Small, Lively and Powerful – A Harmonica

Harmonica is an instrument which invites you to pick it up and start playing. It seems quite easy to master from far away and that simplicity is what lures us into its webs. But as you actually start learning, you’ll notice that things aren’t as straight-forward as they seemed. Don’t let that discourage you, though: the best harmonica for a beginner will turn that journey into a pure enjoyment. All the models might seem exactly the same when you take your first glance, but trust me, there are huge differences between them. The reason why we compiled this article was to make sure you knew all the meticulous details about this instrument. Knowledge is the key to making a reasonable purchase that will turn into your go-to tool soon enough. I don’t want to bore you with my rambling, which is why I’ll dive right into the interesting stuff. Let’s get started!

Top 5 Best Harmonica For Beginners

ImageHarmonica Model
Rating
Check Price
Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, Major C5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)Check on Amazon
Lee Oskar Harmonica, Key of C, Major Diatonic4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)Check on Amazon
Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica, Key of C4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)Check on Amazon
Anwenk Harmonica Key of C 10 Hole 20 Tone Diatonic Harmonica 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
NEUMA Harmonica 10 Holes 20 Tunes4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)Check on Amazon

Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, Major C

Build Quality:5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.9 out of 5 stars
Sound:5 out of 5 stars
Value:5 out of 5 stars
Average:5 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon


I won’t come as a surprise to anyone that we’re starting this list with a model created by Hohner. A manufacturer who mainly specializes in folk instruments has created a beautiful piece once again. Special 20 is a perfect match for beginners. Of course, there are high-end models out there that have a richer tone, but let’s face it – can we tell the difference when we’re just starting out? The notes are quite easy to bend here, which means that you won’t have trouble emitting your first sounds. The selling point of this fella is its playability. It has reed plates that are recessed into the comb a.k.a. a plastic mouthpiece. This means that your lips will slide easily along the body of harmonica, sparing you from stickiness and difficulties. Special 20 is a diatonic model built with brass. The material isn’t the most durable thing in this entire world, but it will last you through your beginner stage easily. With its sound, this puppy is the best beginner harmonica for the price.

Pros:

  • Excellent for beginners
  • Plastic mouthpiece slides easily
  • Decent sound

Cons:

  • Not very durable

Lee Oskar Harmonica, Key of C, Major Diatonic

Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.9 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.9 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:4.9 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon

Full Review

Lee Oskar Harmonica, Key of C, Major Diatonic

We’re moving onto the model that is even more playable than the previous harmonica. Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica is something you should get if Special 20 seems to require a lot of power for bending the notes. This one is slightly more simple in that region, as you won’t have to blow as hard to achieve wonderful results. The sound is rich and vibrant, perfect for blues, pop, rock, folk and many other genres. When it comes to the construction, the quality is better than expected. It feels solid in your hands and you immediately understand that it will stay intact for a while. It has plastic combs with large holes to make sure you know what you’re blowing into. The top cover plate is a bit sharp and it might feel unpleasant if your lip hits it accidentally. On the positive side, it’s suitable for 1st and 2nd positions, providing you with a ton of options. Who could have thought that affordable harmonicas could be so great? Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica has forced me to reconsider the whole range once again.

Pros:

  • Quite easy to bend the notes
  • Can be used for different genres
  • Solid construction

Cons:

  • The corners of the cover plate are sharp and uncomfortable to the touch

Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica, Key of C

Build Quality:5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars
Average:4.9 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon

Full Review

Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica, Key of C

Okay, I’m taking my words back – Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica Key of C is what affordability means. It’s so cheap I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the price for the first time. It could be an amazing match for those who haven’t yet decided if harmonica is their thing or not. You won’t regret the purchase even if you discover that you’re not into this instrument after all. But the amount of money you pay isn’t synonymous with the quality. You get way more than you might expect for the price. Man, I’m sure you don’t even know what you’re in for if you haven’t played it yet. Blues Deluxe Harmonica Key of C might not be as advanced as higher-end models, but how could it be? For what it is, it produces clear sounds that could be suitable for blues or any other genre. The construction isn’t impeccable, but it’s certainly solid. It includes moisture resistant ABS plastic combs that won’t get damaged from playing. Oh, and it comes with a vented plastic case where your beloved instrument can dry out. This puppy is the best harmonica for beginners in its price range!

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Sounds great
  • Easy to play

Cons:

  • The plastic part might have some rough edges

Anwenk Harmonica Key of C 10 Hole 20 Tone Diatonic Harmonica

Build Quality:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon

Full Review

Anwenk Harmonica Key of C 10 Hole 20 Tone Diatonic Harmonica

Continuing with an even more affordable version, Anwenk Harmonica is one of the great things you can get if some 10 bucks are burning a hole in your pocket. It offers surprising quality and performance for the price, and can be a really nice starting point in the world of harps. This puppy is a diatonic version with 20 different tones that you can start experimenting with once you learn the basics. Bending notes might not exactly be a piece of cake here, but you can still achieve desired results if you blow hard enough. Anwenk Harmonica is quite compact in size, which means that it can be an amazing fit for kids as well. The construction is pretty solid: it consists of a copper reed plate and stainless steel cover plate. The ends are well-secured to make sure that air doesn’t escape in places where it shouldn’t be. Holes are big enough to be easily distinguishable. It comes with a case, a cleaning cloth and some instructions. All in all, this fella offers a nice, clean performance at an unimaginable price.

