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The most common type of harmonica is the diatonic harmonica or Richter harmonica, named after Joseph Richter from Bohemia, a folk musician who developed this tuning system around 1825 (although this is disputed!). Diatonics have been used in almost every genre of music, from blues to rock and from reggae to jazz, and are astonishingly versatile for such a small and relatively inexpensive instrument.
12 Keys availableThe Easttop Brendan Power Lucky 13 PowerBender Harmonica has it all: the standard range you're used to plus that Big Bottom, right there in your hands! Once you get used to a 4-octave Bass Blues Harmonica it is very hard to go back to the restricted range of a 10-hole harp ever again. It's two harps for the price of one: normal and low range, without having to buy/store both or switch harps in a tune. Here are the main features of the Easttop Brendan Power Lucky 13 Powerbender: World's first 13-hole harp, Patent Pending. 4 octave range in PowerBender tuning, with lower octave tagged on to normal 10-hole range. The same 7.5mm hole spacing as a normal 10-hole harp! That means it's easy to adapt to. Comfortable curved top cover, bottom cover raised at the bass end so the draw reeds never rattle. Holes in the coverplate ends, for extra volume. Solid comb, flat-sanded. Durable phosphor-bronze reeds. Thick chromed reedplates, secured with 11 screws for uniform airtightness. Clear visual numbering on top cover relates to the 10-hole diatonic, to make sure you never lose your place. Available in all 12 keys Key indicators on front and ends of the comb, for those who like to stack harps vertically. Perfect for low chord rhythm or melody lines, and extended octave playing. Possible to re-tune the lower 3 holes to create new chords or extended alt tunings. Lucky 13 Demonstration Video: ... Read more
12 Keys availableThe Easttop Brendan Power Lucky 13 harmonica has it all: the standard range you're used to plus that Big Bottom, right there in your hands! Once you get used to a 4-octave Bass Blues Harmonica it is very hard to go back to the restricted range of a 10-hole harp ever again. It's two harps for the price of one: normal and low range, without having to buy/store both or switch harps in a tune. Here are the main features of the Easttop Brendan Power Lucky 13: World's first 13-hole harp, Patent Pending. Exactly 4 octave range in Richter tuning, with lower octave tagged on to normal 10-hole range. The same 7.5mm hole spacing as a normal 10-hole harp! That means it's easy to adapt to. Comfortable curved top cover, bottom cover raised at the bass end so the draw reeds never rattle. Holes in the coverplate ends, for extra volume. Solid comb, flat-sanded. Durable phosphor-bronze reeds. Thick chromed reedplates, secured with 11 screws for uniform airtightness. Clear visual numbering on top cover relates to the 10-hole diatonic, to make sure you never lose your place. Available in all 12 keys Key indicators on front and ends of the comb, for those who like to stack harps vertically. Perfect for low chord rhythm or melody lines, and extended octave playing. Possible to re-tune the lower 3 holes to create new chords or extended alt tunings. Lucky 13 Demonstration Video: ... Read more
12 Keys availableThe Easttop Brendan Power Lucky 13 harmonica - PowerDraw Tuning has it all: the standard range you're used to plus that Big Bottom, right there in your hands! Once you get used to a 4-octave Bass Blues Harmonica it is very hard to go back to the restricted range of a 10-hole harp ever again. It's two harps for the price of one: normal and low range, without having to buy/store both or switch harps in a tune. Here are the main features of the Easttop Brendan Power Lucky 13: World's first 13-hole harp, Patent Pending. 4 octave range in PowerDraw tuning, with lower octave tagged on to normal 10-hole range. The same 7.5mm hole spacing as a normal 10-hole harp! That means it's easy to adapt to. Comfortable curved top cover, bottom cover raised at the bass end so the draw reeds never rattle. Holes in the coverplate ends, for extra volume. Solid comb, flat-sanded. Durable phosphor-bronze reeds. Thick chromed reedplates, secured with 11 screws for uniform airtightness. Clear visual numbering on top cover relates to the 10-hole diatonic, to make sure you never lose your place. Available in all 12 keys Key indicators on front and ends of the comb, for those who like to stack harps vertically. Perfect for low chord rhythm or melody lines, and extended octave playing. Possible to re-tune the lower 3 holes to create new chords or extended alt tunings. Lucky 13 Demonstration Video: ... Read more
7 Keys availableThe Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica is versatile enough for any level of player, from beginner to expert. It has a solid construction, a traditional shape and a bright, articulate tone. The ABS comb is designed to be moisture and swell resistant, whilst the chromed metal covers ensure it will keep its good looks for many years. Reeds are traditional brass, and bend with ease, and, unusually for an entry level harmonica, the reed plates are replaceable. The Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica has an engraved top cover plate provides a pleasingly retro finish to this handsome harmonica. Available in a range of 7 standard major keys: C, D, E, F, G, A and Bb. Also available as a 7 harp set, which offers a significant saving over buying all of the keys individually. This diatonic 10-hole harmonica offers the classic sound and long-lasting reliability of any genuine Fender instrument. Players who are looking for a higher end diatonic should check out the Fender Blues Deville, which features highly durable and