Harmonica Gear

Which harmonica do you need?

Best harmonica for learning the Blues

If you want to learn how to play the Blues then you will need a 10-hole diatonic harmonica in the key of “C”. There are other keys that you will probably get in the future but most educational material available here and elsewhere features a “C” harmonica. Be careful when selecting a harmonica as you will come across a wide variety of instruments which are not suitable for the Blues. Avoid Tremolo, Chord, Bass and Chromatic harmonicas (for now).

Buying your first harmonica

I highly recommend starting with a Hohner Special 20* harmonica in the key of “C”. It is extremely good value for money and plays well out of the box for players of all levels. It is held together with screws which makes it easy to clean and service. The comb is plastic which means it is waterproof. This is important as you are going to salivate a lot (especially when you are first starting out).The reeds are brass which makes them easy to play with minimum effort.

After your first harmonica

There are lots of great harmonicas out there to try out once you have got a bit of experience. I’m a big fan of the Hohner Crossover and the Seydel 1847 Classic. They both feel very different from each other; the Crossover responds well to a light touch while the Seydel needs a firmer hand.

Here is a video I did comparing the two

Once you have been playing for six months to a year it is worth trying different brands and models of harmonica out. You might be surprised by what you end up loving. My first harmonica was a Lee Oskar which I loved until I tried a Hohner Marine Band which blew my mind!

DO NOT buy a cheap harmonica

You might be tempted to buy a cheap harmonica or set of harmonicas on Amazon but it simply is not worth it. They will be hard to play and difficult to learn on. It is better to have one good quality harmonica instead of seven mediocre ones.

Buying more keys

There are 12 standard keys of 10-hole diatonic harmonica; G, Ab, A, B, Bb, C, Db, D, Eb, E, F and F#. In practice the most useful keys to have in your repertoire are G, A, Bb, C, D and F. These will enable you to play the majority of Blues music that you will want to. You might discover some repertoire that requires one of the other keys in which case you can add that to your quiver but this set of six will cover most of your bases.

Gear for Beginners

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Harmonica Reviews

The Coolest Harmonica Gadget Ever?

The Coolest Harmonica Gadget Ever?

Practicing Blues Harmonica without disturbing anyone around you is really challenging. Could the Suzuki Shinobix Harmonica Silencer be the answer to our prayers?? https://youtu.be/Df6podEd9zE Thank You

Should You Buy An East Top Harmonica?

Should You Buy An East Top Harmonica?

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be answering the question - Should You Buy An East Top Blues Harmonica? I will give you the specs, demo it and tell you what I think of it. https://youtu.be/mDGpAqkeFNU Thank You

Hohner Crossover | Is this harmonica worth it?

Hohner Crossover | Is this harmonica worth it?

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be talking about Hohner Crossover - I’ve been receiving quite a lot of requests to review/demo some out of the box harmonicas so I thought I would start with one of the models I use a lot. https://youtu.be/g58_7eq_Hmk...

Should You Buy a Seydel 1847 Harmonica?

Should You Buy a Seydel 1847 Harmonica?

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be talking about one of the models I use a lot - the Seydel 1847 Classic. I’ll be talking about the specs, reviewing the playability, demoing the sound and answering the question - Should You Buy a Seydel 1847 Classic...

Playing Amplified

Harmonica Looping

Harmonica Looping

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I am going to give you a quick start guide for harmonica looping using a Looper Pedal. https://youtu.be/4tl3iXIUElQ You will need a C harmonica played in 2nd position in the key of G. Click here to download lesson...

Getting Started with Harmonica Effects Pedals

Getting Started with Harmonica Effects Pedals

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be giving you a quick overview of the types of effects pedals you might want to try out when you play amplified. https://youtu.be/DmNOPj32ZSA For this video I am using a Hohner Harp Blaster HB52 microphone plugged...

Dirty Harmonica Tone – Mic and Amp Guide

Dirty Harmonica Tone – Mic and Amp Guide

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be talking you through what you need to get started playing amplified harmonica to get that dirty blues tone that we all love. I’ll be showing you what kind of amplifier and microphone you will need....

Harmonica Microphones | Harp Tone Tips with Hank Shreve

Harmonica Microphones | Harp Tone Tips with Hank Shreve

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be talking about harmonica microphones as something of a dark art. Fear not though, Hank Shreve will be helping to demystify them in this clip from his recent seminar "Hank's Harp Tone Tips' over at Tomlin Harmonica...

Is this the BEST harmonica microphone?

Is this the BEST harmonica microphone?

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be talking about the Hohner Harp Blaster HB52 Microphone. I decided to buy one to see if it is the best harmonica microphone or not. https://youtu.be/37D2RHgyF1A Here is my signal chain if you are interested in that...

Amplified Harmonica

Introduction to Amplified Harmonica

Interested in playing amplified? Check out our course with everything you need to get started playing plugged in!

Harmonica Cleaning & Care

How Long Does a Harmonica Last?

How Long Does a Harmonica Last?

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I'll be talking about how long harmonicas last and if there are brands that last longer. The quick answer is that it really depends on what kind of a player you are, how hard you play and what kind of harmonica you use....

Should you TUNE your harmonicas?

Should you TUNE your harmonicas?

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson, where I will be answering the question "Should you TUNE your harmonicas?". A lot of people think that harmonicas are disposable but I think that is extremely wasteful. I'll tell you why: https://youtu.be/D4K2QcBYHoI Serious...

How to clean a harmonica

How to clean a harmonica

How to clean a harmonica I got a great tip from my friend Sugar Cain (http://sugarcain.co.uk/ - who makes custom harmonicas) on how to clean your harmonica. The best bit is that you don't need to use any scary chemicals. Here is what you will need; – Bicarbonate of...

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10 Things Every Harmonica Player Needs/Wants (Gift Ideas)

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about Harmonica Gear

The Coolest Harmonica Gadget Ever?

The Coolest Harmonica Gadget Ever?

Practicing Blues Harmonica without disturbing anyone around you is really challenging. Could the Suzuki Shinobix Harmonica Silencer be the answer to our prayers?? https://youtu.be/Df6podEd9zE Thank You

read more
Should You Buy An East Top Harmonica?

Should You Buy An East Top Harmonica?

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be answering the question - Should You Buy An East Top Blues Harmonica? I will give you the specs, demo it and tell you what I think of it. https://youtu.be/mDGpAqkeFNU Thank You

read more
Hohner Crossover | Is this harmonica worth it?

Hohner Crossover | Is this harmonica worth it?

Hello and welcome to this week’s lesson where I’ll be talking about Hohner Crossover - I’ve been receiving quite a lot of requests to review/demo some out of the box harmonicas so I thought I would start with one of the models I use a lot. https://youtu.be/g58_7eq_Hmk...

read more