Best Blues Harmonica: Review of 8 Quality Harps

Photo of author

Blues makes you feel a whole range of emotions: sadness and melancholy, giving you hope for a better and happy future. The mouth organ is a traditional element of blues composition. Selecting the best blues harmonica is a responsible process because the quality of the instrument directly affects the sound reproduced.

Whether you want to perform music as masterfully as Paul Butterfield and Sonny Terry or play blues improvisation on your front porch, you need a properly tuned and durable instrument. Read my review with carefully selected harps of decent quality. Some options I use on a par with top-class harmonicas, and others were tested by my friends and colleagues who shared their impressions. For greater objectivity, I also analyzed many unbiased reviews on the Internet, both positive and negative.

8 Best Blues Harmonica Models Reviewed

All the options on the list have good build quality, beautiful sound and will satisfy both the beginner and the professional. I hope my guide will help you make selecting a harmonica for blues easier.

1. Fender Blues Deville Harmonica: Top Pick

Material: Bronze, Plastic, Polyvinyl Chloride
Instrument Key: C

This is one of my favorite harmonicas that has been making me happy for 6 years. It is ideal for playing heartbreaking blues compositions.

Fender offers the best blues harp at an affordable price. The materials from which the parts of this musical instrument are made guarantee durability and a rich tone. The reeds are made of phosphor bronze, and you can easily replace the reed plates with new ones. The comb is made of ABS plastic, resistant to moisture’s harmful effects. High-quality chrome-plated metal is used for covers. This sealed harmonica is a reliable choice for both professionals and beginners.

The common key of C allows you to play blues songs written in the key of G. I like the black matte finish, which feels good and doesn’t slip. Gold engraving gives a traditional look. The unpleasant moment is that this harmonica is not magnetized to the holder if you use one. Overall, this blues harp sounds as beautiful as it looks. Decent build quality makes it easy to play traditional and modern blues melodies.

Things You’d like
  • Durable construction
  • Solid design
  • Replaceable reed plates
  • Rich tone
  • Suitable for both beginners and professionals
Maybe You'll be confused
  • This harmonica is not magnetic to the holder

2. East Top Harmonica: Runner-Up

Material: Phosphor bronze reeds,brass reedplate with electroplate,stainless steel cover,ABS comb
Instrument Key: C

I purchased this harmonica about 5 years ago and still use it as a reserve musical instrument. It is also the best option for those just starting and looking for their first blues harp. You can easily create both simple melodies and note bending on it.

This harmonica is in the key of C. Its reeds are made of phosphor bronze. The plates are brass, with the addition of a galvanized coating. The manufacturer used non-toxic ABS plastic for the combs and stainless steel for the cover. All parts of harmonica are assembled by hand and securely fastened, guaranteeing high durability. The only downside for me was the sharp edges that don’t look like that in the photo. However, after several hours of continuous play, you will notice this design feature.

I like the smooth blue finish that has a modern look. I recently gave this harmonica to my sister. She is a beginner but noted a rich tone and quickly learned a few blues, folk, and country songs.

Things You’d like
  • Stylish design
  • Durable construction
  • Rich tone
  • Suitable for both beginners and professionals
Maybe You'll be confused
  • Sharp edges of the case

3. Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica: Budget Choice

Material: Plastic, Metal, Polyvinyl Chloride
Instrument Key: C

This is a decent harmonica for beginners and intermediate players. The manufacturer offers a good set of qualities at the lowest price. The construction is quite strong, and the parts are made of modern materials. Chrome-plated metal covers are durable, plastic combs provide tuning stability, and brass reeds give a soft tone. You can easily and inexpensively replace reed plates.

My friend has long dreamed of mastering the harmonica and wanted to buy several inexpensive models from various brands to choose the ideal one for him personally. The Fender Blues Deluxe became his favorite harp. This harmonica has a traditional design. The popular key of C makes it possible to perform many melodies of different genres, including the blues. In this case, cheap doesn’t mean bad. My friend likes the classic tone and clear sound of this harp. He noted that you would have to work hard to learn how to bend notes on this harmonica. This complex technique is best to master the harmonica of another brand.

Things You’d like
  • Suitable for both beginners and intermediate performers
  • Low cost
  • Durable construction
  • Traditional design
  • Clear tone
Maybe You'll be confused
  • It is hard to bend notes on this blues harp

4. SEYDEL Blues Harmonica: Premium Choice

Material: Stainless Steel,Aluminium,Silver
Instrument Key: C

If cost is not an issue, you can select a musical instrument that combines tradition, technologies, and true blues sound aesthetics.

I chose this harmonica as a gift for a dear friend who plays Chicago blues professionally. This SEYDEL harmonica is an improved 1847 model. The brand has over 160 years of experience in the mouth organs industry. Only the highest quality materials have been used to create this fantastic harp. Durability and bright sound are achieved thanks to stainless steel reeds. Fine-grained reed plates are made of German silver, and they are corrosion-resistant. For the cover plates, the manufacturer selected brushed stainless steel. This harmonica also has side vents.