great sounding phosphor bronze reeds - similar to those used in Suzuki harps - but still comes in at an impressively low price point. About Fender Fender Musical Instrument Corp can trace it origins to Leo Fender's original business - Fender Radio Service, which was involved in the repair and maintenance of PAs and radio equipment. Experiments with the lap steel guitar in the 1940s led to them changing their name to Fender Instruments, and producing one of the earliest solid body electric guitars - the Telecaster. This led to the development of their most famous guitar - the Stratocaster - which helped to shape popular music throughout the 1960s and beyond. Harmonicas are a recent addition to the Fender portfolio of instruments, but the Blues Deluxe has the same level build quality, playability and tone you would expect from any product from the "Big F".... Read more
7 Keys availableThe Fender Blues Deville Harmonica is Fender's top line diatonic, featuring phosphor bronze reeds, a durable ABS comb and a cool matte black and gold finish, not dissimilar to Hohner's Pro Harp. Build quality and tone are excellent, and bending is easy with the phosphor bronze reeds. The Fender Blues Deville Harmonica features an ABS comb, which is extremely resistant to moisture and swelling and can be easily cleaned. Reeds are phospor bronze - usually found only on Suzuki harmonicas. These give a rich, bright tone, with exceptional durability. Some players have reported lifespans significantly greater than traditional bronze reeds. Available in a range of 7 standard major keys: C, D, E, F, G, A and Bb. Also available as a 7 harp set, which is priced at a level that is significantly cheaper than buying all 7 keys individually This diatonic 10-hole harmonica offers the classic sound and long-lasting reliability of any genuine Fender instrument. Players who are looking for an entry level diatonic should check out the Fender Blues Deluxe, which features replaceable brass reeds, a durable ABC comb, and cool retro looks at a great price point. About Fender Fender Musical Instrument Corp can trace it origins to Fender Radio Service, which repaired and maintained PA systems and radio equipment in the late 1930s and 1940s. Experiments with the lap steel guitar in the 1940s led to them becoming Fender Instruments, and producing one of the earliest solid body electric guitars - the Telecaster. This led to the development of their most famous guitar - the Stratocaster - which helped to shape popular music throughout the 1960s and beyond. Harmonicas are a relatively recent product line from Fender, but the their experience in instrument design and manufacturing has allowed them to hit the ground running with their harmonicas and related equipment - The Blues Deville really is an excellent harp that's worthy of the Fender name.... Read more
11 Keys availableThe Hohner Big River is an attractive and robust instrument offers an ideal basis for beginners. Streamlined covers with side vents, plastic comb and brass reed plates offer a fantastic price/quality ratio, and is the entry point in Hohner' range for a German built harp. The Big River is part of Hohner's MS line, which allows components from any of the MS models to be interchangeable. So, it is possible to marry Big River cover plates with a Blues Harp comb and Meisterklasse 580/20 reed plates. Like other MS models, the Big River uses a compromised tuning that is slightly closer to equal temperament than the Marine Band Classic and the Special 20. Reeds: 20. Reed Plate: Brass, 0.9mm. Keys: C Major, D Major, E Major, F Major, G Major, A Major, Bb Major, B Major. Comb: Plastic. Plastic snap box. Made in Germany About Hohner Hohner has been producing harmonicas and related instruments in Germany since the middle of the 19th century. It is responsible for many innovations in harmonica design and manufacturing, including the world's first production chromatic harmonica, and its harmonicas have been used by almost all of the 20th century's most important blues, folk, country, pop and jazz musicians.... Read more
7 Keys availableThe Hohner Blues Bender features "Patented Acoustic Covers" (PAC) for greater volume and easy note bending with its airtight plastic comb and thicker reed plates for a consistent tone. This mouth organ is ideal for anyone learning to play the Blues and those who are developing their note bending skills. Comb: ABS, black Number of hole: 10 Reeds: 20 brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: stainless steel Keys: C, D, E, F, G, A & B flat ... Read more
12 Keys availableThe brand name ”Blues Harp® “ has attained cult status in the contemporary music scene. The Hohner Blues Harp MS model features a functional design combining a wooden comb, high covers without side vents and high quality reed plates to give the instrument its typical bluesy sound, which has made it immensely popular with beginning and intermediate players alike. Every now and again, a branded article achieves such a high degree of success and widespread distribution that the brand name becomes synonymous with the generic product. This has certainly been the case with the Hohner Blues Harp®, now well into its fifth decade as one of Hohner‘s most popular diatonic model. Reeds: 20. Reed Plate: Brass, 0.9mm. Keys: C Major, Db Major, D Major, Eb Major, E Major, F Major, F# Major, G Major, Ab Major, A Major, Bb Major, B Major. Comb: Wood. Series: Modular System. Plastic snap box. ... Read more
