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Looking for the best harmonicas for beginners? Ready to get started playing this unique, fun instrument?
The harmonica is an amazing and very portable instrument that has a very distinctive sound. It also has a very interesting history and has gained a lot of recognition over the years.
The harmonica is a great instrument to use if you’re looking for a way to expand your sound as a solo performer, especially if you have a great harmonica holder. It’s also great for playing some simple melodies around the campfire, going crazy at a blues jam session, or relaxing after a hard day’s work.
As opposed to a chromatic harmonica, diatonic harmonicas, such as those listed below, are usually the kind that beginners will start with. Players use diatonic harmonicas in one key at a time. If in doubt, getting a C harmonica is usually a great place to start.
If you’re a beginner, you may not know how to get started on your search for a great beginner harmonica. Luckily, we’re here to help. Below we’ll give you our top choices of blues harps and we’ll list the best harmonicas for beginners that are on the market today.
Top Beginner Harmonicas – Quick View
|Hohner Marine Band 1896 Harmonica||The Hohner Marine Band 1896 Harmonica is the tried-and-true choice for beginners to the harmonica.|
|Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica||A surprisingly affordable option for beginner harmonica players considering the amount of quality and comfort it offers.|
|The Hohner Blues Harp||The Hohner Blues Harp 532BX is another great harmonica choice that is ideal for beginners but that you can also easily grow with as your playing improves.|
|Hohner Special 20 Diatonic Harmonica||The Hohner Special 20 Diatonic Harmonica is a well-built and well-rounded harmonica that offers players a good mix of features and affordability.|
|Anwenk Harmonica Key of C||Players will be very satisfied with this affordable harmonica due to its nice appearance, full tone, and craftsmanship.|
|Urbane 10-Hole Blues Deluxe Harmonica||A budget harmonica that doesn't skimp on quality.||Check Price on Amazon|
How Much Does a Harmonica Cost?
There are many different harmonicas available today and you’ll find a range of prices out there.
Generally speaking, you’ll be able to find a quality harmonica when paying at least $50-$100. However, to get a higher-quality harmonica, you can end up paying $150 or more.
There are also cheaper harmonicas available as well. There are many beginner harmonicas available that cost $15 or less. These are available both at local music stores and online.
Cheap harmonicas still work pretty well when compared to professional instruments. Most beginners won’t notice a difference in quality or sound. These harmonicas can be useful if you’re a beginner who simply wants to experiment with the instrument and play around with it occasionally.
While cheap harmonicas will be fine for beginners and non-musicians, musicians who are a bit more experienced will probably want to spend at least $40 or $50 to get a good harmonica that will stay in tune and sound great.
What Are the Best Harmonica Brands?
When it comes to the harmonica, there’s one brand that stands well above the pack, and that’s Hohner.
Former clockmaker Matthias Hohner started creating the unique instrument back in 1857 and his company has become a leader in the instrument ever since. Hohner offers the highest-quality harmonicas that are available and their construction is well beyond any other harmonica maker that’s out there today.
Hohner offers many different types of harmonicas these days and crafts them all in slightly different ways. Some of these harmonicas are better suited than others for certain genres or playing styles. For example, some Hohner harmonicas make it easier to “bend notes” and play the blues while others are better suited for rock or country genres.
While Hohner makes the best harmonicas and is the clear leader when it comes to harmonica brands, there are some other options out there.
If you don’t buy a harmonica from Hohner, here are a few other brands that you might want to consider buying from:
- Lee Oskar
Our Picks of the Best Harmonicas For Beginners
So, which harmonica is best for beginners to start with? Without further adieu, here is our list of the best beginner harmonicas on the market today.
1. Hohner Marine Band 1896 Harmonica
Our very top choice for starter harmonica players is the Hohner Marine Band 1896 Harmonica. This harmonica is the tried-and-true choice for beginners to the harmonica. However, advanced players appreciate this model as well. While this isn’t the very cheapest harmonica you can find, it’s still very affordable and offers the best value around.
This versatile harmonica can sound perfect for quite a range of genres. This harmonica suits blues players well thanks to its easy bending capabilities. Blues players who are looking for a great diatonic harmonica won’t be disappointed by this harp. This model has a bit of a reputation and boasts many famous users over the course of music history. Some of these include John Lennon, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen.
This handmade German harmonica offers both a great feel and an excellent sound. This harmonica offers a full tone along with all of the resonance you’re likely to need. The Marine Band Harmonica also lasts for years and you can expect it to sound great for a long time to come. This makes it a great instrument to grow with as your skills improve.
The Hohner Marine Band is somewhat lighter and smaller than a lot of the harmonicas out there. The instrument is very easy to play and responds fast to your vocal command. It has a high-quality comb, 20 reeds, and also 0.9mm brass reed plates. A protective case also comes with this harmonica.
Overall, the Hohner Marine Band Harmonica leaves little to be desired and its position on this list is well-earned. Owners of this high-quality instrument will get a lot of enjoyment and longevity out of this instrument at a more than reasonable price. This may just be the best starter harmonica out there.
2. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica
The next harmonica, a model by Fender, also has a lot to offer budding harmonica players. While this harmonica doesn’t have as much name recognition as some of the Hohner harmonicas, this Fender harp still makes a great choice.
Featured as Amazon’s choice, this is a great cheap option for beginner harmonica players. This harmonica is surprisingly affordable considering its quality and comfort. While this isn’t the very highest quality instrument on this list it’s also not the most basic either.
