Since the harmonica is incredibly easy to pick up and play, it’s an ideal instrument for beginners.
You can carry it wherever you go and use it for any music style you want.
And it’s quite an affordable instrument too.
The only thing that might seem overwhelming to beginners is choosing which model to buy.
But if you do a little research, the buying process won’t be daunting at all.
Let us help you out with our pick of the 20 best harmonicas for beginners.
We will show you their main features, advantages, and potential downsides.
And if you’re still not sure how to choose the best harmonica for you or your kid, our comprehensive buyer’s guide will take you through all of the things you should factor in.
But let’s explore the best harmonicas for beginners first!
Table of Contents
- 20 Best Harmonicas For Beginners
- 1. Hohner Special 20 Harmonica
- 2. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica
- 3. Lee Oskar Harmonica
- 4. SEYDEL Blues Classic
- 5. Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica
- 6. Hohner Marine Band Harmonica
- 7. I-MART 10 Hole Diatonic Harmonica
- 8. Suzuki Promaster Harmonica
- 9. Eastar Captain Blues Diatonic Harmonica
- 10. Anwenk Harmonica
- 11. Kmise Harmonica French Harp Mouth Organ
- 12. Small Fish Harmonica
- 13. Melissa and Doug Beginner Extra-Large Harmonica
- 14. ARTHOMES Harmonica
- 15. NEUMA Harmonica
- 16. EastTop Harmonica
- 17. Johnson BK-520-C Blues King Harmonica
- 18. Hohner 1501BX Blues Band, Harmonica, C
- 19. SEYDEL Blues Session Steel Harmonica C
- 20. Harmo Torpedo Harmonica
- How To Choose The Best Harmonica For You
- Final Thoughts
20 Best Harmonicas For Beginners
1. Hohner Special 20 Harmonica
It’s hard to pick the best harmonica brand, but Hohner is definitely in the top 3.
It’s also known for manufacturing high-quality accordions.
Without a doubt, the Hohner Special 20 Harmonica will offer you everything you need to play your first notes.
Its responsiveness is excellent.
It has improved tuning accuracy and produces a beautiful, warm tone. The volume is also amazing, considering it’s an entry-level harmonica.
Although, this Hohner harmonica is also suitable for more experienced players.
Either way, it has excellent build quality. It features brass reed plates, stainless steel covers that are easy to clean, and a moisture-resistant plastic comb.
Another fantastic advantage for beginners is that the Hohner Special 20 Harmonica with thirty days of free lessons (they can be accessed online.) This can be a nice extra source if you’re taking online harmonica lessons.
- Great tone
- Highly responsive
- Nice build quality
- Comes with free lessons
- The appearance could be improved
2. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica
Fender is a brand primarily known for manufacturing guitars. But it seems like it’s also popular among harmonica players.
The Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica has a fantastic price; it costs less than $15!
Therefore, it’s a perfect choice for everyone on a budget.
It has a traditional shape, a metal cover, a molded PVC comb (it’s moisture resistant), and brass reeds.
It has a nice, classic tone and pitch.
Moreover, The Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica comes with a vented hard plastic case. It’s important to keep your harmonica well-protected.
All in all, if you’re looking for a reliable, budget-friendly starter harmonica, you should definitely put this one on the shortlist.
- Great price
- Nice tone
- A protective case is included
- The overall quality could be improved (but it’s good considering the price)
3. Lee Oskar Harmonica
This diatonic harmonica is very versatile; it’s popular both in Jazz and Blues as well as Rock and Country.
It will cost you around $50, which is perhaps more expensive than some other models on this list, but you’ll be sure to get a reliable, durable instrument.
It features a plastic comb with large holes for easier playing.
It also provides high responsiveness and loud volume.
And along with the airtight design, the Lee Oskar Harmonica really provides a great performance.
Moreover, its stainless-steel cover prevents corrosion, so it’s also quite resilient.
All things considered, you can’t go wrong with the Lee Oskar Harmonica.
