Learning to play the harmonica can be an extremely rewarding experience. This compact and very portable device is a wind instrument that brings versatility and uniqueness to any piece of music.
Otherwise known as the mouth organ, the harmonica is easy to learn and provides endless progression of knowledge about the instrument and its capabilities.
The rich history of the harmonica makes it appealing to children as well as adults of all ages. It is simple to learn but can constantly evolve along side of the player, allowing for endless possibilities for musical achievement.
With vast amount of brands and various levels of harmonicas available for purchase, a beginner can be a bit daunted at the prospect of buying their first harmonica.
However, we at Windysounds have reviewed all the products on the market and were able to compile a list of the best harmonicas for beginners.We hope that the list below can help you determine the perfect fit for your new endeavor.
Our Top Recommended Harmonica for Beginners
List of 10 Best Harmonica for Beginners on the Market:
The Mugig harmonica is a great starter instrument for beginners. It is a chromatic harmonica; which means that it has a switch on the side. The whole notes are the white keys on a piano, and are the standard notes that are played when blowing into a harmonica.
When this switch is pushed, the player has the opportunity play additional notes that are a half step above the standard notes (the black keys on the piano).
- Comes with case and cleaning cloth
- Beautiful finish
- Quality sound
- Consumers have complained that it takes more breath to play that it should
- The screws may loosen after prolonged use
If you are just starting to learn how to play the harmonica, and interested in the chromatic option, we believe that the Mugig harmonica is the best chromatic harmonica for beginners. At right around $10 for this instrument, the value for a beginner is unsurpassed.
It will become a staple piece even as the novice player becomes more adept to the craft and moves towards more complicated musical arrangements. Overall, the Mugig harmonica is a stupendous value for a player looking at continuing in the long term.
The quality that comes with the Estar major blues harmonica is a fantastic value. This value extends to both the beginner or to an intermediate harmonica player. It is a beautiful instrument with the finest detail of a decorative anchor etching on the top.
The pink plastic combs create a fun and frisky look for anyone who wants to stand out from the crowd while practicing or performing with this instrument.
- Comes in Key of “C”
- Thick brass base
- ABS edging
- Advanced non-toxic ABS combs
- Durable silver cover plate
- Comes with case, user manual and cleaning cloth
- Colorful finish
- 12 month product warranty
- Some reviews have complained that the tone can be slightly airy
- Harmonica needs to be tuned quite often in order to obtain optimal sound
Despite the fact that the instrument needs to be tuned more often than some would like, we still consider this Estar major harmonica the best blues harmonica for beginners to purchase.
With a price under $10, this is an excellent value for the money and a great investment for the novice player. You will be able to perfect your newly acquired craft in no time with this distinct and unique harmonica.
The Fender blues deluxe harmonica is designed for comfortable playing. Manufactured from a company with a long history of providing quality instruments, it is no wonder that this instrument will provide a high quality sound that is appropriate for harmonica players at all levels.
The Fender blues deluxe is easy to play, making it perfect for the novice player.
- Comes in Key of “C”
- Protective vented plastic case
- ABS plastic combs
- Sustainably tuning stability
- Chrome metal cover
- Includes blister card package
- Good pitch
- Works for young children
- It may take a lot of air to play
- Some high notes may not work after a while
The Fender blues harmonica is a great value for its $10 purchase price. This would be perfect for children who want to learn how to play. Fender has been a name synonymous with quality for many years.
When it comes to any musical instruments; you will not go wrong purchasing a Fender. We believe that the Fender blues harmonica is the best harmonica brand for beginners.
Next on our list we have the Hohner special. This harmonica is a bit higher quality than those previously listed. It comes with a projecting mouthpiece that provides tremendous comfort while playing.
The Hohner special produces a distinct sound that is appropriate for all types of music. It’s attractive design and overall superior features make this harmonica an excellent purchase for new players.
- Comes in Key of “C”
- Brass reed plates
- ABS comb, Black
- Stainless steel cover plates
- 10 Holes
- Reed plates are recessed into the comb for added comfort while being played
- Includes a carrying case for easy storage and transport
- An airtight design
- Comes with 30 days of online lessons for free
- A bit expensive with prices ranging between $45 and $50
- Consumers complained that some notes sounded flat while in use
- Some of the reeds may have the tendency to get stuck
Despite the price, we consider this instrument to be the best harmonica to learn on. With its quality construction, comfortable design and added bonus of free lessons that are included with purchase, the benefits of this purchase for a beginner harmonica player are endless.
A new player will feel at ease when picking up this instrument for practice or performance.
The Hohner marine band is great for those who are just starting to learn how to play the harmonica. It is highly recognizable with its wood comb and steel cover; as well as for the fact that this particular model has been played by several famous musicians throughout music history.
The construction of the Hohner marine band harmonica produces a distinct sound with full tones adding another layer of dimension to any musical piece.
- Available in several different keys
- 20 Reeds
- Brass Reed Plates
- Single Lacquered Pearwood comb
- Arched stainless steel covers with Nailed Side Vents
- Traditional Manufacturing Tuner
- Quality construction
- Almost perfect tone
- Historical reliability
- Consumers complained that this instrument can go out of tune easily
- The reed plate can be sharp and possibly cut your lips
This harmonica can be a bit more expensive than other beginner harmonicas, with prices between $30 and $50. However, this classic construction is durable and versatile; allowing for endless creative license when being played.
The legacy of this Hohner Marine Band harmonica is only enhanced when you think about the many famous artists from the past that have used this instrument; a list that includes John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen.
Overall, we believe that the Hohner Marine Band is a good starter harmonica whose legacy adds another dimension to a beginner’s journey.
The JDR harmonica is a high quality instrument that produces a clear and timeless sound. It provides a crisp and whole tone without an airiness to get in the way.
The small and sleek design makes this harmonica easy to master and a stylish piece of art. The simple stature makes this harmonica the perfect choice for beginners.
- Key of “C”
- 10 holes
- 20 tones in total
- Copper reed plate
- Stainless steel cover
- ABS Resin comb
- Bronze reeds
- Sleek Black design
- Comes with gift case, cleaning cloth and manual
- Affordable, under $10
- 180 day Replacement Service
- Consumers complained of inconsistent quality throughout the instrument
- It may not have durability for long term play
We believe that this is the perfect affordable option for those who are just beginning to learn how to play the harmonica. It has a decent quality for the price and creates full whole tones.
It has an excellent replacement service and sleek design that is very attractive for any harmonica player.
Though durability for long term play may be a factor, the JDR harmonica is the perfect buy for one who is interested in trying the harmonica but still remains undecided if they will play the instrument for an extended period of time.
The Lee Oskar harmonica has an airtight design and highly responsive reeds. This construction enables the instrument to produce a louder sound without needing to add more breath to each note that is played.
The quality construction is made out of high level materials; which creates an instrument that will last longer than its competitive counterparts. An excellent harmonica for a new player to learn on and become more comfortable with the skill.
- Plastic comb
- Larger holes for easier playing
- Airtight design
- Responsive Reeds
- Reeds can be replaced at half the cost
- Overall louder sound
- Great quality construction
- Easy to play
- Under $10
- Needs to be retuned often
- A bit pricey at around $45
The price of this harmonica is worth the high quality construction and design it provides the consumer. The Lee Oskar harmonica is the best diatonic harmonica for beginners to learn and practice on.
It is easy to play and provides an overall louder sound without the need for excessive breath. This simple and straight forward structure provides an exhilarating experience in playing, even for a novice or beginner.
The Swan 10 hole harmonica is an elegant design perfect for the first timer. It has a small stature for easy portability. Despite its miniature size, this harmonica still has the ability to produce a pure and rich overall sound.
It comes with a carrying case and a detailed instruction manual providing a great set for anyone who is just starting out with playing the harmonica.
- 10 Holes
- 20 Tones
- Key of “C”
- Copper Reed Plate
- Stainless Steel Cover Plate
- Includes durable plastic box for storage
- Provides detailed instructions for use, perfect for beginners
- More airtight than its competitors
- May take a lot of air to get proper notes out
- Made for kids and young ones to use; may not work for long term use
The Swan 10 Hole harmonica is a good beginner harmonica, as it is a complete all-in-one set. The unique design of the instrument allows new players to learn how to play with comfort and ease. This will help to build confidence while they are embarking on their new musical journey.
And priced at around $7, this harmonica is a great value for the money. However, it should be considered that this is a starter harmonica and one may need to upgrade if they feel that they are serious about continuing to learn how to play this instrument.
The Eison Chromatic harmonica is a professional grade that is still easy for beginners to use. It is produces with solid craftsmanship that allows for a rich and full sound to emerge from the instrument; even for a beginner.
