Best Professional Harmonica: Top 8 Harps Buyer’s Guide

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Buying a harmonica can be a tedious affair for beginners and professionals alike. Is this exactly what I need, or look for more? I decided to help you and focus your attention on harmonics that have long earned the recognition of experienced musicians. In a review of the best professional harmonica, you will read stories about your experiences with musical instruments. I will also share my tips on what to look for when picking a harmonica.

Best Professional Harmonica Reviewed

I have carefully collected reviews of various harmonica instruments to tell you about them. I would be happy if this review would inspire you to buy a harp that you will love.

1. Hohner 64: High-End Harmonica for Professional

Brand: Hohner
Type: Chromatic
Key: С
Number of Holes: 16
Item Weight: 8 ounces
Item Size: 7.8 × 1.2 × 1.8 inches
Material Type: Plastic

My co-worker Kevin plays one of the pro harmonicas. He had previously learned to play diatonic and had been playing it for a long time. Kevin now has a 4-octave harmonica from Hohner and is unsure if he wants to return to a diatonic instrument. Kevin likes that, unlike his previous harp, he can extract all the notes and now has more opportunities to play.

As for the sound quality, he doesn’t have any complaints. Kevin already had experience playing a Hohner instrument. He knows how flawless it can sound, and this model lived up to his expectations. Kevin said that the harp produced a clean, smooth sound. This harmonica has a comb made of durable plastic. That makes the harmonica easy to care for and will last long in all climates.

The stainless steel outer case has a laconic Hohner-style look. The harmonica is a C tonality and four octaves, so the musician will no longer need to buy harmonics in other tones. All necessary notes can be extracted from this chromatic instrument.

Things You’d like
  • Durable and sealed design
  • Easy to replace reeds
  • Plays crisp notes
  • Large holes for easy play
Maybe You'll be confused
  • You need to get used to the large holes in the comb

2. East Top King Dream: Best Professional Harmonica With 12 Holes

Brand: East Top
Type: Chromatic
Key: С
Number of Holes: 16
Item Weight: 8,1 ounces
Item Size: 6.22 × 1.65 × 1.22 inches
Material Type: Phosphor bronze reeds, brass reed plate, brass cover with black paint

My friend Ryan had always played the diatonic harmonica, but now he had decided to try the chromatic. The harp made a good impression on him as soon as he picked it up. The instrument has the optimum weight for comfortable playing. The harmonica feels good in his hands because of the metal body. This model has a rounded mouthpiece. Ryan had previously played harmonica with a standard mouthpiece, but he enjoyed the new experience. The instrument produces a clear sound, but it takes some effort to get the harmonica to play loudly.

This harmonica has 12 holes and 48 tones. It is made of durable materials and is resistant to external influences. For example, the plastic comb is resistant to moisture, and the reeds are coated with a unique material that prevents them from rusting. This instrument is suitable for playing blues, jazz, and other classical music.

Things You’d like
  • Comb made of ABS plastic
  • 12 holes
  • Tone C
Maybe You'll be confused
  • You have to blow hard to get a loud sound

3.​​ Suzuki (HA-20-C) Best Budget Professional Harmonica

Brand: Suzuki
Type: Chromatic
Key: С
Number of Holes: 10
Item Weight: 4 ounces
Item Size: 3,94 х 1,57 х 0,79 inches
Material Type: Bronze

My neighbor Jack has been playing a diatonic harmonica for a long time. Recently he decided to buy another one as a spare. He liked that it was a reliable instrument from a well-known Suzuki brand, and at the same time, it was cheap, as for a professional harmonica. Jack says that this instrument has all the qualities that are important to him. That is a stylish design, good build quality, and a lovely sound. To play it, he does not need to put in much effort. The instrument is very responsive. Also, Jack likes that the harmonica is versatile and can play most of his favorite tunes on it. There is a feeling that the harmonica weighs more than stated, but this is a moot point.

This harmonica from the Suzuki brand is assembled from durable materials. Phosphor bronze reeds and ABS plastic comb are resistant to moisture. So if the musician has to play in a humid climate even for a long time, it will not affect the performance of the harmonica. A nice bonus will be the availability of the case in the kit. It is proper for transportation or if the harmonica is intended for someone as a gift.

Things You’d like
  • Comb made of ABS plastic
  • Build quality
  • Tone C
Maybe You'll be confused
  • It weighs more than stated

4. Seydel Symphony: Best Quality Harmonica for Professional

Brand: Seydel
Type: Chromatic
Key: С
Number of Holes: 16
Item Weight: 4,78 ounces
Item Size: 14.21 x 9.96 x 5.98 inches
Material Type: Stainless Steel

As far as I know, as soon as this harmonica model from Seydel came out, it was an instant hit. My cousin Anne has this harmonica in her collection, and I couldn’t wait to get her opinion of this instrument. She needed to play any music, so she bought a harmonica with 16 holes. She had no complaints about the sound quality. She also liked the build quality. Anna liked that, in contrast to harmonics on other brands, the reeds are not screwed in. They are riveted on. If something happens, she can easily replace the reed if it fails. This harmonica is a bit bigger than other chromatic harps, but Anna said it is comfortable to hold.