This simple and easy-to-play harmonica is great for players who are hoping to achieve an authentic blues sound. Fender seemed to work hard to create a comfortable instrument that is fun to play for players of all levels.
This instrument is made with blues players in mind and blues players will truly love the sound and playability this harmonica offers. While it’s great for blues players, it offers some versatility as well. Players of all genres will likely enjoy playing it.
The Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica delivers a classic sound that may be due to the molded PVC comb and the brass reeds. This blues harmonica is very comfortable due to its traditional shape and chrome metal covers.
Overall, this Fender harmonica would make a great choice for newbies and is truly one of the best harmonicas for beginners. While it doesn’t quite match the Marine Band harmonica listed above when it comes to features, it still offers quite a lot for the low price you’ll pay. This is the best cheap harmonica around and it fares well above others in its price range.
3. Hohner Blues Harp
The Hohner Blues Harp 532BX is another great harmonica choice that is ideal for beginners but that you can also easily grow with as your playing improves. If you’re a fan of the blues and want to do a lot of note-bending, this might just be the harmonica that you need. This is the opposite of a toy. Instead, it is a professional musical instrument that feels, plays, and looks great.
This is a diatonic blues harmonica that is 4 inches long and it features 10 holes along with 20 reeds. The wooden comb helps create a more robust sound. This harmonica comes with a plastic carrying case to keep it protected.
This blues harp is crafted from brass and metal and this helps give the harmonica a huge, strong sound. It easily projects its tone across the room. This harmonica is a bit bigger and less on the light side. It also has a fuller sound than other options.
Overall, the Hohner Blues Harp is a truly professional harmonica that offers a lot to anyone looking to get started with the harmonica. Blues players will particularly find a lot to love in this Hohner brand harmonica. This is one of the best Hohner harmonicas for beginners that you’re likely to find.
4. Hohner Special 20 Diatonic Harmonica
The Hohner Special 20 Diatonic Harmonica is a well-rounded harmonica that offers players of all skill levels a good mix of features and affordability. This well-priced and well-built harmonica can help you create a lot of confidence in your playing.
With its 20 holes and Hohner craftsmanship, this harmonica features a great design that offers plenty of playing comfort. It feels very good to play and offers the player superior comfort. This harp allows players the tools they need to play a number of genres.
This harmonica is perfect for playing a variety of musical styles without spending too much. It offers a good mix of affordability and quality that is great for both beginners and professionals.
Unfortunately, intonation sometimes isn’t perfect on this harmonica. Still, it offers an amount of accuracy that will be more than enough for most players.
Overall, this Hohner harmonica would be a good option for a budget-minded professional or a beginner who doesn’t want the most basic option. It offers a good deal of playability at a very reasonable price.
5. Anwenk Harmonica Key of C
The Anwenk Harmonica is another good cheap option if you’re looking for a harmonica. It offers a decent amount of quality but is cheaper than many of the other options on this list.
This harmonica is perfect for sliding your lips while playing and is very comfortable to hold. The instrument’s ends are fully enclosed and this prevents excessive air leakage. It also helps allow for a rich and full tone. This 10-hole harmonica has the flexibility to work well with many types of music genres, whether that is blues, rock, folk, or pop.
This Anwenk Harmonica has a copper reed plate as well as a cover plate made of stainless steel. The instrument features a precision-made plastic comb and a steel cover made of chrome. It also comes with some great extras including a cleaning cloth, instructions, and a durable case.
Unfortunately, this instrument isn’t as much of a true professional harmonica as some of the others on this list are. However, this harmonica would be great for beginners or kids to play while getting started on this unique instrument. While it’s not perfect for professional players, it’s still a good quality beginner harmonica.
Overall, this affordable harmonica is sure to satisfy most beginner players. This is due to its nice appearance, full tone, and decent-quality craftsmanship.
6. Urbane 10-Hole Blues Deluxe Harmonica
If you simply want to try playing the harmonica for the first time and want to get a good harmonica for a low price, then you might want to purchase the Urbane 10-Hole Blues Deluxe Harmonica.
This is one of the most popular harmonicas that are currently available on Amazon and the user reviews for it are exceptional. Many players have reported that it’s a well-built harmonica and love the tone that it offers.
This is an affordable instrument but it’s also pretty well made, too. The harmonica and reed plate are made of copper while the comb is made of ABS resin. This harmonica also comes with a case, a dust cloth, and an instruction manual, so you’ll have everything you need to get started out right.
There’s also a great guarantee with this harmonica as well. You’ll be able to request a refund for no reason within 60 days and can get a replacement if needed up to 180 days out.
If you’re looking for a cheap harmonica that also offers plenty of value, then you might want to consider buying this Urbane harmonica now.
Buying a Great Harmonica as a Beginner Player
Making the decision to start playing the harmonica is a great one. If you can play the harmonica it gives you a great way to jam with other musicians or pass away your free time. You’ll also have a great instrument that is incredibly portable and easy to get started playing.
By choosing one of the best harmonicas for beginners as your first, you’ll have a fun and painless time learning and experimenting with the instrument while growing your skills.
Looking to get started with an accordion instead? Check out our reviews of the best diatonic accordions for beginners now.
Hi, I’m Harrison! I created this website to help musicians navigate the ins and outs of their craft and to help them choose new instruments and gear to add to their collection. I have 15 years of experience as a guitarist and singer and have also played many other instruments throughout the years including the bass guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica.