Are you looking for the best harmonica for beginners? You’re in the right place.
Learning a new instrument is an amazing and fun endeavor, but it’s not fun figuring out what brand of instrument you should buy.
In this buyer’s guide, we will take a look at some beginner harmonica brands and see which ones are a better purchase.
- Top 4 Best Harmonicas for Beginners:
- Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing a Good Harmonica
- So, What’s the Best Harmonica for Beginners?
Top 4 Best Harmonicas for Beginners:
|Swan 10/40 Chromatic Harmonica|
|Hohner Marine Band Harmonica|
|Suzuki HA-20-C (Editor's Choice)|
Suzuki 1072-C Harmonica
Now we will take a look at a few different harmonica brands. We will look at the Suzuki 1072-C Folkmaster, the SWAN harmonica in C, the Hohner Marine Band harmonica, and the Suzuki HA-20-C Promaster Hammond harmonica
I will list some pros and cons, and hopefully, this will help you decide what harmonica is best for you.
The first harmonica we will look at is the Suzuki 1072-C Folkmaster. This harmonica is listed at about $13. It’s a 10-Hole harmonica in the key of C.
It is made of plastic body and has metal covers on both sides. Includes a hard shell carrying case. Weights about 2.9oz so very light. Manufactured in China.
This harmonica got good responses in product reviews. Most every customer said the instrument was easy to get a sound out of. They liked that the case was durable.
Instrument appearance does not look cheaply made for such a low price. Good quality sounds and after breaking in the reed, you can do bends and get more response from the instrument.
The tuning of the instrument is slightly off but it is good for beginners and if you choose to stay on that harmonica then later you can buy a better one. There also may be a little air leakage while playing. Overall, not bad for a cheaper price.
- Good sound quality
- Good reed response after you break it in
- Durable case
- Plastic body and reed
- Not very loud sounding
- Tuning of the instrument may be slightly off by a little
- May have some air leakage while playing
Swan 10/40 Chromatic Harmonica
The next harmonica we will take a look at is the SWAN harmonica. It is listed at about $26. This instrument is stainless steel and plastic. It has a plastic body and brass reeds.
Also, includes a slide on the body of the harmonica. This instrument is in the key of C. Weights about 11.2oz so a bit more solid.
I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and sound of this instrument for such a low price. It’s definitely not a professional harmonica but it has great quality sound and looks nice. Good response on the Lightweight. Good intonation.
Slide worked really nice when doing bends. However, the case is a type of cardboard with padding inside, so you may want to get a better case if you don’t like the one that’s included. Overall, good quality instrument.
- Brass reeds
- Good quality sound
- Heavier weight
- Good manufacture. Body work is good
- Good working slide
- Good intonation
- Cheap case
Hohner Marine Band Harmonica
The next harmonica we will take a closer look at is the Hohner Marine Band harmonica. This instrument is listed at about $45.
It is in the key of G. It has wood reed comb inside and brass reed plates attached. Pear Wood Body. Comes in protective case. Weights about 2.9oz so heavier in weight. Imported from Germany.
This harmonica got a lot of great reviews. Many people loved the quality sound that comes from a wood reed.
The wood sounds better than plastic. The only low was that a couple customers had problems with breaking the reeds in the harmonica because they blew it too hard.
Also, the brass reed plate may stick out just a little but the sound is still very good. Very loud and clear sounding instrument.
- Great sound
- Wood reed
- Durable case
- Nicely manufactured instrument
- The brass plate may stick out a little
- The reed may break if you blow extremely hard
Suzuki HA-20-C (Editor’s Choice)
The final harmonica that we will take a look at, is the Suzuki HA-20-C Promaster Hammond harmonica. This instrument is listed at about $62. It’s in the key of C.
It has bronze reeds and includes a hard shell carrying case. Instrument weights 1 pound so it’s not cheaply made if you are wondering why it cost more than the others. It’s made in Japan.
This instrument has beautiful sound and beautifully manufactured. It is made of brass and comb is aluminum so the instrument is very durable and lasts awhile.
It’s easy to play as a beginner but, in my opinion, it sounds like a professional one.Overall, I can highly recommend this instrument.
Overall, I can highly recommend this instrument.
- Metal body and comb
- Key of C
- Great quality sound
- Durable case
- Good solid projection; will play loud
- Heavier weight; solid instrument that will last
- Cost a little more, but great value
Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing a Good Harmonica
Here are a few things you should look at when purchasing a harmonica:
Wood and Metal vs. Plastic
All harmonicas are made of either wood and metal or plastic and metal. harmonicas work with what is called a reed on the inside. You blow in the sound holes and the air makes the reed vibrate to produce sounds.
Wood reeds bend easier than plastic and they make better sound. Metal reeds are good too. They last longer but it can take a few plays first to break in your reed. After that, you are set for a while.
A Good Weight
A good harmonica won’t be paper light. The lighter the harmonica, the cheaper quality it is made of and won’t sound good. It is a toy. If you are serious about buying a harmonica you want to pay more than $10 for the decent quality instrument.
Key of C or G
Most harmonicas come in the key of C. That just means when you tune you don’t have to transpose your note.
If you play a C on the keyboard to tune then you play C on your harmonica. If you have a G harmonica then you would transpose if you play a C on the keyboard to tune your note on harmonica would be 3 notes above what you played.
Now, you can use digital tuners, so it wouldn’t matter which kind of harmonica you chose.
Now more than ever, you will see companies shifting to designing instruments that come in various colors instead of the traditional colors they were made to be. You can get any instrument in a lime green, pink, blue or yellow.
This was done to attract the kids to their brand. What child wouldn’t want to buy a colored harmonica? I would recommend for harmonica that you get a combination of wood, silver, or gold looking instrument.
Now if the student is just playing for fun and isn’t going to take it seriously, then if you want a colored instrument that would be ok.
After comparing a few instruments that you find, take a minute to see the differences and similarities. Find the options that you feel would be better for you.
One thing that I would like to bring to your attention about all of these harmonicas is that most of them are made in China or Japan for the most part. You may find one made from somewhere else but most are one of the two.
So, What’s the Best Harmonica for Beginners?
Overall, I think that all of these harmonicas are good for beginners. If I were to recommend any brand it would be the Suzuki HA-20-C. It cost a little more than the others but the sturdy build and metal body and combs will last much longer.
If you take care of the instrument you can manage the purchase and just keep the instrument as long as possible. If you don’t want to pay that much for your first harmonica perhaps you would want to look at getting the SWAN or the Hohner Marine Band harmonica.Just remember for the SWAN, you might want to get another case for your instrument.
Just remember for the SWAN, you might want to get another case for your instrument. The SWAN has plastic body but metal reed. That is good. If you prefer to do your bends manually you would want the SWAN for the slide.
Now the Hohner has wood reed and is in the Key of G, but remember, you can use digital tuner now so that wouldn’t matter. The wood reed will sound much better just don’t blow extremely hard.
If you are a beginner, I anticipate you won’t blow too hard. These three harmonicas were better built and had the best sound quality.
If you want to buy the first one I listed just to get a feel for the instrument before deciding to be fully dedicated that is fine a well. You just would need to get another better instrument later.