It is easy play and has an exquisite look and feel. Highly durable but small enough to carry around in one’s pocket, making this a great harmonica for those who are just beginning to learn how to play.
- 10 Round Holes
- 40 Tones
- Key of “C”
- Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Case
- Phosphor Bronze Reeds
- Thicker Copper Plate
- Crisp and clear sound
- Chromatic button providing additional notes
- Excellent air tightness for a fuller sound
- Chromatic, so may be a bit advanced for beginners
- More expensive than many others on our list, with a price of around $35
- Consumers complained that additional tuning may be necessary prior to use
Despite the high price, we consider the Eison Chromatic harmonica the best harmonica for beginners. An individual can learn how to play and work up to the chromatic slide/button when he or she is ready to do so, providing an advance in the skill with the same harmonica.
The East Top harmonica is constructed of gorgeous workmanship to provide a pleasing appearance and accurate, pure tone. Easy to use for those who are just learning. However, its design and versatility also works well for the intermediate players providing a long term investment for any harmonica player.
- 10 Holes
- 20 Tones
- Key of “C”
- Precision-made Plastic Comb
- Phosphor Bronze Reed
- Thick, Rivet, Brass Reed Plate with Electroplate
- Blue Stainless Steel Plate Cover
- Easy to Play the Higher Pitches
- Pocket Size for Easy Transport
- Comes with a Case and Cleaning Cloth
- A little expensive at $26
- The metal mouthpiece can be sharp
This is a beautiful harmonica with its blue stainless steel cover, sure to make a statement during any performance. Perfect for the beginner player, but also versatile enough to allow for the player’s advancement.
A good quality harmonica for the price, and investment for anyone who is serious about learning to play. Though buyers should be aware that the mouthpiece is made of metal and may be sharp in some places, creating a potential hazard if you are not careful.
KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HARMONICA AS A BEGINNER
Once you have decided that you would like to learn how to play the harmonica, you will need to find the perfect instrument to start with. A perfect harmonica is one that compliments your own personal style all the while keeping true to the music you are looking to be able to play.
When searching for a harmonica, it is best to look for one that contains good quality parts. A great instrument is an investment, and the best harmonicas should provide an ease and relaxation when you put it to your mouth.
The comb of the harmonica is the heart of your sound as this is where the holes are located that take your breath to produce the notes. They can be made of wood or metal. Wood combs produce a warmer sound but is prone to warp when exposed to moisture.
A metal comb will last longer than one made of wood. However, it can also be compromised when exposed to the moisture that seeps from your mouth. We believe the plastic made comb is the best bet, particular for beginners. It is easy to maintain and will last the longest.
The second most important part of a harmonica is the cover plate. This area is where the sound resonates and the acoustics take effect. Cover plates are made with either an open or closed cover design.
The open cover design is more traditional and typically made of metal or plastic that is held in place with either nails or screws. This is the design that is found with lower to medium prices instruments. The closed cover design was created to allow for a louder tone overall.
When buying a harmonica for beginners, it is best to go with a diatonic version of the instrument. It is the standard version and tends to be easier for beginners to learn on. The chromatic harmonica has a button or slide that allows one to reach more notes.
This is a great version and provides additional versatility, but can be complicated for first timers or anyone who is not already familiar with the various whole and half notes on the scale. Beyond these, other types of harmonica are not recommended for beginners.
Although all twelve musical keys are available on most harmonicas that are for sale, we recommend that new learners stick with a 10 hole instrument in the key of “C”.
You can find beginner harmonicas in other keys, but the key of “C” is the standard for all new musicians and provides a good foundation to start from.
As you progress in your skills and abilities, it will be easier to learn the other keys once the key of “C” is mastered.
There are no shortage of harmonica brands in the market. The best brands for beginners are those that have a long history in the music business, and can provide the best value for your investment.
We believe that the greatest brands producing the best harmonica for beginners will most likely be produced by Swan, Fender and Hohner.
The decision to learn how to play musical instrument is the beginning a wonderful journey into a new world filled with challenge and creativity.
When learning to play the harmonica for the first time, the most important thing to remember is that you should purchase an instrument that is made of high quality materials and will be comfortable for you to play during those long practice sessions.
The best harmonica for beginners is unique to each player, and you need find your perfect fit. We hope our list of harmonicas for beginners helps you achieve that goal and sets a great tone for the start of your new adventure.
Feel free to reach out to Windysounds if you have any questions about your harmonica or playing music in general. We are more than happy to guide you as you travel along in your new musical journey.