32 Keys availableThe Hohner Marine Band 1896 Classic harmonica is the original blues harmonica. Today it is still manufactured in much the same way as when it was first introduced in 1896. Its uniquely authentic sound has defined the role of the harmonica in the blues tradition and made it the benchmark by which all others are judged. The archetypal blues harmonica with the traditional HOHNER tuning. The Marine Band Classic is one of the few Hohner diatonics that is available in a full range of natural and harmonic minor tunings. For low tunings, we recommend the Hohner Thunderbird, which has been designed from the ground up as a low tuned harmonica, but still has similar tone and feel to the classic Marine Band. Should you wish to replace reed plates on the Marine Band Classic, we recommend upgrading to the Andrew Zajac Marine Band Conversion Kit, which replaces the stock nails with a bolted setup, and makes the process of changing reed plates significantly easier. Original cover design from 1896 ensures the classic blues sound Greatly reduced swelling behaviour through double-coated pear wood comb Reeds: 20 Brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Comb: Pearwood, brown Mouthpiece: pearwood lacquered Cover surface: Stainless steel Made in Germany Check the Key for additional tuning options: Natural Minor & Harmonic Minor ... Read more
3 Keys availableThe Hohner Marine Band 364/24 is part of the 'hand-made series' by Hohner, and when Sonny Boy Williamson II played his well known song ”Bye Bye Bird“, the mouth organ he used was a model called the Echo Vamper. This was the British version of the Marine Band 364 for sale here, the construction of which has not changed since (with the exception of the cover engravings). Number of holes: 12 Mouthpiece surface: pearwood Reeds: 24 brass Cover Surface: Stainless steel Comb: pearwood, red Total range extended upwards Available in keys C, D & G ... Read more
13 Keys availableThe Hohner Marine Band Crossover is part of the Marine Band series, top-of-the-line professional quality instrument for the discerning player in modern blues, rock, jazz, soul or funk. The revolutionary laminated bamboo comb is completely sealed, making it water repellent and exceptionally stable. In combination with the screw together assembly the Crossover is extremely airtight, with fast, even response and a raspy, powerful sound which is exceptionally well suited to amplified playing as well as acoustic styles. The modern compromise tuning is ideal for single note playing in different positions in contemporary blues, rock, jazz, soul, funk, while still ensuring a full chord sound, making the Crossover an optimal addition to the great Marine Band range. Reeds: 20 Brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm, Brass Number of holes: 10 Cover surface: stainless steel Mouthpiece surface: SuperGlide lacquer Comb: bamboo, blond Now Also available in key G High ... Read more
11 Keys availableThe Hohner Marine Band Deluxe brings the incomparable sound of the Marine Band 1896 into the 21st century with a variety of improvements which optimise handling and ensure greater volume and faster response, while retaining the rich and powerful Hohner sound. Improved cover design gives greater volume and stability while preventing reed rattle. Completely assembled with screws for easy maintenance. Pear wood comb is triple-lacquered, minimising swelling and ensuring greater volume and faster response. Reed plate edges and channel openings with new Ultraglide coating are rounded off for greater playing comfort. Sturdy zipper case allows moisture to evaporate while keeping dust out. Reeds: 20 brass Cover Surface: Stainless steel Reed plates: 0.9 mm brass Mouthpiece Surface: SuperGlide lacquer Comb: pearwood, brown Comb Surface: triple lacquer 10-hole Tuning: Richter ... Read more
12 Keys availableThe Hohner Meisterklasse 580/20 is the most exclusive model in the MS range, and one of Hohner's premium diatonic harmonicas. It features alightweight metal comb and 1.05 mm reed plates. Ergonomically designed, with timelessly elegant chrome-plated covers that enable fast movement up and down the holes. The Meisterklasse's alloy comb, together with reed plates that are thicker than other MS harmonicas, provides it with a soulful but bright sound. The alloy comb gives great durability and the Meisterklasse has a nice weighty feel in the hands. The thicker reed plates provide greater volume than many of Hohner's other harmonicas, but bends are still easily available. Reeds: 20. Reed Plate: Brass, Nickel Plated 1.05mm. Keys: C Major, Db Major, D Major, E Major, F Major, G Major, Ab Major, A Major, Bb Major, B Major. Comb: Aluminium. Plastic snap box. Made in Germany About Hohner Hohner is one of the world's oldest harmonica manufacturers and has been producing harmonicas and related instruments and accessories in Germany since the middle of the 19th century. Its innovations include the world's first production chromatic harmonica and the first diatonic harmonica to feature a swell-resistant ABS comb. Today Hohner still produces all of its premium harmonicas (diatonics with an RRP of more than £25, and chromatics with an RRP of more than £90, typically) in its factory in Trossingen, Germany.... Read more
12 Keys availableThe new GOLD standard in sound and design The Golden Melody Progressive, HOHNER’s only professional diatonic model tuned to equal temperament, has undergone a radical redesign to improve handling, stability and airtightness. While retaining the warm tone which has made it a favorite of single note melody players in many different styles, the new Golden Melody Progressive offers a fuller, more powerful sound, combined with optimal playing comfort. And it looks great too! ... Read more