Using these materials means the long life of the blues harp and the palpable weight. However, my friend said he likes feeling a solid heavy instrument in his hands. The harmonica is easy to clean, and the key of C also allows him to use the instrument as a 12 bar blues harmonica. My friend noticed that the harp reproduces a traditional blues sound. The quality construction guarantees a pleasant tone and allows you to control note bending and pitch easily.

Things You’d like
  • A brand with over 160 years of experience in making harmonicas
  • Parts are made of high-quality materials
  • Authentic sound
  • Solid design
Maybe You'll be confused
  • Heavy
  • High price

5. Fender Midnight Blues: Budget Set of Blues Harmonicas

Material: Bronze, Stainless Steel, Brass, Plastic, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
Instrument Key: A, Bb, C, D, E, F, and G

This set is designed specifically for beginners and intermediate players. It contains blues harps in 7 standard keys: A, Bb, C, D, E, F, and G. You also get a protective carrying case and cleaning cloth. The manual will be a great addition for those who are learning how to play blues harmonica. Choosing a kit of harmonicas allows you to play compositions in various genres, practice with a musical group and not depend on a certain key.

Fender offers decent quality for a minimal price. Blues harps have a traditional shape and a pleasant blue body color. Riveted phosphor bronze reeds guarantee a bright tone. Moisture-resistant combs are made of non-toxic plastic, and the stainless steel covers also ensure high durability.

My sister is not one to take long picks, so she opted for a Fender set to add harmonicas in different keys to her collection immediately. She has some jazz and blues skills and appreciated the rich tone of these harps. The construction makes it easy to play more complex melodies, and it is responsive even to a weak air flow. The downside is the design of the manual: the font is too small.

Things You’d like
  • Low cost
  • Decent quality of construction
  • Beautiful design
  • Rich tone
Maybe You'll be confused
  • The font in the Austin Bazaar is inconvenient to read

6. Hohner Accordions: Premium Set of Blues Harmonicas

Material: Fabric
Instrument Key: C, G, A, D, and E

Indeed every harmonica player has a harp from the Hohner brand. Offering customers exclusively high-quality instruments, the manufacturer has harps in different price categories. I know that German quality is worth every penny, so I bought this set about a year ago.

When you choose this set, you get 5 harmonics in the keys of C, G, A, D, and E. You also get a protective case. If you like a warm traditional sound, this is your perfect choice. The comb and mouthpiece are wood, and resistant to moisture, as they have a double lacquered coating. The reed plates are brass, and the cover plates are made of stainless steel, which increases the durability of the construction.

Even professional musicians will appreciate this set. These harmonicas allow you to play not only beautiful blues parts but are also versatile if you decide to play in any other style. Notes bend easily. If you choose Hohner, you are paying for solid little harps that last a long time. I did not like the case for carrying harmonicas because such musical instruments should be stored in a more durable bag.

Things You’d like
  • Authentic sound
  • High-quality construction
  • Suitable for both beginners and experienced performers
Maybe You'll be confused
  • The case for harmonicas is flimsy

7. URBANE Mouth Organ: Blues Harmonica for Beginners

Material: Resin, Plastic, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, Copper
Instrument Key: C

This harmonica is excellent value for money. It will be the best choice for beginners, but it will seem like a modest musical instrument for professionals. I know 2 musicians who mastered blues, country, and even classical melodies on this harp.

Fine tuning while manufacturing is a significant point. The beginner will receive accurate notes and a clear sound. Thanks to the decent quality of the materials, you can achieve the beautiful key of C. The reed plate is copper, which gives a bright and loud sound. A familiar musician noted that this harp seems like a bagpipe in a pocket. The comb is made of non-toxic food-grade resin.

Overall, this blues harp has good quality and a beautiful sound. It is easy to learn both the blues and other popular genres. Once you’ve mastered the basics, upgrade to a more professional instrument to learn advanced techniques. The small size will also be convenient for children. But musicians with large hands will find it inconvenient to hold a harmonica from the URBANE brand.

Things You’d like
  • Durable construction
  • Fine tuning
  • Affordable price
  • Suitable for both kids and adults
  • Loud sound
Maybe You'll be confused
  • The small size of the harp may be inconvenient for adults with large hands

8. Jieshiling Mouth Organ: Blues Harmonica for Kids

Material: Metal
Instrument Key: C

The harmonica is one of the easiest musical instruments to learn, even without knowledge of music theory. Playing songs on harmonicas trains the lungs, and that’s why the blues harp is an excellent gift for children.

The Jieshiling brand offers quality harmonicas at an affordable price. The reeds are made of phosphor bronze, providing corrosion resistance. Factory workers manually adjust the gap between the reeds so you can easily achieve the charming tome of this instrument. The comb is made of moisture-resistant and non-toxic ABS plastic, and stainless steel cover plates provide the durability of the construction.