- Might be pricey (compared to some other models)
4. SEYDEL Blues Classic
Just like the previous model, the SEYDEL Blues Classic isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but it’s definitely one of the best ones.
It features stainless-steel reeds and a durable maple-wood comb. It’s also waterproof which makes it even more resilient.
Besides durability, quality materials ensure a rich, loud tone.
On top of that, the SEYDEL Blues Classic features German Silver reedplates; they are finely-cut and responsible for the reduction of air loss.
It’s also very responsive which allows beginners to master the basics very quickly.
- Quality materials
- Good tone
5. Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica
Without a doubt, the Swan 10 Hole 20 Tones Harmonica will meet all your needs.
It’s well-designed and easy to play.
It has a copper reed plate with stainless steel cover plate. These high-grade materials make it both durable and visually attractive.
Most importantly, this Swan beginner harmonica provides a good sound quality. The sound is rich and pure.
Moreover, it comes with a plastic protective case so you can carry it around safely.
- Good sound
- The case is included
- Sound holes could be more consistent
6. Hohner Marine Band Harmonica
When it comes to the best harmonica brands, Hohner doesn’t need a special introduction.
If you’re looking for a recognizable, high-quality harmonica from a well-known manufacturer, the Hohner Marine Band Harmonica is for you.
This model is popular among beginners as well as experienced (and even famous) musicians.
That comes as no surprise since it has a full tone, a wide musical range, and an ability to produce rich, authentic sounds.
It features a distinct pearwood comb and 20 reeds alongside brass reed plates.
The Hohner Marine Band Harmonica is undeniably a fantastic choice for newcomers as well as intermediate players.
And it’s not even expensive; it will cost you around $50.
- Quality materials
- Authentic sound
- Beginners might find the mouthpiece a bit hard for the lips
7. I-MART 10 Hole Diatonic Harmonica
If you’re on a budget, you should check out the I-MART 10 Hole Diatonic Harmonica.
This harmonica costs less than $10. Although that might sound suspicious, it actually offers a decent playing experience.
It has a smooth plastic body and it’s available in different colors (blue, red, gold, and silver.)
However, you can’t expect the best quality at such a price. Although it can be useful for beginners of all ages, it’s not suitable for people who want to practice regularly.
On the other hand, it’s a good way for you or your kid to test the instrument and see if you like it.
- Low price
- Comes in different colors
- Looks decent
- The overall quality should be better
8. Suzuki Promaster Harmonica
This 10-Hole diatonic harmonica is a popular choice among beginners.
It has phosphor bronze replaceable reed plates and a Billet aluminum alloy comb.
It’s very airtight and well-constructed.
And it’s rather comfortable due to its polished and ergonomically designed stainless steel reeds.
Moreover, it produces a very nice, crisp tone.
It’s also very responsive so you can easily add expression to your playing.
It comes with a protective case and it’s reasonably priced (costs around $50.)
Basically, you can get a reliable harmonica suitable for regular practice at a very good price.
- Crisp tone
- Comes with a case
- The case could be of better quality
9. Eastar Captain Blues Diatonic Harmonica
A budget-friendly option that won’t cost you more than $20 is the Eastar Captain Blues Diatonic Harmonica.
This entry-level harmonica features non-toxic waterproof ABS combs, rustproof phosphor-bronze reeds, and thickened brass base. It’s very easy to clean and maintain.
It has 11 screws so it’s not prone to air leakage.
The appearance is also very nice, and it’s available in different colors.
It’s a great instrument both for adult beginners and kids.
So, despite the low price, the Eastar Captain Blues Diatonic Harmonica will ensure you a very enjoyable playing experience.
- Great price
- Nice sound
- The overall tone quality could be improved (but it’s great considering the price)
10. Anwenk Harmonica
The Anwenk Harmonica is another budget-friendly model on the list. But it definitely looks and sounds more expensive than it actually is.
It’s a perfect size for newcomers and kids, and comes in a popular key of C.
