Best products from r/harmonica

We found 235 comments on r/harmonica discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 80 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

TLDR: the best products according to r/harmonica

1. Harmonica For Dummies (For Dummies Series)

Harmonica For Dummies (For Dummies Series)
  • For Dummies
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Top comments mentioning products on r/harmonica:

u/flynnguy · 1 pointr/harmonica

The hohner Marine Band is certainly a good harmonica. The wood comb gives you a nice sound but you'll just need to be careful with it as it's a little more sensitive to moisture. Hohner also makes the Special 20 which has a plastic comb. Then there's the Lee Oscar, the Hohner Golden Melody (a little more expensive than the others), and the Suzuki Harpmaster. They are all pretty good and I don't think you can go wrong with any of the above, even the Marine Band, just remember about the wooden comb and research the best ways to take care of it and clean it.

The best key to start with is C because that's what most instructional material is based on and is considered the "standard" beginner harmonica. I imagine that you want a G because that's what's used in heart of gold and that's fine but I'd also recommend getting a C as well so you can play along with most of the instructional material out there. (Maybe get some different types of harmonicas in different keys as a way of seeing which you like)

Finally to start learning, I'd recommend Adam Gussow's beginner special and really, any of his lessons. He has a bunch of free ones on youtube so you can get a sense of his style. He has 2 part introduction video which would be a good place to start. part 1 and part 2.

Good luck, the harmonica is a fun instrument!

u/dragontamer5788 · 2 pointsr/harmonica

I highly recommend 100 Authentic Blue's Licks.

However, the book assumes you know how to do a lot of advanced moves: tongue block chords and solid bending technique. I suggest you pick it up as soon as you can do F (2''), F# (2'), Bb (3'), A (3''), and Db (4').

Once you get those bends down, you'll be able to play ~30% of the licks in the book. Then you get Tongue Block chords to get another 20% or so. You can play the tongue-block versions without tongue blocking (just play the highest note), it just doesn't sound as cool / good... but it definitely simplifies things.

The last half of the book are technique specific: there's a chunk on Glissandos, Flutter Chords (related to Tongue Blocks), a few 1/4th step bends, a few Overblows and so forth. The book goes to advanced places, with tons of advanced techniques getting explored.

Sheet music, Tabs, AND a CD (if you're the type to learn by listening) are all provided as well. Its a great resource.


More realistically, I think that taking a break and going for something easier often helps encourage me. I suggest playing easier songs, don't push yourself if you feel discouraged. That only leads to frustration.

Learning the Harmonica is going to be a years long commitment. There's no need to rush... just play and improve at a pace that feels comfortable.

Failing to differentiate between Bb (3') and A (3'') (half-step vs whole-step bends) over and over again is rough. Practice playing something easier like "Skip to my Lou" to build confidence and then return to bending practice.


When I was learning to bend accurately (erm... I still am perfecting this technique actually...), I bought a Tuner that has note output and also checks for accuracy.

If you have access to a tuned Piano, you can just play the note and try to learn by ear what a bend should sound like.

u/winslowyerxa · 7 pointsr/harmonica

Tell him to try playing the inhaled notes in the first four holes. That's where you find the heart of the blues rock sound. This puts you in the key of G instead of C, but that's how you get that sound.

Here's the thing, though. If a song is not in G, you need to get a harp in the key that lets you play in that key. For tunes in G, you count four steps up the scale: -1-2-3-4 = G A B C - so, play a C-harp. And for a tune in, say, A, you'd count up A B C D to find that you'd use a D-harp. This way of playing is called "second position" and also "crossharp."

Playing in second position is not a strict rule for rock (or, for that matter for blues). Someone like Neil Young almost always plays a harp in the same key as the song. This is known as "first position" or "straight harp." Same for Bob Dylan.

On the other hand, rock players like John Popper, Steven Tyler, Mick Jagger, and many others mostly play harps very similar to the Special 20 in your link (SP20 used to be Popper's favorite harp until he picked up a Fender endorsement) and mostly play them in second position.

There are other ways of playing a harp in a different key from its named key. But second position is by far the most popular.

The other big thing to learn along with second position is note bending - making a note slide down to a lower note. This is done partly to create an expressive wailing sound and also to supply bluesy notes that aren't built into the harp.

Hope this helps a little.

Winslow Yerxa

Author, Harmonica For Dummies, Second Edition and Blues Harmonica For Dummies

Available for lessons in person or online

u/tallpapab · 3 pointsr/harmonica

It's over your budget, but good harmonicas are not cheap. The Suzuki promaster harps are quite good and durable.

