Jonathan Prestidge, Author at The Harmonica Company
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Author Archives: Jonathan Prestidge

Harmonica Construction and its Effects on Sound and Feel

Harmonica Construction and its Effects on Sound and Feel The harmonica isn’t a particularly complicated instrument, especially in diatonic form: essentially it’s not much more than two sets of vibrating reeds, a comb and a pair of metal cover plates. This apparent simplicity does, however, belie a wealth of differences between specific models and manufacturers. […]

Top 5 Chromatic Harmonicas

Top 5 Chromatic Harmonicas Chromatic harmonicas may not be as popular as their diatonic siblings, but there’s still a large variety of makes and models available. In this article we choose our top 5 chromatic harmoncias, across a range of price points. 1. Hohner CX12 The CX12’s looks may not be to everyone’s tastes – […]

Hohner Special 20 Versus Rocket

Hohner Special 20 Versus Rocket Hohner has a rather bewildering array of harmonicas in its range, many of which seem remarkably similar to each other. In this post we’re going to look at the Hohner Rocket, and the Special 20; both harmonicas that are ostensibly very similar and seem to occupy the same space in […]

Top 10 Diatonic Harmonicas

Top 10 Diatonic Harmonicas 10 hole diatonic harps are the most popular type of harmonica, and can be used to play a wide variety of musical genres, from jazz, through to folk and rock. Here, in no particular order, is our top 10: 1. Hohner Special 20 This is the harmonica that I recommend to […]

Harmonica Positions Explained

If you’re new to the harmonica there’s a good chance you’ve started by purchasing a harp in the key of C, and have tried to play along with something bluesy in that key. The results have probably been a little disappointing; you’re trying to sound like Little Walter, but the sound coming out of your harmonica is more akin to that made by little Johnny and his recorder from next door . Don’t worry, though – this is perfectly normal, and, in this article I’ll show you how using what is known as second position on the harp can make a big difference to your sound.

Alternate Tunings for Harmonicas – Why You Should Give Them a Try

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut as a musician. Guitarists often find themselves noodling around the minor pentatonic scale, pianists sometimes find it difficult to move away from their classical training, and drummers frequently bang out the same rhythm again and again (although not always at the same tempo (forgive me for the […]

How Much Difference do Comb Materials Make to the Sound of your Harmonica?

How Much Difference do Comb Materials Make to the Sound of your Harmonica? Musicians are often obsessed with the materials used in their instruments and how they affect tone. For years I was convinced that the high density of the wood used for my Telecaster’s body was the key to its sustain. That was until […]

Harmonica Tunings Explained – Low Tunings and Range

Harmonica Tunings Explained – Low Tunings and Range We’ve examined keys, tunings and playing positions in previous posts, but it recently occurred to me that some players, especially beginners, can be confused by specific pitch designations when buying a harmonica. Questions like ‘is a G harp lower than a C harp?’ or what’s a “Low […]

Some Musical Theory – Temperament and Why it Matters

Some Musical Theory – Temperament and Why it Matters If you’ve been playing for a while, chances are that you’ll have come across the terms ‘equal temperament’ or ‘just intonation’. Those of you of with classical training in one instrument or another may even dimly recall what these terms mean. Others may be rapidly moving […]

How Difficult is it to Learn the Harmonica? – Part 2

How Difficult is it to Learn the Harmonica?  – Part 2 Musical instruments are hard to play well. This applies to almost any instrument beyond the most basic percussive devices. Whilst this may not be a particularly motivational sentiment for an article on the difficulty of learning the harmonica, please bear with me – I […]

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