Pros:

  • Reasonable price
  • Decent construction quality
  • Great tone

Cons:

  • Notes are a bit hard to bend

NEUMA Harmonica 10 Holes 20 Tunes

Build Quality:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars
Average:4.7 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon


What we have here is yet another beautiful affordable model. You can’t expect it to take you to the stage, because it’s made with beginners in mind. If you’re a bit more advanced, you might find its sound a bit limited, but as a novice, I don’t think you’ll have any problems with it. Neuma Harmonica looks quite expensive. It has a black, sturdy body that won’t break apart easily. The surface is polished, adding even more appeal to the looks. It’s also a diatonic model with 10 holes, 20 tones and Key of C. It’s as easy to use as affordable harmonicas can get, meaning that bending notes might not be the most effortless task. But once you learn the basics and figure out the whole philosophy behind notes, you’ll be left with an inexpensive tool to play around with. Neuma Harmonica has a phosphor bronze alloy sound spring and non-toxic food grade ABS resin frets plated with nickel. This way you can stay assured that playing will be an enjoyable journey and won’t result in torn lips for you or your kid. This might not be the best beginner harmonica, but it comes really close.

Pros:

  • Comes with a case, a cleaning cloth and a manual
  • You can play many genres with it
  • Suitable for kids

Cons:

  • Sound quality isn’t the best

What type of harmonica is the best beginner harmonica?

Just like other instruments, harmonicas don’t come in one particular type. They are different from one another in terms of key, shape, style and nature. There are three main varieties available: diatonic, chromatic and tremolo. But today we’re going to focus on the first one only. It would be nonsensical to waste your time on the latter two, as they are virtually unusable for beginners. Don’t get scared, though, I will explain everything below.

You see, beginners usually require instruments that are simple in nature. The main aim they have is to master basic techniques and learn a song or two. They don’t need anything complicated as they will get confused and frustrated. If you’re a novice, please, don’t be harsh on yourself. With right gear and a lot of practice, you’ll achieve the results you were looking for.

Now, let’s define a diatonic harmonica. It’s the simplest type of all, as it is designed for a single key. The techniques used to play it aren’t that complicated, making it suitable for beginners. Just keep in mind that there are 12 keys and you get to play only one of them, and you’ll immediately see what the simplicity is all about here.

The fact that diatonic harmonicas are designed in a specific key doesn’t mean that they are boring and limiting. With the combination of blows and draws you can achieve diverse results. Professional players do experiment with certain positions to create the desired sounds, so it comes down to the craftsmanship. And that doesn’t come without practice.

Another common suggestion for beginners is to go for a key of C on their diatonic harmonicas. The reason is simple: other keys are either too low or high-pitched, making it difficult for you to understand the core of the tone. C is somewhere in the middle and will show you what mistakes you’re making better. It’s also the key used for many genres, enabling you to play the songs you always liked with ease.

The main thing to keep in mind while selecting the best harmonica for beginners is that you should keep your expectations leveled. What I mean is that you should focus on smaller goals and take careful steps towards perfection. You can’t have the ambition to master harmonica in a day or two, no matter how good the instrument is. It takes time and practice, because your mouth has to learn to emit correct blows. The same thing goes for the notes, as you should not try to hit the one that is too difficult for you. Eventually you’ll be able to master it, but for now, it’s better to avoid doing that. Otherwise, you won’t do it properly and you might even blame it on your harmonica. And that would be unfair, wouldn’t it?

In order to select the best beginner harmonica, you should understand your needs and capabilities. You should know what to look out for while making a purchase, otherwise you’ll be easily taken in. For instance, try to go for a plastic mouthpiece as it slides better in your mouth. Avoid the models that aren’t air tight, as they will be harder to play. The air that should have hit the note will disappear and your efforts will go up in smoke.

Conclusion

Keeping in mind that as a beginner you’d need diatonic harmonicas with a key of C, we made sure to saturate our list with them. We included the models from different price ranges, because you might still want to try out harmonica if you’re on a budget. Take a look at those options once again and determine which one looks like the best harmonica for beginners. After all, your needs are a priority here.

We also made sure we’d include some useful information as well, so that you’d understand what you’re going for better. It’s easy to get confused as a novice, but there are ways to turn that to your own advantage. Start small and buy a harmonica that won’t cost that much. See if it’s an instrument that you really like and enjoy. If so, upgrade it to something that will be by your side until you turn into a professional. There are many tricks to mastering the notes and techniques, and luckily, we have all of that available online. Don’t be lazy and everything will be wonderful. Good luck!

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