which one

Which one


Which one?


The HarmonicasOnline Shop just likes to take advising one step further; here we give a clear explanation about the most commonly used harmonica’s , and we like to guide you further so you can make a sound choice of the various harmonica’s


As you (probably) know the harmonica is a blow instrument, the airflow brings a reed to vibrate which in turn produces tones.


There are many names for this beautiful musical instrument; we will give some examples: harmonica, bluesharp, diatonic harmonica, mouthorgan, face shuffle, saxophone, French harp, little mouth music, mouth harp en tin sandwich.

The word “harmonica” is a general name, within the harmonica’s there are different types and versions.




1)    Bluesharp (diatonic harmonica) Richter


This harmonica is widely used in blues music, but also fitted for rock, pop, country, folk and jazz music. The standard version has 10 holes, 19 tones, by using different techniques like bending, tonqueblock and vibrate it’s a musical instrument with endless possibilities to make music.


Known players of this musical instrument are: Sonny Boy Williams, Sonny Terry, Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Howlin Wolf, John Mayall, Liitle Walter, Charlie Musselwhite, Jean-Jack Milteau, Paul Butterfield and William Clarke.


A maxim is that if you are a starter, and this goes specially for the bluesharp (diatonic harmonica) it is best to make a choice of models with a plastic, bamboo of metal body ( that’s the part with the blow- and draw holes)


A starting harmonica player is often troubled with more loss of saliva that comes into the harmonica, so if the harmonica has a wooden body it’ll warp faster and gets less airtight on the connection of the reed plate with the body of the harmonica.


This problem is solved with the custom harmonica with wooden body by means of multiple layers of varnish, so the influence of moisture is annihilated.


Starter’s tip: The Hohner Special 20 and Suzuki Bluesmaster in C-key are perfect harmonicas for starters with a good quality-playability/price ratio.


2. Chromatic harmonica (chromate) Richter


A chromatic harmonica is in fact an improved diatonic harmonica, with 3 – 4 octaves with the same set-up.

By using the slider bar the note will be one semi-tone higher, so one can play chromatically.


Although the chromatic harmonica is often only known by its use in jazz music, it is certainly also fit for rock, pop and blues music. A known chromatic player all over the world for instance is Jean “Toots” Thielemans.


Starters tip: If you want quality and a good playability/price ratio the Hohner 270 the Luxe Chromate is a good choice for you to start.



3. Echo, tremolo, octave harmonica


These harmonica’s normally have 2 rows of holes one above the other and are available in different designs and lengths. They are still being used as accompanying instrument and for folk music; these are often blown on multiple holes at the same time to get beautiful accords.

Starter tip: The Seydel Mountain Harp 80-96 offers more than ample quality and playing pleasure for its price.




4. Custom harmonica

On principle every harmonica can be customised, but in real this happens mostly with the diatonic harmonica – bluesharp.


On a custom harmonica separate parts of the harmonica get an extra check and also improvements are made.


A custom harmonica has more playing comfort, plays easily and gives more playing pleasure. For more information on customising take a look at the Custom Harmonica page.


Starters tip: If  you want a customised harmonica the Hohner Special 20 Custom SB Standard is a perfect choice.

This custom harmonica has everything to give you a good start on playing this beautiful musical instrument, a good quality/price ratio and satisfaction or you money back warranty!


If you have questions as to what harmonica will suit me best, ask them via our contact form of call 0316-847923; EU 31.316.847923