that it is less difficult for you to learn how to play if you have a model that is easy to use.
The harmonica is notorious for being an instrument that is easy to learn, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t benefit from all the advantages that a manufacturer can offer when they make models that cater specifically to beginners.
The key of C
You might be aware of the fact that harmonicas for beginners come in the key of C. Just like kids’ violins are built in such a manner that they help young learners to get the hang of the basics, a harmonica that is tuned in the key of C is a better choice for someone who is just learning to use the musical instrument.
That should not make you think that you will be limited in honing your skills by this simple fact. The key of C is the easiest for beginners, and you should start from there. You will be pleased to learn that plenty of famous musicians use the same key, even if they are versatile and they can use a harmonica in all the major keys.
When you go shopping for a harmonica, don’t forget to check the key, too. One great thing about harmonicas is that they are tuned by the manufacturer, and they do not usually need tuning. Only the harmonica players who have a lot of experience can fiddle with this type of instrument to make it sound differently.
However, this does not mean that you are forever stuck with the key of C, and you cannot do anything about it. Many popular harmonicas on the market are available in various, if not all the major keys, so you can switch to a more sophisticated model, once you become more proficient as a musician.
Harmonicas are usually inexpensive, but, as a beginner, you probably do not want to spend a lot of money on a musical instrument. The best budget harmonica for beginners should offer good value for the price, and come equipped with some nice features, too.
Bear in mind that it is not possible to get the same performance with a budget harmonica as with one that caters to professional players. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that you should have no expectations.
For instance, a budget harmonica can still deliver full, rich sounds, just like you would expect from a musical instrument that is used in playing jazz and other soulful music genres. The overall appearance should not fool you, either.
The good news is that manufacturers today try to cater to a larger category of users and that means that you will get a budget harmonica that looks beautiful and performs above expectations. Another good thing about a harmonica that you pay little for is that you don’t need particular extra care for it.
If other musical instruments tend to be expensive and require accessories, such as a trombone stand, a harmonica is a very low maintenance tool for making beautiful music.
Extras you might like
There are a few things that may draw the line between various models available on the market, and help you narrow down your choice and pick the right harmonica for your needs as a beginner. For instance, if you want to take your harmonica with you to gigs and when you travel, you might need a case for it.
The case should be supplied as an extra by the manufacturer and made from resistant materials. It may be a nice touch to have a cleaning cloth, as well, and some companies offer such bonus accessories with your purchase.
While these are only a few extras that can help with carrying your harmonica around, others are of a different nature. For instance, there are harmonica manufacturers that offer free lessons for those who take up the instrument for the first time in their lives.
You will appreciate if the harmonica has replaceable reeds. If you do not have a lot of money to spend on a new harmonica, this is the easiest choice for you. A harmonica is different from a digital piano, and it does not require the same high maintenance.
Nonetheless, you might end up having to replace the reeds, and it helps to have a model that allows you to do so. This way, you will be able to save some money, too.