There is an almost unlimited number of instruments in the world, and few of us have actually had the opportunity to hear what all of them sound like. Most of the ones that we’re familiar with are string instruments like the piano and violin, woodwinds such as the flute and clarinet, and brass such as the trumpet and trombone. But there’s another instrument that we all know and have seen that doesn’t immediately come to mind, and that’s the harmonica. Harmonicas may not always be front and center in symphony orchestras and in studio recordings of bands, but they are certainly featured prominently on television, in movies, and in cartoons–they’re the quintessential accessory to comical depictions of inmates who may have been wrongly convicted. And aside from comical depictions, harmonicas are also serious instruments–Stevie Wonder is one of the most famous musicians who popularized using a harmonica as an accompaniment to his songs. With its relatively simple design and portability, it’s now one of the most popular instruments to learn on the go.
For beginners, harmonicas require less technical skill before you can play simple tunes that are pleasing to the ear. If you’re considering picking up some harmonica skills, then you should definitely take a look below at our 2020 picks. We put together our selection of the best harmonica for beginners so that all you need to do is pick one and place an order before you can start playing on your own harmonica.
The Top Harmonicas For Beginners In 2020
This is the perfect harmonica for beginners who are really looking to achieve that bluesy / rock feel with your harmonica pieces. This has a plastic comb with large holes for an easier introduction into the mechanics of playing the harmonica, but the reeds are responsive and you still get a strong sound out of the harmonica. The Lee Oskar harmonica is about 6 inches long and comes with a plastic carrying case so you don’t need to worry about getting your new instrument scratched up, even if you drop it. Although this may go flat more easily, there are replacement reeds that you can buy, instead of needing to buy a whole new instrument. Nonetheless, this is a great option for beginner players out there. One reviewer noted that “I heard that Lee Oskar was the brand to try in terms of being able to bend easily, and that trying different brands when you’re first starting to figure out what really works for you is best practice. My harp just arrived today, and while I’ve only run scales and done a little bending so far, I can already see why people say it’s a great out-of-the-box harp to use.”
If you’re a fan of vintage-looking instruments or vintage aesthetics, then the Hohner Marine Band harmonica is the one for you. In addition to coming in an old-fashioned protective tin, this harmonica has a wood reed comb inside with brass reed plates, and a pear wood body. Many harmonicas out there have plastic reeds, but the wood reeds give you a much warmer sound than you might be expecting from a harmonica. It is a little bit more expensive, but that’s because each of these harmonicas are exclusively handmade. The precise tools that are used minimize air loss and ensure a quicker response from the instrument, along with more sound. You’ll have to be a little more careful blowing on the reeds because wood reeds are more prone to breaking than plastic ones are, but otherwise this will be a beautiful addition to your collection for beginners. As one reviewer commented, “if you want to learn harmonica and enjoy it, then I can recommend this product.”
Suzuki is well-known for making instruments for both beginners and professionals, and the promaster harmonica does not disappoint. It is extremely professional-looking, with machined phosphor bronze, replaceable reed plates and a satin anodized, milled, billet aluminum alloy comb. The reed covers are made from polished stainless steel reed covers, and it comes with a hard-shell carrying case to keep your harmonica safe. Aside from the looks, you’ll really be able to get good projection out of such a small instrument without needing to draw that much breath, which is great for beginners who might need to take some time to learn how to measure and pace their breaths. One reviewer commented that the Suzuki promaster is “just awesome” and continued on to say that “this harmonica is excellent quality. Very airtight. Very responsive. Great tone. Beautiful appearance.”
Topping our list is the SWAN harmonica, which delivers great quality and sound given its price, which definitely won’t break a beginner’s bank. It is made from stainless steel and plastic, with a plastic body and brass reeds to give you that classic harmonica sound that you crave. It has a heavier weight so you’ll feel a bit more substance in the instrument when you’re handling it and getting used to how each of the notes sound. The 10 holes and 40 tone makes this suitable for a variety of different musical styles and songs, such as blues, rock, jazz, and folk. It comes in a case for easy portability and a cleaning cloth so that you never have to worry about buildup on your harmonica. As one reviewer raved, “I only bought this thing out of curiosity, not expecting an playable chromatic for under $50 to even be possible, but I was SO WRONG! I can’t believe how great it looks, plays and sounds. Don’t order it if you expect to get a $150 harmonic for $20, but this is the best deal I’ve seen in a long time. I just ordered two more, so I can leave more scattered around in my vehicles, shop, etc. Really amazing.”