The glossy case looks stylish, and the child will like it. You can choose the blue or black option. The pocket size allows kids to take this harmonica wherever they go. Key C is the most popular for beginners and makes it possible to master any genre.

This blues harmonica was a great gift for my colleague’s 9-year-old daughter. The girl dreamed of learning to play this musical instrument after attending a concert of one local blues band. At first, she simply improvised, and I will say that it sounded good. Later, the girl learned a few simple melodies. The sound this harp produces is clear and bright. It was perfectly tuned right out of the box.

Things You’d like
  • Stylish glossy design
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to play
  • Fine tuning
  • Affordable price
Maybe You'll be confused
  • The small size of the harp may be inconvenient for adults with large hands

Blues Harp Buying Guide

All blues harps are diatonic. However, different materials, tonality, and construction features affect how your blues harmonica music will sound.

How to choose the best blues harps

You need to know about the types of blues harmonica and how they differ. Below, you will find their essential characteristics.

1. Types of reeds

The material from which the reeds are made affects the durability of the instrument and its sound. Manufacturers often make these details from brass, phosphor bronze, or stainless steel.

  • Brass is the most common alloy used in reed making. It gives a soft and beautiful sound.
  • Phosphor bronze reeds produce a bit louder tone and are typically used in mid-range harmonicas.
  • Stainless steel reeds last longer than brass or bronze ones. They also give a brighter sound.
  • That doesn’t mean you should buy only harps with stainless steel details. Your choice depends on the sound you like.
Blues Harp Honer
Blues Harp

2. Material of combs

The material from which the combs are made affects the sound of the harmonica. But this difference in sound is more likely to be noticed by professionals than beginners. In general, one material or another has a more significant effect on the lifetime and durability of your blues harp.

  • Wooden combs are suitable for those who prefer a warm traditional tone. Their disadvantage is the deformation after prolonged contact with moisture and exposure to warm air.
  • Some manufacturers add a protective layer to the wooden combs, which somewhat solves the problem.
  • The most common type of material is plastic. It has a brighter sound than wood, is non-toxic, and is resistant to moisture. However, careless handling of the harp can cause small cracks in the comb.
  • Combs made of metal alloys have a loud and bright sound. The use of this material is common among brands that offer high-end harmonicas. Metal combs are considered the most durable.

3. Venting

Some harmonicas have air vents on the side of the cover plate.

  • It is widely believed that having vents gives you more acoustic volume. However, experienced musicians claim that the volume of the sound of harmonicas with and without air vents differs slightly.
  • Experts say that venting affects the tone of your musical instrument. A harmonica without holes has a warmer, softer, and more subdued tone. A blues harp with side air vents sounds brighter.
  • Don’t cover or open the harmonica vents to create different tones while performing music. It is inconvenient, so try other options to see which one has the manner you prefer.

4. Which key to get

Think about what feelings you want to convey in the blues composition. The choice of key affects the reproduced sound and can make it muffled and brighter.

  • If you are a beginner, the best choice for playing blues melodies is the harmonica in the key of C. This key allows you to play most songs written in the key of G.
  • Many players consider the A key to being the standard for traditional blues. It gives a deep and muffled sound.
  • The key G creates a similar mood.
  • The keys E and F are suitable if you want to create a more upbeat mood in the music you play.
  • Professional blues performance is worth having different keys in the collection.

FAQ on Banjo Strings

I advise you to pay attention to these frequent questions. They will help you to avoid mistakes in choosing strings.

What is the most common harmonica key for blues?

The key of C is the most popular and standard for the blues harmonica. It is ideal for beginners and allows you to play most blues songs written in the key of G.

Are blues harmonicas different?

All blues harmonicas are diatonic. Depending on the musical instrument, they may have the different build quality and harmonica keys. The sound quality is also affected by the materials from which the details of the harp were made.

Is blues harmonica hard to learn?

The diatonic harmonica, which is essentially the blues harp, is the easiest to learn. Learning to play simple melodies is easy, even if you don’t know music theory. You will first need to learn how to control your breathing. More advanced techniques, such as bending notes, require regular practice.

Add the Blues to Your Musical Life

The blues has not lost its popularity for many years. One of the main secrets of creating a beautiful melancholic melody is the right choice of harmonica. That is true for both beginners and experienced musicians. There are many models of decent quality on the market, and you just have to choose the perfect one for you. Consider the size, materials, and key of the blues harp. I recommend the Fender Blues Deville harmonica. This instrument has a decent build quality, affordable price, and rich sound.

What is your favorite blues song? Share it in the comments!

Also read:

About the author

Hey, my name is John Peters, and I’m a co-founder and Jack’s co-editors. My country sole was born when I was not more than 4 years old and my dad brought several country records home. These were the records by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Asleep at The Wheel, and Neil Young. I fell in love with the genre forever back then. Before entering the university, I managed to gather a collection of over 1200 vinyl records with both classic and modern country releases.

Leave a Comment