It features a plastic comb with a chrome steel cover. And the package includes a cleaning cloth and a carrying case.
With a surprisingly decent tone, the Anwenk Harmonica is a good choice for people who want to try how it feels to play the harmonica without spending a lot of money.
- Comes with a case
- Decent tone
- Looks nice
- Materials could be of better quality
11. Kmise Harmonica French Harp Mouth Organ
Kmise is a well-known instrument manufacturer.
And the Kmise Harmonica French Harp Mouth Organ won’t let you down.
It’s a rather cheap model (won’t cost you more than $20) but it provides nice playability.
It features phosphor bronze reeds producing a rich, mellow sound.
It also has stainless steel cover plate and an eye-catching black nickel finish.
Although it’s inexpensive, you’ll get a 45-day money-back guarantee and a 2-year warranty if you come across any problems.
- Good sound
- Looks nice
- Easy to play
- Suitable for kids
- The overall quality could be better (but it’s good considering the price)
12. Small Fish Harmonica
If you’re searching for a harmonica for your kid, you should check out this small low-priced harmonica.
It comes in different colors so you can pick the one that suits its owner.
With its pocket-sized design, it’s incredibly lightweight and easy to carry.
It has no sharp edges so it’s also comfortable to hold and play.
It features 10 holes, 20 brass reed plates, an ABS comb, and a stainless steel cover.
And it comes with a storage pouch, a cleaning cloth, and a simple instructions guide.
All things considered, the Small Fish Harmonica is a perfect choice for kids who are embarking on their first musical journey.
- Ideal for kids
- Easy to play
- Low price
- Accessories are included
- It’s a good instrument exclusively for kids
13. Melissa and Doug Beginner Extra-Large Harmonica
If you’re searching for a bigger size than the previous model, the Melissa and Doug Beginner Extra-Large Harmonica might be for you (or preferably your kid.)
Larger size makes it easier to isolate notes.
It comes in a shiny metal casing and it’s quite sturdy and well-constructed.
It’s a good choice for young beginners, but it might not be the best model for adult beginners who want to take their practice more seriously.
- Looks nice
- Takes more breath strength to play it (according to some customers)
14. ARTHOMES Harmonica
The ARTHOMES Harmonica is suitable both for children and adult beginners.
It features phosphor bronze reeds, ABS resin frets, and stainless steel cover plate.
It has a smooth finished surface and an airtight, stable structure. Therefore, the sound it produces is nice and clear.
Besides a cleaning cloth and a case, you’ll also get a unique gift: a 4 holes 8 tones necklace harmonica (no, that’s not an USB stick on the picture.)
In a nutshell, the ARTHOMES Harmonica is a well-designed harmonica suitable for beginners of all ages.
And it’s convenient for all kinds of genres and music styles.
- Suitable for all ages
- Comes with a free necklace harmonica
- Requires more breath to play (according to some customers)
15. NEUMA Harmonica
The NEUMA Harmonica is a good fit for beginners of all ages.
It features eco-friendly phosphor bronze reeds and top-grade stainless steel cover.
Due to good-quality materials, it produces a very nice, smooth sound.
It’s a C diatonic harmonica so it’s suitable for different genres including Folk, Pop, Country, and Jazz.
And with its sophisticated design, it looks really great.
However, considering the price (it costs around $10), it’s probably not the best choice for ambitious learners.
- Great appearance
- Low price
- Smooth sound
- Playability could be better
16. EastTop Harmonica
If pocket design is what you’re after, you should take a look at the EastTop Harmonica.
This stylish harmonica provides high responsiveness and great performance. It’s in the key of Bb.
Therefore, it’s suitable both for beginners and intermediate players.
It features phosphor bronze reeds, a brass cover with white paint, and an Acrylic comb.
The sound it produces is truly rich and sweet.
And it comes with a carrying case and a money-back guarantee.
