Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Best Harmonicas 2024? Here’s 10+ ‘Must-Have’ Mouth Organs!!

Which harmonica has the best sound? Which brand of harmonica is best?

The best harmonica – it’s a topic that’s still (despite the internet) not discussed all that often.

So much so that if you’re in the market to buy a harmonica, fathoming which is the right harmonica for you & your style of play, can be tricky. Because while you may see phrases like “suited for Blues” or “designed with beginners in mind” on virtually every harmonica listing (as we’ve discovered) that’s not always the case. Let’s just say that the internet isn’t always 100% truthful.

Combine that with the sheer amount of notes each harmonica comes in + the fact that the majority of cheap harmonicas are of ‘questionable’ quality (cough) made in China, & it’s not hard to see why choosing the right harmonica is such a gruelling task. Granted, these small handheld instruments are relatively inexpensive when compared with something like a piano, drum set or guitar. BUT that shouldn’t mean you have to compromise on quality.

Question is then, with there being that many variables involved with buying a harmonica, how do you track down the best? Are there any harmonica brands you can trust? What about if you’re kitting out a band – which harmonicas should you opt for? Read on to discover all this & more…

After something specific about what’s the best harmonica brand? Or just curious what we deem to be the best harmonica? Use the menu below to find all the info you need about mouth organs super fast…

a grandpa using a harmonica to entertain kids

NOTE: Curious about more handheld instruments besides harmonicas? Be sure to check out our reviews of the Popular Lyre Harps + the Best Melodicas You Can Buy too.

SPOILER: Not all harmonicas are the same.

Despite being one of the most kooky instruments out there today, there’s a surprising amount of variation both in (A) notes & (B) tonality & sound. Team that with the fact that some are made specifically for professionals, while others are aimed more at beginners & finding the best harmonica can soon turn into a struggle. Not to mention get confusing. As balmy as it sounds, the cheapest mouth organs aren’t always the best value. So spending £40-50 on a mouth organ, may actually (in the long run) work out to be better value.

But no matter – we’ve done 90% of the work for you! Keep reading to dive into our rundown of the best harmonicas for sale today + get a better idea of which harmonica is best suited to you…

1: Hohner M2013BX-C Rocket harmonica

2: Suzuki Promaster harmonica

harmonica reviews

3: Fender Blues Deluxe harmonica

4: Suzuki HA-20-C mouth organ

5: East Top Forerunner harmonica (12-hole)

6: Hohner Marine Band harmonica (M189693X/ 10 hole)

shiny silver harmonica resting in its case

7: East Top Tremolo mouth organ (24 holes!)

8: Suzuki Bluesmaster MR-250 harmonica

9: Hohner 560PBX-D stainless steel harmonica

blues band using a harmonica to wow the crowd

Not all harmonicas are cut out for Blues (shock-horror)

So, if you’re after that classic gritty, yet melancholic Blues tone, then you’d be wise not to buy the first mouth organ you clap eyes on. Casual habits like that are only going to make achieving such a sound twice as hard! And that’s because to truly nail the Blues sound, you can’t just ‘make do’ with any old harmonica. Oh no.

You need a specialist harmonica that’s purposefully made around the aim of achieving a sombre tone – i.e. a harmonica that gives you the best chance possible of achieving Bluesy vibes. Unsure where to start? Fear not! Here’s the harmonica we’d choose if we were on the hunt for the best harmonica for Blues…

10: Lee Oskar major diatonic harmonica

Want to get a feel for diatonic harmonics & why they’re the way to go for Blues? Dive into this guide by Howcast…

YouTube video
band using a set of harmonicas to play a full song

As with virtually all musical instruments, if you’re buying a harmonica for a someone younger, it’ll likely influence which harmonica you buy.

By that we mean, not all harmonicas are best suited for kids, especially those with super small fingers & who’re yet to develop a good amount of muscle. Give a harmonica to a 2/3 year old & chances are they’ll get tired of holding its heavy metal body very quickly. Not to mention lack the puff to have it make any sort of controlled sound. Hurdles you can overcome with a kids harmonica.

Typically made of plastic, these are more of a toy harmonica than a serious instrument, BUT they remain a great starting point for any young child. Our editor should know – he had a harmonica just like this when he was a kid, only it was bright red. With that in mind then, here’s our pick for the best kids harmonica…

11: East Top Diatonic Blues harmonica (10 hole)

Kitting out a band or a large group (for instance, a school) with harmonicas is a whole other kettle of fish. You need to give it a LOT more thought.

Because by buying a harmonica set, you’re not actually buying 1 or 2 or 3, not even 4 harmonicas – in a full set there’s a whopping 12 of these bad boys. That’s one for every single key! So before you put your money where your mouth is, you have to pretty certain that the harmonica set that you’re buying is (A) reliable across the range in terms of tone & (B) is appeals to all players – i.e. is ‘pick up & pay’ friendly.