7 Keys availableNOTE: All keys except now in stock. The PentaHarp is built for all musicians, not just harmonica players! If you have every tried to learn the harmonica before and were confused with the note layout, this harmonica is for you. The PentaHarp’s intuitive design is easier to understand so you don’t have to use advanced techniques to get the notes that you know will work. You can play melodies and solos effortlessly! The Pentatonic scale is one of the most useful scales in popular music. Guitarists know this scale as “Playing in the Box”. Play any of these notes in the right key and you can’t play a wrong note. Hohner took this a step further by adding what is known as the “Blue Note”. This additional note adds a chromatic run for extra expression and is known to many as the “Blues Scale”. To play this scale on a standard harmonica you would have to perfect advanced techniques that could take years to master. Unlike standard Richter-tuned harmonicas, there is no need to play in 2nd position or “Cross Harp” position. The PentaHarp is straightforward in its tuning. You can play in the same key the song is in or the same harmonica can play a song in a major key if it is the relative minor. The notes are laid out in such a way that you do not need to draw bend, blow bend or overblow to play a useful scale! ... Read more
12 Keys availableThe Hohner Pro Harp MS has "Greblon" coated covers in matte black, which gives this model an unmistakable appearance. The black -coated covers and brass reed plates look fantastic and give the Pro Harp MS a powerful sound, which is popular with rock music harp players. The Pro Harp features an ABS comb that allows rapid movement across the holes and swell-free durability. A good alternative to the Special 20, for harmonica players looking for an easy to play harp that will last well. The Pro Harp is part of Hohner's MS range, which offers modular cross compatibility of all of the individual harps' components. So, it is possible, for example, to build a harmonica with the black cover plates from the Pro Harp, the nickel coated reed plates from the Meisterklasse and the wood comb from the Blues Harp. A wide range of alternate tunings, such as natural and harmonic minors, are also available aftermarket by swapping the reed plates. Comb: ABS, black Number of holes: 10 Reeds: 20 brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: lacquer, black Keys: C Major, Db Major, D Major, Eb Major, E Major, F Major, F# Major, G Major, Ab Major, A Major, Bb Major, B Major. Plastic snap case Made in Germany ... Read more
7 Keys availableWith the Hohner Rocket Amp harmonica, Hohner has developed one of the world‘s loudest and most comfortable harmonica models. The green Amp version is technically identical to the standard Rocket, but features covers without side vents, which facilitates a tight enclosure when cupping the harmonica with a microphone for amplified playing. The ABS green comb with rounded sides and edges ensures a supremely comfortable playing experience and allows great control of the instrument. This is a powerful, dynamic harmonica that is perfect both for live work and recording sessions. Made in Germany. Covers without side vents facilitate amplified playing via a microphone. Number of holes: 10. 0.9mm brass reeds. Diatonic Richter tuning. Stainless steel cover. ABS mouthpiece surface. Neoprene case. ABS Green comb Length:10.2cm Available in 7 keys (C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb) ... Read more
12 Keys availableThe Hohner Rocket represents a new breakthrough in diatonic harmonica design. The ergonomically designed comb has rounded sides and edges for wonderful comfort. Wide open cover plates and channel design enhance projection to ensure maximum loudness. The Rocket allows players to express a powerful, dynamic sound. In essence, the Rocket is a louder, slightly more responsive version of the Special 20, with which it shares many similarities, including an ABS comb and its general design. The Rocket has the advantage of greater airtightness over the Special 20, which contributes to its responsiveness and volume. In addition to the standard Rocket, there are a Rocket Low, which offers a range of low tuned keys, and a Rocket Amp, whose cover plate design is made specifically for use with microphones. Comb: ABS, Grey Number of holes: 10 Reeds: 20 brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Read Plate Surface: brass Cover Surface: stainless steel Available in 12 keys (G, Ab, A, Bb, B, C, Db, D, Eb, E, F, F#) Comes with a zipper case Made in Germany About Hohner Hohner can trace its history back to the middle of the 19th century, when it started manufacturing harmonicas in Germany. The company has been at the forefront of harmonica design since then, and has introduced many innovations, such as the world's first production chromatic harmonica and the first production harmonica with an ABS comb.... Read more
13 Keys availableHohner Special 20 has reed plates which are recessed into the injection moulded durable plastic comb, creating a projecting mouthpiece which offers unparalleled playing comfort. The special 20 has recessed reed plates affixed with screws. Rounded covers with closed sides give a warm, powerful tone which has made the Special 20 a favourite among rock and country players as well as blues musicians. The stable construction and full sound make the Special 20 one of the most popular Richter models. Airtight, loud and reliable. A superb choice of harp! This was the first Hohner harmonica to be manufactured with a plastic comb, potentially making it more airtight and less prone to swelling than wooden combed harps. Many modern harmonicas from other manufacturers are based on the Special 20. They say it's the most copied harmonica in the world! Also available in a handy pro-pack Hohner History - The Hohner Special 20 Hohner are the German based manufacturer that make the Special 20 harmonica. The Hohner special 20 is part of their progressive series, and has