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Harmonicas by Manufacturer
Hohner is the world's most famous harmonica manufacturer and has been producing harps in Germany for over 150 years. Its current range includes harmonicas for all budgets and genres of music, from entry level diatonics through to some of the most sought after chromatics.
Laying claim to be the world's oldest extant harmonica manufacturer, Seydel manufactures a large range of high quality harmonicas in its Saxony facility. Its focus on stainless steel reeds, and wide variety of alternate tunings, has made it increasing popular with harmonica players seeking durable and great sounding harps.
Hailing from Japan, Suzuki develops and manufactures world class harmonicas with excellent attention to detail. Its use of phosphor bronze reeds in many of its harps increases their longevity, whilst providing a distinctive tone beloved of many players. The company has also been at the forefront of innovations in materials with its composite combs, which combine the tone and feel of wood with the swell resistance of ABS.
Also based in Japan, Tombo is perhaps best known for its production of the extremely popular Lee Oskar range of modular diatonic harmonicas. This is not all that it manufactures, however, as many players will know that it also produces some of the finest tremolo and orchestral harmonicas on the market today.
Lee Oskar - the virtuoso harmonica player behind funk/rock band War - saw a gap in the market for a modular harmonica system, available in a wide range of tunings, and with a modern, ergonomic design. With the help of Tombo, he created Lee Oskar Harmonicas, which produces some of the most popular and great sounding diatonic harmonicas currently available.
The name 'Fender' may be synonymous with electric guitars, such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster, but it has also been associated with harmonicas for many years. Today it offers two main models of diatonic, produced by Easttop: the entry level Blues Deluxe and the higher end Blues Deville. Both harps offer excellent playability and tone.
With a focus on the amplified harmonica, Greg Heumann's Blowsmeaway Productions makes some of the best sounding, most ergonomic harmonica microphones on the market. Used by more professional harp players than any other mic company, Blowsmeaway microphones combine vintage tone with modern reliability.
Based in China, Easttop manufactures harmonicas for a number of other companies, as well as offering its own range. At The Harmonica Company, we stock Easttop's Brendan Power Lucky 13 harmonica, which provides greater range than a standard 10 hole diatonic, and Brendan's 10 hole Easttop-made harps in Powerbender and Powerdraw tunings.
Pignose produces the iconic Pignose amp - a portable 5W battery powered amp that was first created in the late 1960s and has been used by a whole host of classic rock musicians over the years. With a great overdrive sound available at modest volume levels, it's the perfect amp for harp players taking their first steps into amplified playing.
The Harmonica Company stocks harps and accessories from all of the major harmonica manufacturers, including Hohner, Lee Oskar, Seydel, Suzuki and Tombo.
Hohner and Seydel
Hohner and Seydel - both of whom are based in Germany - are the two oldest harmonica manufacturers, tracing their origins back to the middle of the 19th Century. The latter, although less well known than Hohner, actually has a foundation date around a decade earlier than its more ubiquitous competitor. Its lower prominence is primarily a consequence of the misfortune of its factories to have been located behind the Iron Curtain between World War 2 and the dissolution of the GDR in the 1990s. Today, though, Seydel is back in private hands and manufacturing a wide range of diatonic, chromatic and octave/tremolo harmonicas, many of which feature the company's unique stainless steed reeds.
Hohner, in contrast, had the good fortune to be based in West Germany after the war, and is easily the most famous harmonica brand in the world, largely thanks to almost all leading blues folk and country harpists playing its harmonicas at some point in time. Today it has a large range of harmonicas that cover every niche and price point, from inexpensive plastic harmonicas for children, through to the £7,000 Silver Concerto Chromatic.
The Japanese Manufacturers - Suzuki and Tombo
From the 1960s onwards, Japanese brands, such as a Suzuki and Tombo have come to prominence, offering extremely well built and durable harmonicas, with their own innovations, such as the hybrid woo/resin comb on the Suzuki Manji and Olive harps. Japanese made harps tend to feature a slightly different temperament to European harps: the latter are generally made in compromise tuning, whilst Japanese made harmonicas tend to feature equal temperament. The latter tuning prioritises the purity of melody over chords, but the differences are fairly slight.
Chinese Made Harmonicas
In more recent years, a number Chinese harmponica manufacturers have appeared - the most prominent being Easttop and Kongsheng. Both of these companies have their own lines of harps, as well as producing instruments for European, American and Japanese companies.
In general, Chinese made harmonicas that are produced for existing brands tend to be positioned as entry level instruments. In many cases they can be excellent harps that perform well above their price point. However, it should also be noted that they generally don't have replacement reed plates available for them, so are effectively disposable once a reed requires replacing.
Fast Shipping and Great Customer Service from The Harmonica Company
The Harmonica Company offers fast worldwide shipping on all harmonicas and we always aim to provide the highest levels of service and customer satisfaction.Back to top