Now while you can buy both chromatic & diatonic harmonicas as part of a set, we do have a soft spot for diatonic. So in the case you’re after a set for a band (more specifically a Blues band), this is the harmonica set we’d advise you to buy…

12: Fender Blues Deluxe (pack of 7 – C, G, A, D, F, E, B Flat)

Enjoy this best harmonica review & keen for more? Don’t forget to read the rest of Reviews Of Alternative Instruments, as well as take a dive into our Knowledge Of Musical Instruments. Recently, we also did a rundown of Best EWIs + another on the Best Kalimba Thumb Pianos, which may also be a good read.

different types of harmonicas

Or, if you’re here purely to learn more about harmonicas, keep reading & we’ll answer even more of your burning questions…

Considering how widely used and reasonably priced the harmonica is, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are many alternatives available on the market. Knowing the best brands is helpful because many different harmonicas are available. 

The best harmonicas on the market that might be perfect for any already experienced harmonica player are:

  • Seydel 1847 Lightning.
  • Suzuki Manji.
  • Brendan Power Powerbender.
  • Suzuki Pure Harp.

As surprising as this may sound to you, choosing who to put on our list of the top harmonica players wasn’t that difficult. You see, there aren’t too many competitors. The harmonicists that only possess the best capabilities were included on this list. 

However, we also added some variety by considering their level of inventiveness and the extent to which they impacted the music business. To make things simpler, we also have several runners-up and honourable mentions…

  1. Big Mama Thornton
  2. Phil Wiggins
  3. John Popper

Not all harmonicas are the same! There are 3 types of harmonicas, and they all sound differently according to their type. Chromatic, diatonic, and Asian tremolo harmonicas are the three fundamental kinds. You may readily play semitones on the Chromatic style of harmonica. It can refer to either the conventional form (with a slide) or Tombo’s slides variations in the online world context. 

A diatonic harmonica falls into a separate category, and it contains ten holes, giving the player access to 19 notes in a three-octave range (10 holes times a draw and a blow for each hole minus one repeating note). In a single key, a musician may play chords and melody on a typical diatonic harmonica. 

On the other hand, the tremolo harp has more materials and is the most common type of harmonica in East Asia.

The Hohner Marine Band harmonica is one of the most well-known harmonicas used by top-tier professional harmonica players. Hohner has maintained its position as a leader in producing high-quality harmonicas by employing the best manufacturing technique to create these instruments with the most excellent sound quality. This harmonica has arching stainless steel cover plates with side vents attached to the comb for further strength. 

A fantastic version of this harmonica is the Hohner Special 20. The Hohner Special 20 harmonica is a great option for professional harmonica players of various styles, from blues to country, folk to rock, thanks to its gorgeous tone and superb bendability.

Bob Dylan was widely recognised for magnifying most of his songs with harmonica. Dylan has come to be closely connected with the harmonica, and many consider him one of the most influential performers in creating upbeat enjoyable music. 

The Hohner harmonica is Dylan’s preferred instrument. With the Bob Dylan harmonica, Hohner advanced innovation significantly. This particular series has undergone years of refinement and arduous investigation. Additionally, like other limited editions that serve as a manufacturer’s flagship, the Bob Dylan Signature Series was created using cutting-edge technology.

As mentioned above, many professionals use the Hohner harmonica, and there’s no doubt that Billy Joel is one the most professional and popular players of this instrument. His choice has always been none other than the Hohner harmonica. For many years, Billy Joel has been regarded as one of the best musicians in the world.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s music has influenced generations of listeners on every continent. He produced one of the most enduring tunes of all time with Piano Man. His HOHNER harmonica, which has always traveled with him, may also be heard on this tune. So creating Billy Joel’s own Hohner Signature Edition in his honour was long overdue.

It pays to get a harp made of high-quality raw materials. We would recommend that you never purchase a used harmonica. Since this is a mouth-held tool, it may not be as sanitary as one might imagine, no matter the lower price. 

Harmonicas can be a bit tricky to choose, and what you should consider before buying one are various aspects such as the comb, pricing, and cover plates. A ten-hole single-reed diatonic harmonica in the key of C is what we advise you to get if you are a complete novice. 

These harmonicas are also among our most affordable options. However, avoid selecting the least expensive option! The more dependable and simple it is to play, the higher the quality instrument you get.

The answer is -4 on C harmonica. What’s the trick to playing the harmonica with a genuine bluesy sound? Bending! If you master your bends, you’ll be able to give every song the soul and emotion it needs—something that’s impossible with only single notes. 

With an F harmonica, which has the highest pitch (F sharp is the highest pitch harp, and G is the lowest), it is simple to learn how to bend notes and control the draw notes on the lower holes. You’ll be using an F harp and playing in C). The hole that most individuals can learn to bend considerably fast and readily for the first time is on the -4 on the C harmonica.

The harmonica is a reasonably simple instrument to master compared to other wind instruments. But it would be best if you also learned how to manage your breathing to play well. Drawing or blowing on the holes of the harmonica produces every note. 

A common error newcomers make is thinking that a good strategy is as simple as blowing up a balloon. But without initially developing the proper procedures, the sounds generated are frequently unpleasant and challenging to regulate. 

This might be challenging to completely comprehend if you have never played a wind instrument before. The process of learning harmonica bending is among the most thrilling. Although producing bent notes may be a lot of fun, it takes some practice to become a master at it.