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Published : 01/02/2020 14:33:20
Categories : Harmonicas
Diatonic harmonica Editor's Choice: Best all-around harmonica for beginners: Harmo Polar key of C
Everything you need at the perfect price. The Harmo Polar is a professional quality 10 hole diatonic harmonica featuring an easy to play Abs (easier to play than metal or wood combs), phosphore bronze reeds usually found on more expensive models and airtight super smooth slick covers that are easy on the lips. On top of that the Harmo Polar is available in 13 keys and many special tunings which makes it a great choice for a long term investment.
The Hohner Special 20 is one of the best selling harmonicas on the market but Hohner is a fast aging brand that has done no real improvement on their models for a very long time. The brass reeds in the Special 20 are famous for breaking easily. The Hohner Special 20 is not available in Low F and no special tunings other than country which are considerably marked up.
The Lee Oskar is also an aging model with brass reeds, the covers are not great but it does come in a lot of tunings and keys like the Polar.
The Suzuki Promaster harmonica features Phosphore bronze reeds and an aluminum comb. The sound is clear but maybe a bit too cold for Blues and it's also a 25-30% price difference with our top pick.
As we pointed out in our previous article what harmonica keys do you need? As a beginner, you want to buy a harmonica in the key of C to get started.
If you have deeper pockets we'd recommend to go for a Harmo Custom Shop model. Designed and Assembled in the US this model also offers a manual reed setup and gives you the most options available for a harmonica on the market today:
For beginners we recommend any comb and covers of your choice with a classic reed setup in the key of C.
Chromatic harmonica for beginners Editor's choice: Harmo Angel 12.
With its slick white acrylic comb and high-quality phosphore bronze reeds the Angel 12 is the best chromatic harmonica money can get as a beginner but also in this price range. The slider is as smooth as they come and the sound is excellent. We also liked that slider spring and mouthpiece are available as spare parts.
Video of the Harmo Angel 12 chromatic harmonica:
Hohner Super Chromonica 270:
A 60-year-old model that has not undergone any improvement since it was first released. It is really hard to recommend this model as it is very leaky (tacky wood comb quality), brass reeds and a cover design that belongs to another century. The mouthpiece is not particularly comfortable with its sharp angles.
Hohner CX-12 Black:
The CX12 black is a more modern harmonica. it is easy to disassemble if you ever need to (we had to watch a tutorial the first time) and is user-friendly with its rounded shape and covers. Unfortunately behind the original concept the materials are disappointing: brass reeds, plastic comb and covers which in our opinion don't perform well acoustically. Too much plastic seems to make it a bit muffled with limited sound projection. If you intend to use it with a microphone that can still be a good choice. Spare parts are difficult to get. The slider very often comes blocked (to avoid damage during transport) you might need to tap the harmonica in order to release it.
The Suzuki SCX48 is a very good chromatic harmonica that has a lot in common with our top pick. Acrylic comb, phosphore bronze reeds and good slider action. Suzuki Quality check has nonetheless been going down the slope those last years. If you can cope with Suzuki facetious Customer Service it is still a good model. Spare parts are nearly impossible to obtain.
We don't recommend learning the chromatic on a 16 hole chromatic harmonica because it is bigger and a bit harder to handle.
But if you really want a 16 hole we would recommend the Angel 12's big brother the Harmo Angel 16 that shares the exact same specs and qualities as the 12 hole.