Gear · Leeds Harmonica updates

Which Harmonica Should I Buy?

There’s been a little influx of new students in recent weeks, which is great, but it means I’ve been pretty busy and not posting here much lately.

With the new students in mind I thought it might be a good time to address a couple of issues. The first (and most involved) subject is how to practice effectively. i.e. How to give yourself the best chance to succeed. I’ve been collaborating on this topic with my partner in crime from The High Hollers and I’m hoping to make a video at the weekend so look out for that.

The second issue is the ever present, million dollar question “Which harmonica should I buy?”. The short answer is that for your first proper harmonica, as long as you spend enough to ensure a certain level of quality it really doesn’t matter all that much.

That said, there are a bewildering number of harmonicas available so I do have some recommendations.

(Note: I’ve linked to Harmonicas Direct, a UK based retailer below. I’m not affiliated, just a satisfied customer. The owner Peter Blythe is well respected and he won’t mess you about.)

My go-to choice is the Hohner Special 20. It’s a good all round workhorse. It’s comfortable, reliable, not too pricey and easy to get hold of. It’s even used by pros such as Tom Ball and Mark Ford.

If you want to spend a little more money an even better choice would be the Hohner Crossover or Marine Band Deluxe. These are modern updates of the famous Marine Band model which has been used by just about any player of historical note you care to mention.

Other quality manufacturers include Suzuki, Seydel and Lee Oskar. All of which offer great harps from the price of about £25-£30 and upwards. I don’t have as much experience with these brands but they are loved by many and certainly worth a look.

The important thing to remember if you intend to take lessons with me is make sure you get a harmonica in the key of A. All of my material for beginners uses this key (there’s a good reason, I promise). You’ll need other keys eventually but grab at least an A for now.