- Good sound
- It’s in the key of Bb (the key of C is usually recommended for first-time beginners)
17. Johnson BK-520-C Blues King Harmonica
When it comes to beginner harmonicas for kids, the Johnson BK-520-C Blues King Harmonica is one of the options.
So, if you’re looking for a gift for your kid, this might be the solution.
It’s inexpensive (it will cost you less than $10) and delivers a decent performance. It’s available in all 12 major keys.
It comes with a plastic case and a cleaning cloth.
Of course, considering the price, the overall quality is not the best, but it’s more than enough for your little one to have a lot of fun.
- Low price
- Decent performance and sound
- The appearance could be improved
18. Hohner 1501BX Blues Band, Harmonica, C
We’ve already made clear that Hohner is one of the most trustworthy harmonica brands.
And the Hohner 1501BX Blues Band Harmonica will ensure you an enjoyable playing experience.
It’s inexpensive, so it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the best-selling beginner harmonicas.
This model is in the key of C but it’s also available in the Key of A and G.
Like most standard beginner harps, it features stainless steel cover plate and brass reed plates.
All in all, the Hohner 1501BX Blues Band Harmonica is a good choice for anyone looking for a budget-friendly harmonica by a well-known brand.
- Available in different keys
- Might require more tuning
19. SEYDEL Blues Session Steel Harmonica C
With the SEYDEL Blues Session Steel Harmonica C, you’ll be able to enhance your music skills in a quick and easy way.
The ergonomic stainless cover plate rounded at the mouthpiece will ensure you a comfortable practice.
This model has a fantastic lip-friendly design.
And it features corrosion-free stainless reeds and fine-cut reedplates (for minimal air consumption.)
If you’re willing to spend around $60 for your new instrument, this well-designed harmonica won’t disappoint you.
- Good sound
- Corrosion-free reeds
- More pricey than some other models
20. Harmo Torpedo Harmonica
Another model that provides great performance because it’s not the cheapest option is the Harmo Torpedo Harmonica.
It’s designed and manually optimized in the USA.
With the quality overblow set-up, you can rest assured you’ll get a harmonica in a perfect shape.
The Harmo Torpedo Harmonica is highly responsive and easy to play.
It’s well-constructed; besides excellent responsiveness, it offers great reed balance and air-tightness.
Consequently, it produces a powerful, loud sound. It’s well-suited for all kinds of music styles.
This is a great choice for ambitious beginners who want to start practicing with a high-quality instrument.
- Great performance
- High-quality, loud sound
- Highly responsive
- Optimized in the USA
- Pricey (compared to some other options)
How To Choose The Best Harmonica For You
As you can see, there are plenty of beginner harmonicas available on the market.
After all, it’s a very popular instrument due to its price, size, and portability.
And it’s a great gift for kids.
But how to choose the right harmonica when there are so many options?
First of all, you need to know what your goals are.
Do you want to learn how to play the harmonica just for fun and you’re not sure if it’s the right hobby for you?
Or do you want to take your practice more seriously and learn how to play your favorite songs?
In our list of the best harmonicas for beginners, we included different types of harmonica.
So, if you’re willing to dedicate yourself to your music lessons, you should opt for more expensive models.
And if you want to be a recreational (and occasional) player, there are many low-priced harmonicas on the list. You just need to make sure that they offer good playability.
Either way, there are some things you need to know before buying a new harmonica, so you can make an informed decision.
As we’ve already mentioned, if you’re planning to take harmonica lessons, you should opt for a more expensive model.
However, even good-quality models aren’t that expensive. You won’t spend more than $60 for a decent beginner harmonica.
And if you’re on a budget, you can find a harmonica for less than $10.
Of course, if you decide to buy a cheap harmonica, you need to be aware of its disadvantages. The sound will not be that good and you will probably need to replace it with a new one pretty soon.
So, even if you don’t want to spend a lot on a harmonica, you need to make sure it’s in a good condition. Even $10 is a lot for a harmonica that can’t be used properly.
