Published on 03/18/2011
How do you choose which harmonica to buy? Consider the Lee Oskar Major Diatonic or the Hohner Special 20 for a beginner. Both Hohner and Lee Oskar are popular brands played by pros. Each brand has their own following.
Both these harmonicas, or blues harps, have plastic combs, and have consistent volume, tone and durability. Both have 10 holes. They are well made and easy to play. Each diatonic is tuned to a single key, and the most popular of these is in the key of C. Hohner and Lee Oskar produce harmonicas in a vareity of different keys.
The Lee Oskar Major Diatonic has replacement reed plates which you can buy separately. Some professional players find replacing the reed plates a better option than buying a new harp every time they blow the harmonica out.
The Hohner Special 20 belongs to a brand of harmonicas which have a much larger variety than Lee Oskar. Hohner is the right choice if you were considering sticking to one brand and adding to the harmonica collection later on down the line. You might want to consider the Hohner Blues Harmonica with a wooden comb, which is said to produce warmer tones.
For your first harmonica, it is better to start out with a diatonic harmonica in the key of C. Choose the one you like the look of and feel comfortable holding. Hohner and Lee Oskar will provide the beginner a good harmonica to start playing. As you start playing with other musicians, you will need to add harmonicas in other keys. Try a new brand when you buy the next harmonica in a different key.