The harmonica often calls to mind soulful blues or driving rock and roll, but it also has an important place in folk music around the globe. Also called the French harp or mouth organ, it’s the best-selling instrument on the planet, since it can fit in your pocket, doesn’t cost a ton, and is pretty easy to play. These diatonic models include some that are perfect for novices. Let us review the Best Diatonic Harmonica For Beginners and best harmonica for beginners 2020.
best diatonic harmonica for beginners
10. Fender Blues Deluxe
For beginners on a budget, there’s probably no better option than the Fender Blues Deluxe (around $11). It’s a great model to learn and progress on, since its classic size and shape make it pretty easy to manipulate, and its brass reeds bend smoothly with relatively little effort.
- Abs plastic comb
- Comes in range of keys
- Tends to leak air
9. East Top 008K
It may not be the fanciest option, but the East Top 008K (appx. $24) is a fine choice for the casual player. Its low price makes it ideal for fleshing out your collection, so you can jam with musicians in a wide variety of keys and styles.
- Good for learning on
- Comes in a zippered pouch
- Painted covers add a little friction
8. Lee Oskar by Tombo
Featuring a rich and recognizable tone, the Lee Oskar by Tombo (appx. $35) is one of the more iconic models used by blues and rock players across the country. Not only is it a worthwhile choice for starting out, it sounds good enough that many use it for on-stage performances.
- Replaceable reeds
- Relatively inexpensive
- Often squeals when overblown
7. Hohner Golden Melody
The Hohner Golden Melody (around $37) produces some of the cleanest and most consistent sounds, making it ideal for various musical styles. Its rounded edges differ from the classic boxcar design and make it easier for many players to hold properly.
- Very low leakage
- Suitable for novices
- A poor choice for electric blues
6. Hohner Special 20
It may not have the closest tolerances, but the Hohner Special 20 (around $35) delivers a particular sound that no other model can quite match. It’s perfect for beginners looking for the rich and raw tones found in blues and classic rock.
- Removable screw fasteners
- Reasonably priced
- Not ideal for recording
5. Suzuki Promaster
One of the most popular and attractive mid-range options, the Suzuki Promaster (about $47) uses an anodized billet-aluminum comb that adds heft and prevents moisture damage over time. Its pitch is easy to manipulate on the lower draw notes, and it remains in tune even at the top end.
- Airtight construction
- Sleek ergonomic design
- Highly precise tone
4. Seydel Session Steel
No stranger to stages and recording studios, the Seydel Session Steel (about $44) is a precision instrument that incorporates advanced components, such as stainless steel reeds that last notably longer than brass or bronze plates, but can be significantly harder to customize.
- Won’t snag facial hair
- Excellent for first position
- Weighs very little
3. Suzuki Pure Harp
If you’re willing to make a bit of an investment, the Suzuki Pure Harp (about $109) is one of the most well-built 10-hole models on the market. Its comb and covers are made of high-quality rosewood that provides about as elegant of an appearance as you’ll find.
- Equal-temperament tuning
- Above-average reed thickness
- Stable overblows and overdraws
2. Seydel 1847
It is a little pricey, but few others achieve the professional quality of the German-made Seydel 1847 (around $85). It’s excellent for many types of music because it has an even temperament from top to bottom and also responds well to chords and overblows.
- Gets loud with little effort
- Beautiful vintage appearance
- One of the most responsive options
1. Hohner Crossover
Designed in collaboration with renowned performer Joe Filisko, the Hohner Crossover (around $63) offers many subtle and meaningful improvements over the company’s traditional Marine Band line, including enhanced moisture resistance and angled comb tines for comfortable tongue blocking.
- Tight reed tolerances
- Bright and versatile sound
- Zippered hard-shell case
Hohner Meisterklasse While the company’s normally associated with more old-school designs, Hohner’s MS series is an innovative modular line with interchangeable hardware that lets you personalize your harp with a wider range of parts than many others. The Meisterklasse package includes high-end metal covers and comb and nickel-plated bronze reeds that are both responsive and easy to modify to achieve that perfect custom sound. hohner.de
TurboHarp ELX Some players might balk at the idea of an electric harmonica, but that’s exactly what TurboHarp has turned a classic Hohner Special 20 into, using an intricate method of installing pickups and drastically altering the instrument’s body. Don’t expect it to sound like a normal harp, of course, but if you’re looking for something different (and amplified), you may find this one very interesting. Also, for what it’s worth, each one is made by hand and to order. turboharp.com
Seydel Custom-Made This company makes, hands-down, some of the finest on the market, but if you can’t find one from them that’s perfect for you right out of the box, that’s okay. On their website you’ll find an in-depth factory customization walkthrough that allows you to dictate exactly what shape of components and type of materials to use in creating your very own masterpiece. As you might expect, however, this is one of the most expensive ways to purchase a harp.
Types of Musical Instruments
Musical instruments can be categorized depending on the way they generate sound. All musical instruments fall under one of the following – string, wind, percussion and keyboard, though there may be further divisions and sub-divisions.