become their flagship entry harmonica. Hohner were founded in 1857 by Matthias Hohner. According to How To Play The Hohner 10 Hole Diatonic Harmonica by David Harp 650 harmonicas were made in their first year of production, Matthias Hohner, originally a clock maker began crafting harmonicas in 1857, assisted by his wife and a single employee. The Hohner Special 20 is a diatonic harmonica, and it wasn't until the 1920s, Hohner began manufacturing chromatic harmonicas, which unlike the "standard" diatonic form can be played in any key. Worldwide Delivery The Harmonica Company provide competitive delivery rates, and time frames across the entire World. We hold huge stocks of all popular and less common models and ship daily using express couriers. The Hohner Special 20 is by far one of our most popular products which we are proud to sell all over the world. If you are looking for the best price for the Special 20 with super fast service then we can certainly help.... Read more
7 Keys availableThe Hohner Special 20 Harmonica - Country Tuning The Hohner Special 20 harmonica - Country Tuning is designed to be played in the 2nd position (note that it is labelled in first positions, though) Hole 5 draw is tuned a half-step higher than the Richter tuned Special 20 to make the complete major scale available in 2nd position. The Hohner Special 20 harmonica has reed plates which are recessed into the injection moulded durable plastic comb, creating a projecting mouthpiece which offers unparalleled playing comfort. The Special 20 has recessed reed plates affixed with screws. Rounded covers with closed sides give a warm, powerful tone which has made the Special 20 a favourite among rock and country players as well as blues musicians. The Hohner Special 20 Country Tuning harmonica Hohner History - The Hohner Special 20 Hohner are the German based manufacturer that make the Special 20 harmonica. The Hohner special 20 is part of their progressive series, and has become their flagship entry harmonica. Hohner were founded in 1857 by Matthias Hohner. According to How To Play The Hohner 10 Hole Diatonic Harmonica by David Harp 650 harmonicas were made in their first year of production, Matthias Hohner, originally a clock maker began crafting harmonicas in 1857, assisted by his wife and a single employee. The Hohner Special 20 is a diatonic harmonica, and it wasn't until the 1920s, Hohner began manufacturing chromatic harmonicas, which unlike the "standard" diatonic form can be played in any key. To read more about Hohner Harmonicas, check out our useful guide here. Worldwide Delivery The Harmonica Company provide competitive delivery rates, and time frames across the entire World. Newsletter... Read more
16 Keys availableLee Oskar Major Diatonic harmonicas are tuned to the most commonly used tuning for playing Blues, Rock, Country Folk & Jazz. Major Diatonic harps are produced by several manufacturers using various names such as Blues Harp, Marine Band, Golden Melody, Big River, Special 20, Pro Harp, Folk Master, Star Performer, etc. Although the cover plates are stamped with a variety of different names for marketing purposes, all of these harmonicas have the exact same notation layout as the Lee Oskar Major Diatonic. The most important difference is in the quality of materials, construction, design and sound. All over the world, professional players use Lee Oskar Harps as their first choice harmonica. "Standard" Richter tuning Available in 14 Keys (Listed low to high): Lo F, G, Ab, A, Bb, B, C, Db, D, Eb, E, F, F#, Hi G Model: 1910 - Orange Label Manufactured by Tombo in Japan ... Read more
6 Keys availableThe Lee Oskar Melody Maker Harmonica is incredible for playing melodies in 2nd position (cross harp). Melody Makers™ are one of the best harps available for playing standard, single-note melodies. They're great for playing COUNTRY, R&B, POP, WORLD BEAT, AFRICAN and REGGAE. This tuning makes it easier to play many songs...that can be difficult, or impossible, to play on a standard Major Diatonic...in 2nd Position (cross harp). All of the notes that Lee Oskar are missing on the Major Diatonic range are right there on the Melody Maker™! These harmonicas provide a complete major scale, in cross harp, for playing exact melody without bending. Yet, the draw notes can still be bent for that bluesy feeling! Melody Makers™ are designed to be played in 2nd Position (Draw), not 1st Position(Blow). In 2nd Position, melodies can be played with an expressive, fluid style that is extremely difficult to achieve in 1st Position. Model: 1910MM - Blue Label Available in 6 Keys : Bb, C, D, E, G, A Manufactured by Tombo in Japan ... Read more
5 Keys available1847 CLASSIC - Wilde Minor Tunings - ideal for Rock in minor keys The special tuning Wilde Minor is directly derived from the Wilde Rock Tuning. Like the latter, the Wilde Minor Tuning enables the fluent playing of hard rock and blues rock licks, dedicated to minor-heavy pieces of music. The 1847 CLASSIC in Wilde Minor Tuning is available in the most commonly used minor keys of Cm, Dm, Em, Gm and Am (labeled in 2nd position). The key on the sticker describes the root note of the minor key played in 2nd position (more details, see below).... Read more
4 Keys availableThe Paddy Richter is altered from the Richter tuning by raising hole 3 blow for two semi-tones which is very useful especially for playing fast in Irish and Celtic music (1st pos: the 6th note of the major scale is playable without bending, 2nd pos.: the 2nd major scale not is available in the lower register without bending).... Read more
