Jamming has always been an important part of growing with music. By having unregulated music sessions where people are free to play how they like, it becomes easier to find out what kind of musician you are. This is what a few students found. To put it into practice, they decided that they would meet every day whenever they were free and have a jam session. All of them also agreed to play a different instrument each time, with no one spending all their time on any one instrument.
Doing this, most of them came to find instruments they were good at or enjoyed the most. However, one of them could not settle into any particular instrument. He went through everything they had: Bongo drums
, the acoustic guitar
, the trumpet
, accordion, tambourine, and more, but he could never settle for one. One day, a friend of his played a jazz recording, where in the middle of the song, all of the music stopped and someone took an instrumental solo. The solo was wonderful; it was deep and mournful, with a lot of range and class. He couldn’t believe his ears. After a little research on his phone, he was stunned to discover that all of that was done using this small, inconspicuous instrument called the harmonica. He just had to have it.
A harmonica is a powerful instrument. Its strength, acoustic capability, and range are not indicated by its size. It is designed to be able to play a wide range of notes and scales that make it an incredible, yet portable choice for jazz, classical music, folk, blues, and even more contemporary music.
For the musician interested in this wonderful instrument, it is important to know how to get the best harmonica for you. There are certain factors that have to be considered for you to get the right piece. To make it easier for you, we have written this guide to help.
An important factor to consider when purchasing a harmonica is its price. We conducted research and found that the price of a harmonica is based on such factors as the brand, the type, and the size, among other things. We also found that the price of a good harmonica can range anywhere from $15 to upwards of $1000. The more features you want, the more you should be ready to pay. There are harmonicas priced lower than this price range, but these cheap harmonicas are not usually of the best quality and will likely turn out to be big disappointments when it is time to play. You would do well to stay away from them.
The most effective way to discover the best harmonica for you is to consider the features. These features vary between harmonicas and determine how suitable a particular one is to you. Here are some important features to look out for:
- Level of Play
- Replaceable Reeds
- Carrying Case
Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of these features.
Construction and Design
There are several types of harmonicas. There is the diatonic harmonica, which is key specific. A diatonic harmonica can only play one key. A basic ten-hole diatonic harmonica is the best choice for a beginner. The tremolo is similar, but has two sets of reeds per note where the diatonic usually has single reeds per note. Each of the two reeds in the set is tuned slightly differently to each other. The effect from these two slightly differently tuned reeds is what gives it its distinct sound. The chromatic is a slightly more complex harmonica, which is capable of playing semi-tones. With this kind of harmonica and with appropriate skill, a player can play any key. This last type of harmonica is best suited for the most skilled players. There are other less popular types of harmonicas, but they are usually variants of these three.
A harmonica can come in a variety of keys. This is especially true of the diatonic harmonica. The key a harmonica is pre-tuned to determines the music the harmonica can play. The most common key a basic harmonica will come in is the key of C. Once again, depending on your needs and skill level, you can either go for a single-key harmonica for easier but restrictive play or you can go for one that can play on all keys for a more skill-demanding and unrestrictive play.
While harmonicas are always portable, the size of a harmonica is still very important and must be considered. Though the size of a harmonica does not necessarily denote its acoustic ability, it could surely be an indication of its range as a 10-hole piece is not likely to be the same size as a 16-hole piece. The size of a harmonica can also determine how easy it is for the user to play in terms of hole spacing and handling. The size must also be considered in terms of how it fits the person playing it. There are people who will enjoy the feel and weight of a big harmonica, while some will prefer a smaller version.
A harmonica can be made from a combination of wood, plastic, and metal. The type of material will determine such things as the harmonica’s resistance to corrosion, its resilience to wear and tear from frequent use, and the endurance of its sound despite all of these. It is important to get a harmonica that you trust well enough to fulfill all of this.
The harmonica holes are important. These holes are the part through which the harmonica is controlled and operated. The number of holes varies from one harmonica to the other, with a standard diatonic harmonica having ten holes. Other harmonicas can have twelve or more holes at a time. As we’ve stated previously, the number of holes/reeds present in a harmonica will be indicative of its range.
Performance and Ease of Use
The reeds are an important part of the harmonica as they produce the sound you hear. This means that they are always in use, leading to the likelihood of frequent damage. For some harmonicas this can mean the end as they cannot be repaired or replaced. This is not true for all harmonicas, though. In some cases, you can replace the reeds with another set. A harmonica with replaceable reeds surely offers more options and is likely to last longer.
Harmonicas are often very small and can be easily carried around by the user in a pocket or even in the hand. This is very convenient, but is not always the safest for the harmonica. To assure its absolute safety, some producers provide an appropriate box to keep the harmonica in, so it can be transported safely.
When buying a harmonica, there are many things to consider. What material is the comb made of? Is it wood, metal, or plastic? Now that you have read through our buying guide, we believe you are well-informed about the right things to look for. When you consider these factors and determine what would work well for you, the following individual product/brand reviews will make your selection process easier.
Now that you have read this review, we hope the information provided will help you make the right choice. Go ahead and order that harmonica to help you create great music.