Here are a few examples:
- String instruments include guitars, violins, ukuleles and cellos.
- Wind instruments include pipes, sax, clarinet, flute and such other types.
- Drums, bongos, cymbals and bells are percussion instruments.
- Keyboard instruments include pianos, harpsichords, organs and accordions.
While these are the more commonly played musical instruments, over thousand musical instruments are available across the world, including folk instruments.
General Things to Consider Before Buying a Instrument
Here are some of the things that you should take into consideration before choosing a suitable instrument:
- The age of the student: The child needs to have developed motor skills to be able to play
- The character/personality of the student
- Your interests, the kind of music you want to play
- The cost, the amount of money you’re willing to spend
- The practicalities involved (such as size, portability, maintenance of the instrument)
Research Prices & Competing Stores
Do spend some time looking for instruments and their prices online; you can find some great deals online. Also, do check competing online stores. For instance, Amazon and Walmart are great for finding beginner instruments and toys for kids. Merchants like Amazon, zZounds, Musiciansfriends have wide range of instruments for pros. You will find great deals on guitars on sites like Guitar Center.
If you’re looking for an expensive instrument, do check it out at your local store as well. While you may not be able to get lower prices, you will be sure about the model that you have selected.
When buying online, see what accessories are included, and also factor in shipping costs.
Beginner Instruments for Students
The good thing about buying a new musical instrument is that you now have access to several products that are available for cheap. These are designed for beginners and offer great features, are functional, but don’t cost much.
Although a student or beginner instrument is a cheaper version of what professionals play, these ‘cheaper’ instruments are not sub-standard products.
In fact, a good student instrument comes with several features that assist students to progress faster and also to enjoy music making.
These are easier to play, offer less resistance (string instruments), is easier to blow (wind instruments), for the inexperienced player. For example, a lower action on a guitar makes playing easier for the young or inexperienced hands.
Get Creative With Home Made Musical Instruments
Musical instruments can also be made at home using items of daily use (mostly percussion); this works great for kids.
You can make almost anything, from shakers and jingle bracelets to drums and tambourines. Its easier to make percussion instruments at home.
It turns out cheaper and you won’t feel bad if the kids break the toy instrument.
Homemade musical instruments help your child to be creative and can keep them busy. Kids will also have a great time, playing in their own band at home.
Are You Already a Player?
If you are already a player then you should avoid picking up the cheapest musical instrument.
Its best to go out and play all the instruments you can, and pick the one that appeals to your ears, suits your requirements and your budget (you should be open to increasing your budget a bit, in case you get hold of some really good musical instrument).
You should also go through the used gear/blemished gear section on top online merchants. You can find some really good instruments with minor bruises (but in perfectly working conditions) for good discounts.
Also Read: Buy used/blemished gear for cheap.
You can Buy, Rent or Borrow?
While everybody would love to buy a new musical instrument, in some cases its just not the practical thing to do.
You can always choose to buy a second-hand instrument.
Some music services (organizations contracted by the Local Authority to provide music tuition in state schools and at music centers) and schools offer instruments on loan to beginner students.
Then there are some (including some retailers) who operate rental systems. For a modest fee, they provide you a musical instrument for a trial period so that you get sufficient time to make up your mind.
The great thing about these options is that it allows you to get a feel of what is involved in learning, and how to take care of and maintain the instrument, before actually buying one.
In case you’re considering purchasing a second-hand instrument, make sure you check it for suitability, before it is used.
You Don’t Have to Buy the Most Expensive Instrument
Musical instruments can be expensive, especially if you are seeking the best option available on the market. In general, these can cost anything from $100 to over $10000. For example, a good Yamaha or Roland keyboard can cost almost $2000.
That is why used musical instruments are often a good choice, especially if you are learning to play a new instrument.
You definitely don’t have to buy the most expensive instrument out there. Choose something that fits your purpose. Feel free to consult a music teacher or a music shop.
Its important that the instrument is appropriate for your child, no matter how you intend to obtain it.
Most young string players, for example, begin learning on smaller sized instruments as they feel uncomfortable playing full-sized instruments (too large for them).
For beginners it is advisable to invest in musical instruments in the lower price range. However, you also should keep in mind that learning on a sub-standard instrument can be demotivating and usually prevents progress.
Don’t Go Too Cheap
If you’re buying an instrument for a child, you can pick a cheap one but for a serious beginner you want something better. A $50 cheap guitar is unlikely to last long and may not sound inspiring. And if it breaks down, you will have to buy another one (basically you will end up spending more money than you would spend buying a quality, new guitar).
A quality instrument costs more but it saves money in the long run and it will make you practice more.
Use the Power of Social Media
Have a huge social media presence? Do you (or your friend) manage social media accounts for some school, college or charitable institution? If yes, you can post that you’re looking for a music instrument and ask for help.
You never know; one of your followers might want to sell an instrument. In some cases, they might even give it for free (you will have to collect it though).
Having a huge online presence can help you find help in the online community.