4 Keys availableWill Wilde Rock Harmonica Tuning SEYDEL Endorser Will Wilde is the inventor of this Special Tuning which is very well suited for "tougher" musical styles like Hardrock or Blues-Rock. Read here how this tuning was invented and why Will uses it regularely since a few years in his shows: "I designed the Wilde tuning specifically for playing hard rock and blues-rock on the harmonica. As much as I love the standard Richter tuning, I have always found it frustrating when it comes to playing “rock guitar” style licks, particularly in the upper octave. The Wilde tuning addresses all of the problems I had with Richter, whilst still retaining the bluesy feel of classic second position harmonica that we all know and love. Whereas Richter tuning was primarily designed for playing major chords and the major scale in first position, Wilde tuning is specifically designed for playing second position minor pentatonic and blues scale licks, throughout all three octaves. I have always preferred the sound of draw notes and draw bends to blow notes and blow bends, as you can get more expression and a better tone & vibrato from them. So, on the Wilde tuning ALL of the draw notes bend (from holes one to ten) and your root note lands on a draw in all three octaves. I think that the Wilde tuning is the configuration that every aspiring rock harp player has been waiting for."... Read more
31 Keys availableThe Seydel 1847 classic harmonica was the first mass-produced Richter diatonic harmonica with stainless steel reeds. The 1847 classic is the result of Seydel's 160-year of experience in manufacturing high-quality harmonicas. This Seydel blues harp fits all the traditional demands as well as being impressively innovative. This model is the Standard Richter tuning, however if you wish to get the Paddy Richter tuning, then please contact us Full and loud, overtone-rich sound and extremely fast tone-response due to stainless steel reeds Extremely durable and even with heavy duty playing - stainless steel reeds and stainless steel rivets Less air-loss due to fine-cut reed plates - optimised flatness and extremely small tolerances between reed and reed plate Beard and lip friendly - cover plates with rounded edges without any cuts at the mouthpiece and ergonomic built hole openings and rounded dividers The overtone-rich sound can spread out undampened - covers made of extra strong stainless steel sheet (0.4mm), opened wide at the back and crimped and therefore a good stability and rounded edges moisture proof, swelling free maple comb, sealed with multiple layers of food safe finish Tuning: Standard Richter - other tunings available on request, including Paddy Richter, Wilde Rock and EDharmonica. Keys: G to F# plus low tunings About Seydel Seydel is the world's oldest extant harmonica manufacturer and has been producing harmonicas in Saxony, Germany, since the middle of the 19th century. Its speciality is stainless steel reeds, which offer exceptional durability and clarity of tone. Seydel still manufactures all of its harmonicas in Germany and its products span the whole range of harmonica types, from octave and tremolo harps, through to 10 hole diatonics and larger chromatics.... Read more
12 Keys availableBlues Harmonica with corrosion-free stainless steel reeds, ergonomic covers and plastic comb. EDharmonica - easy diatonic harmonica with free online courses & hundreds of tabs. The EDharmonica is produced on demand! Therefore delivery might take 2 weeks. QUICK RESULTS FOR BEGINNERS. The EDharmonica is designed in accordance with the laws of music and it’s been created specially for an easier learning and quick results. GREATER POTENTIAL FOR ADVANCED PLAYERS. The EDharmonica enables intermediate and advanced players to conveniently play in all music genres, in various keys, offers more possibilities with the blues, and is perfect for solo performances.... Read more
7 Keys availableThe Seydel 1847 LIGHTNING harmonica with polished stainless steel reeds - a dream for all harmonica-lovers The 1847 LIGHTNING harmonica is made without compromise: the best components available and SEYDEL’s masterly craftsmanship were used to build this harmonica lover’s dream. What makes the 1847 LIGHTNING so special? For the first time we created polished stainless steel reeds for the best responsiveness, a beautifully ballanced fat tone and a very long lifetime. The 1847 LIGHTNING is available in the seven most commonly used keys: G, A, Bb, C, D, E, and F. It comes as well in a set of seven instruments. The 1847 LIGHTNING comes with a polished solid comb made of stainless steel that gives the instrument not only extra weight (155 g / 5,5 Oz) but as well adds a very resonant component to the sound. The shiny stainless steel coverplates with the special 1847 3D-imprint and side vents are completely rounded at the front and opened wide at the back for the best sound projection towards the audience. All parts (even the rivets and screws) are made of anti-corrosive materials. The 1847 LIGHTNING is designed to be a lifetime companion and ready for any musical challenge. The 1847 LIGHTNING - sound refined to perfection ... Read more
4 Keys availableThe Paddy Richter is altered from the Richter tuning by raising hole 3 blow for two semi-tones which is very useful especially for playing fast in Irish and Celtic music (1st pos: the 6th note of the major scale is playable without bending, 2nd pos.: the 2nd major scale not is available in the lower register without bending).... Read more
The Blues Harp
Diatonic harmonicas are often generically referred to as blues harps, due to their strong connection with blues music from the very early days of the genre. The diatonic harmonica itself is a single voice instrument and usually has 10 channels, each with one blow and one draw note - ie one note when the player blows through one hole and a different single note when they suck air through the same hole.