Types of Harmonica
There are different types of harmonica, and you should choose the one that suits you best.
Diatonic harmonicas are the most popular among beginners. They are played in the key of C which is probably the best option for newcomers.
This type of harmonica is mostly used in rock, blues, and folk music. It’s a beloved instrument among musicians such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young.
On the other hand, the chromatic harmonica allows you to play in any key you want. If you press the button on the side, you can switch to a preferred key.
Chromatic harmonicas are perfect for music genres such as jazz, pop, and classical music.
There are also other types of harmonica including a bass, chord, echo, and tremolo harmonica. However, they’re probably more suitable for someone who already has basic music skills.
Nevertheless, the harmonica is a very versatile instrument. Once you gain basic skills, you’ll be able to explore all of these types of harmonica. It really never gets boring.
To understand what to look for in a harmonica, you should get to know its main parts.
Reeds are responsible for the tone of your harmonica. Each reed has its own pitch, depending on the key. They are attached to reed plates.
The comb is the main body of the harmonica. It contains the air chambers covering the reeds. It’s important to have a harmonica with a resilient, quality comb.
The mouthpiece should be ergonomically designed in order to make the playing more comfortable. It’s placed between the air chambers of the instrument and the player’s mouth.
Finally, the cover plate determines the tonal quality of the instrument and it’s available in different designs.
Materials and Build Quality
Materials of all of the parts named above are crucial in determining the quality of the sound.
The comb of the harmonica is traditionally made of wood. However, wood tends to absorb moisture and then dry and expand.
Many modern harmonicas (especially entry-level models) are made of ABS plastic and plated with metal. ABS is cheap but rather efficient.
When it comes to reeds, they are usually made from brass alloy (copper and zinc.) Corrosion-free stainless reeds are always a nice feature.
A lot of harmonicas for beginners also have phosphorus bronze reeds. For a beginner, they will do more than fine.
Although you should always avoid cheap materials when buying a new instrument, the harmonica is a type of instrument that needs to be replaced if you play it often. It’s definitely not like buying a piano or a guitar.
On the other hand, good-quality materials aren’t desirable only because of the instrument’s durability. They also impact the sound and the performance of the harmonica.
Also, if the harmonica isn’t well-designed, it will not be comfortable. Its edges shouldn’t be sharp, otherwise they will bother you while you’re playing. Your harmonica also shouldn’t feel hard on your lips.
This is also important if you’re buying a harmonica for your kid. Although many parents see it as a toy or a Christmas gift, unless it’s bought in a toy department, it’s an instrument.
In fact, your kid can develop love for music with the help of the harmonica. Therefore, their first instrument should be comfortable, easy to play, and capable of producing a nice sound. That way, your kid will be motivated to practice and learn more.
Once you buy your new harmonica and start playing, there are several things you can do to keep it in a good condition.
Just like most of the instruments, the harmonica requires cleaning and maintenance.
Luckily, it’s a tiny instrument, so you won’t have any problems doing it correctly.
If the comb of your harmonica is made of plastic, you can easily wash it with lukewarm water. You just need to let it dry afterward.
For deep cleaning, you can detach the cover plates and remove the reed plates. You can use a soft brush to clean them properly.
If you clean it regularly, as well as clean your mouth before you play it, your harmonica will thank you with peak performance and long life.
We hope our pick of the 20 best harmonicas offered you help and inspiration. And hopefully, our harmonica buying guide helped you narrow down the choices.
The harmonica is a really fun and versatile instrument. It’s very easy to hold and learn, which ultimately makes it an ideal instrument for beginners.
But with so many options on the market, it might seem hard to choose.
Even though most of these models are very affordable, you’ll still want to find a harmonica that suits you.
So, besides its appearance and price, you should make sure it’s well-constructed, responsive, and comfortable.
If you’re buying it online, reliable harmonica reviews and buyer’s guides will be very helpful.
After you do a little research (as you’ve already started), we’re sure you’ll make the right choice!