On the low end would be a Hohner Piedmont Blues set of 7. They're super affordable and not as bad as you might think. Many musicians want to buy their own instruments. So this cheap gift might be appreciated as stop gap and a show of your emotional support and underline that you understand he would want to shop for himself. It would be a nice surprise. Make sure that if you go this route that you include a note explaining that the gift is a gesture of love and that you expect he will shop for something better himself.

u/the8thbit · 1 pointr/harmonica

Some advice I posted in a previous thread wrt buying harmonicas:

> If you like the idea of playing harmonica (and you should, its fun as hell with a perfect learning curve) try picking up a Hohner Special 20 10 hole diatonic in C. You can pick one up online for about $50:

> You might be able to find one cheaper at a local shop... I tried checking amazon and was surprised to see they have a lot of more exotic harps, but very little in the ways of special 20 C, which is probably the most commonly used harp on the planet...

> A special 20 C will allow you to play along to folk and country songs in the key of C, blues songs in the key of G, all songs (but with a slightly brighter/folkier sound) in the key of Am (relative minor to C) and all songs (with a slightly more restricted range and "bluesy" sound) in the key of Dm. (third position)


> No prob! Also, I just found this trying to search for your harp:

> Fender harmonicas don't have quite as rich a sound as special 20s, but are very very very close... and are just as responsive and nearly as sensitive in my experience. special 20s are my main, and then I have fenders for backups/for a couple of keys that aren't used much and I didn't want to drop a ton of cash on for a special 20. (the more exotic keys tend to be a bit more expensive) If you don't want to drop $50 on a harp from sweetwater, you can get that fender for $10 and it ships with amazon prime.

u/ChristianDybleMusic · 1 pointr/harmonica

I recommend the Suzuki SCX-48 as the best option. It will last you years if you take good care of it. It is one of the best chromatic harps for a relatively good price and the sound fits jazz much better than Hohner chromatic harps that often sound 'folksy.' I played on it for years and it is still going strong. Although it is not as good as my Suzuki Sirius, which is a much more high end instrument, the tone quality is still fantastic for being a fraction of the price. It even outperforms the Sirius in certain areas such as funk or any other style require more force or responsiveness to its sound.

I saw that someone recommended the Hohner Cx12 Jazz and I have no experience playing it personally, but in my opinion it would not be worth it just because it costs more than the SCX-48 with the tone and quality of the SCX-48 being better in my opinion. The covers are also plastic which visually looks tacky, but on a positive note the Cx12 is much more modified and easier to clean because no tools are necessary to take it apart. This is unlike the SCX-48, which if you want to clean it you need to unscrew the cover plates. The cover plates on the SCX-48 also tend to be smudged by figure prints so that is a negative it does have to plastic covers. The Cx-12 Jazz is much bulkier than the SCX-48 and I would imagine not quite as comfortable to hold, but I cant say for sure. I think it is still a consideration though as you should decide for yourself if you think those qualities would fit your music style better.


If you are serious about getting into this style of music on the chromatic harp, do not buy anything of lesser quality such as the cheap harps from Swan or East Top that range around $60-80. They will become a handicap to your playing due to their lack of responsiveness, poor tone, and poor lifespan.

u/harmonicaben · 1 pointr/harmonica

Thanks for your feedback - I think you're right in thinking now is the time to focus on your breathing, because breathing leads directly into your tone. I remember when I was starting out, after I had gotten a grip on how to isolate notes and move around the harp, I focused a lot on breathing from my stomach. This gives you a deep and full bodied tone, especially from the lower notes. You don't want to "chirp" them. Here is a video that really helped me with this concept starting out.

I think it would also be useful to start thinking about different positions on the harp over the next few months. I'm not sure how familiar you are just yet, but depending on where you start and what notes you stick to, you can play different styles easily. First position lets you play basic melodies, but when you move into second and third position you can really start feeling the blues. This is a book that really helped me.

Finally, I really like your idea of an overarching song when you're first learning. It would be cool to break it down into different exercises and riffs, then build it up to a full song at the end. I'll definitely keep this in mind when building the site.

u/Easy75 · 1 pointr/harmonica

Yeah, I got that bit from Gindick's book "Rock 'n' Blues Harmonica" and it really helped me get those 3 draw bends down. I highly recommend this book for beginners and intermediate players, if you're the kind who learns well from books. Yeah it has some hokey or cheesy stuff in it, but for me that was just a reminder to not take shit too seriously.

The syllables you articulate with can really change the sound a lot, and the mouth shape of various vowels can definitely apply to bends.

u/Johnjsplanet · 1 pointr/harmonica

I started with a special 20 but eventually switched to all Marine Band. When you want to branch out to other keys I suggest this kit. These are not good harmonicas but they are great for learning and you can just slowly replace them over time. I even still use the case.

u/nickmcmillin · 1 pointr/harmonica

I was thinking something like this Hohner Piedmont Blues Harmonica Set:

I realize they're plastic, but I figure someone would rather have the other keys and a case, in case he already has like 5 Cs or something.