History of the Diatonic Harmonica
Although these is some evidence of a harmonica-like instrument having been produced in ancient China, the modern diatonic can trace its origins back to Germany and Bohemia in the 19th Century, where several companies, including Hohner and Seydel, began to mass produce instruments that resemble the harmonicas we play today. It’s worth remembering that these early harmonicas were originally designed to play German ‘Oompah’ music, with simple chords available at the low and and major key melody notes towards the middle to top of the harmonica. Strangely, this note layout, typically known as Richter, after its (slightly debated) creator Josef Richter, persists to this day, despite its limitations and many attempts to replace it with alternatives.
Although there have been many developments in materials, manufacturing technology and design over the years, most modern diatonics would not look unfamiliar to a 19th century harmonica player. In fact, apart from improved accuracy and tighter tolerances in the manufacturing of the reed plates, a Hohner 1896 Marine Band is virtually identical to an early 20th Century model of the same name.
The main development that influenced harmonica production was its use in folk and blues music, particularly in the USA, from the 1920s onwards. The blues harp was a readily available and inexpensive instrument that could accompany a guitar or banjo, and player soon discovered that they could take it far from its original Oompah music origins by bending draw notes down.
Today there are a number of harmonica manufacturers dotted around the world, with Germany and Japan being pre-eminent at the mid to high end and China being the main source of entry level and low end instruments.
What Does Diatonic Mean?
Diatonic means 'of the scale' and refers to the arrangement of notes in a heptatonic (7 notes per octave) scale in which there are five whole tones and two semitones per octave and in which the two semitones are separated from each other by two or three semitones.
In simple terms, this usually means that a diatonic harmonica is tuned to one specific key. So a C major diatonic harmonica will offer the notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, and B (just the white notes on a piano) at various pitches.
Because these harmonicas are tuned to a single key (ignoring the possibility of playing in second/third/etc positions), most players will require more than one in order to be able to play a variety of songs with other musicians. Luckily diatonic harmonicas are relatively inexpensive, compared to their chromatic counterparts (and, indeed, other instruments, such as guitars), so the purchasing of multiple keys does not need to be financially onerous. Multi packs of diatonics are also available, which offer significant savings over purchasing the same harps individually.
Best Harmonica for Beginners
It is tempting when starting to play a new instrument to purchase something at the budget end of the market. However, as harmonicas are relatively inexpensive, I would generally recommend starting with a German or Japanese made harp, which start at around £30. These will be easier to play than cheaper harps, will last longer and won’t hold you back when your playing improves. In fact, many professional players use harmonicas from the £30 to £40 price point, so, with occasional reed placate replacements this level of harp could last for many years in your harmonica playing journey.
Models that I would recommend for beginners include the Hohner Special 20, https://theharmonicacompany.com/product/suzuki-bluesmaster-harmonica, https://theharmonicacompany.com/product/seydel-session-standard-harmonica and https://theharmonicacompany.com/product/seydel-session-steel-blues-harmonica and the Lee Oskar Major Diatonic. These harps are all keenly priced, have replacement reed plates available, and feature plastic combs, which are resistant to swelling - a common problem with traditional wood-combed harmonicas.
Diatonic Harmonica in C
We recommend that your first diatonic harmonica is in the key of C Major. The reasons for this are multiple: first, C Major is the most popular key used in Western music, which means that you’ll be able to play along with a wider range of songs than any other key; second, and as a consequence of the key’s popularity, almost all beginner lessons on Youtube and other online video channels, start with a harmonica tuned to C; third, C sits right in the middle of standard tunings, meaning that it doesn’t have the harder to play low notes of a lower tuned harmonica or the rather squeaky high notes of a harmonica that is tuned to a higher key.
What Other Keys of Diatonic Harmonica to Buy?
Once you have mastered the basics of harmonica playing, you may want to expand your repertoire to songs outside of the key of C. G and A are popular choices, due to the ubiquity of popular songs written in these keys, but Bb is also a useful key to possess, particularly if you intend to play blues licks with a piano and/or horns.
Which Keys of Diatonic Harmonica are the Highest and Lowest?
Diatonics are labelled as standard keys (ie no high or low designation) from G (the lowest) to F# (the highest). A G harp that is a semitone higher than F#’ is referred to as a High G (and some manufacturers make a High A and a High Ab). Those with a range that start a semitone or more below G are referred to as ‘Low’ harmonicas (or sometimes ‘Tenor’ in chromatics). So a Low F, will be an octave lower than a standard F, but only a tone lower than a standard G. Low Low harps are two octaves lower than the standard key, but are usually confined to E, Eb and F, as below that the notes get extremely low and hard to play at the bottom end. Conversely, some manufacturers don’t offer a standard F#, due to its squeaky nature at the top end, and instead suggest that customers use a Low F# when playing in this key.
Low tuned harmonicas are harder to bend at the low end, but they do have a distinctive tone, and the top end tends to be much more useable than the very high notes on, say, a standard D or E harmonica.
10 Hole Diatonic
Most diatonics have 10 holes, thereby providing 20 notes - 10 on the blow reeds and 10 on the draw reeds. However, there are a small number of diatonics available with a greater range - typically 12 to 14 holes. These tend to feature the Richter note layout, but offer additional lower notes - much like having a low and a standard tuned harmonica combined into a single harp.
What is Meant by Second Position?
Harmonica players often talk about playing in second position, or less commonly, third or fourth position. This can be the source of much confusion, as it suggests a playing technique rather than what it actually is, which is playing a diatonic in a different key to the one in which it is labelled.
This may sound strange, so let’s explain what is meant by these ‘positions’. Consider the scale of C Major - all the white notes on a piano - C, D, E, F, G, A, B. Now consider the scale of G Major - G, A, B, C, D, E, F#. You’ll notice that the only difference in the notes is the F#, so a C harp can actually play all of the notes of the G major scale except for the F#. However, the F, which is available when playing G on a C harp is actually a key note (a 7th) in the blues scale. Combine this with the fact that playing in G on a C harp puts the notes that need to be bent for the blues scale on the draw (where they can be bent) and it’s clear why this arrangement (known as second position) is widely used by blues players.
There are many other positions (consider for example, that C major and A minor share the same notes), but second and first position are the most popular.
Natural Minor, Melody Maker and Alternative Tunings
The standard Richter tuning in the major key has many limitations, not least of which is the fact that it was designed to play a quite different genre of music than that which it is typically used for today. Manufacturers, and in some cases, individuals, have, as a consequence, created alternative tunings in order to circumvent this issue.
The most popular alternative tunings are natural harmonic minors. As the names suggest, these enable the natural minor and harmonic minor keys to be easily played on a diatonic, giving players access to minor key blues licks (typically using natural minor tunings) and Eastern style tunes, via the harmonic minor.
Other tunings, such as Powerbender, Powerdraw and Wilde Rock, aim to make the diatonic more suitable for playing the blues by ensuring that the notes that need to be bent are positioned on the draw reeds. Paddy Richter, in comparison, applies some subtle tweeks to Richter tuning to make it more suitable for playing rapid Irish style folk melodies. Melody Maker, which is available from Seydel and Lee Oskar, is designed to make major key melody playing more intuitive.
Seydel offers the widest range of alternative tunings, whilst Hohner and Suzuki limit their offering to natural and harmonic minors in one or two models.
What is the Difference Between a Diatonic and a Chromatic Harmonica?
As we have noted above, a diatonic harmonica is tuned to a specific key, and can only play notes outside of that key by the use of bends (more on this later). A chromatic harmonica, in comparison, has two sets of reeds, tuned a semitone apart, and usually has a slide, operated by the player, that directs air to the top or bottom set of reeds. This enables it to play all Western notes within a given range. An easy way to imagine this is to think of a piano keyboard - a diatonic in C will feature only white notes, whilst the chromatic will feature the white notes and black notes.
Chromatics are still labelled as being in a particular key, but this is related to the specific note layout and range rather than which key it is able to be played in. So, for example, a G chromatic will start and finish lower in the pitch range than a C chromatic, but many of the notes will be the same on both.
In general, diatonics are more suited to blues and rock, where the ability to bend notes is important, whilst chromatics’ greater range of available notes make them more suited to jazz and classical music.
Can I Play Chromatically on a Diatonic Harmonica?
Although diatonic harmonicas are set up to play only the notes in their listed key as standard, harp players, particularly those from the blues world, have long been adapting their technique to squeeze some chromaticism out of their instrument. This is achieved by bending notes down on the draw, thus flattening certain notes. The best players can access almost any Western note within the confines of the range of the harmonica using variations of this technique.
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