Another advantage is the handy reed, which she can easily rearrange while playing. The quality of materials is top-notch: aluminum comb and German silver plates.

Things You’d like
  • It’s comfortable to play
  • The quality of sounds
  • Quality of materials
Maybe You'll be confused
  • Not detected

5. HOHNER 560PBXC Special 20: Best Value Professional Harmonica

Brand: Hohner
Type: Diatonic
Key: С
Number of Holes: 10
Item Weight: 3,36 ounces
Item Size: 8.5 × 5.25 × 1.38 inches
Material Type: Plastic

My acquaintance Alex is a professional musician but on the guitar, not the harmonica. Nevertheless, he decided to learn a new musical instrument a few months ago. Since Alex is not a newbie to the world of music, he has been known to the Hohner brand for a long time. First, he was impressed with the build quality. Alex was looking for an instrument that would serve him well for a long time because he had ambitious musical plans. The sound was also top-notch. The notes sounded bright and clear, and the harmonica responded well. Alex also likes that the instrument is versatile, so he can safely experiment with his favorite musical styles.

Like the previous Hohner models in this review, the harp has stainless steel covers with spectacular engraving. The rugged ABS plastic comb is easy to care for and unaffected by moisture. In addition, ABS plastic is non-toxic and non-harmful. The brass tongues are corrosion-resistant. Also, they are firmly fixed, so the harmonica will hold its tuning for a long time.

The company Hohner has been producing harmonicas for two centuries, so the manufacturer knows perfectly the needs of musicians. Consumers always appreciate their signature design. The build and sound quality consistently make Hohner the number-one choice for professionals.

Things You’d like
  • Comb made of ABS plastic
  • Build quality
  • Clear sound
Maybe You'll be confused
  • Price

6. East Top Tremolo: Best Professional Tremolo Harmonica

Brand: East Top
Type: Tremolo
Key: D
Number of Holes: 24
Item Weight: 7 ounces
Item Size: 8.5 × 5.25 × 1.38 inches
Material Type: Phosphor bronze reeds with welded, ABS comb

My best friend Jose recently added this Tremolo to his harmonica collection. It was his first time playing this type of harmonica, and he didn’t regret buying it. That is one case where he gets a fantastic, multifaceted sound without put much effort into it. Jose said he couldn’t stop playing it repeatedly, enjoying the new sound of his favorite songs.

This harmonica is the largest of all types of harps, but it is comfortable to hold in his hands. The brass covers are smooth and pleasant, which is very important for comfortable playing.

The quality of the harmonica parts is just as good as other professional models. This harmonica has an ABS plastic comb and phosphor bronze reeds. They are not afraid of moisture inside, so with proper care, harmonica will enjoy the quality of their sound for a long time. The harp comes with a nice case and a napkin.

Things You’d like
  • Comb made of ABS plastic
  • Build quality
  • Quick response
Maybe You'll be confused
  • Сase quality

7. Fender Blues Deville: Best Professional Harmonica for Money

Brand: Fender
Type: Diatonic
Key: G
Number of Holes: 10
Item Weight: 4 ounces
Item Size: 11.42 x 7.48 x 3.54 inches
Material Type: Bronze, Plastic, Polyvinyl Chloride

My acquaintance bought this harmonica as a gift for his son. He is in music school, and now he is going to learn another musical instrument. He needed something inexpensive but reliable, so he chose the Fender harmonica.

It has a beautiful and clear sound that can be played by professionals and beginners alike. The build quality was also pleasantly surprising, considering the low price of the instrument. From the disadvantages, he highlighted only the fact that the holes are not numbered. However, it’s hard to call it a disadvantage. For professionals, it is not essential. Also, the body made of plastic does not provide the same slip as the one made of brass or stainless steel.

So, for its budget, the harmonica has several advantages. First, it is the tightness and quality of materials. The ABS plastic body and phosphor bronze reeds are not afraid of moisture. The harmonica comes with a case that will protect it from external factors. It is essential, especially if the musician lives in a humid climate. It is impossible not to mention the spectacular combination of black color and gold engraving.

Things You’d like
  • Comb made of ABS plastic
  • Build quality
  • Price
Maybe You'll be confused
  • No hole numbering
  • Plastic covers

8. East Top Lucky 13: Best Sounding Harmonica With 13 Holes

Brand: East Top
Type: Diatonic
Key: C
Number of Holes: 13
Item Weight: 5 ounces
Item Size: 5.71 x 2.17 x 1.57 inches
Material Type: Bronze

My colleague’s husband is a harps fanatic. Of course, he couldn’t pass up a 13-hole diatonic harmonica. It was easy for him to get used to playing this instrument because the distance between holes was the same as a classical diatonic harmonica. The instrument sounds great and has a good response. The pad’s surface is lacquered and provides plenty of slip when playing. This is the top harmonica in his collection.

This harmonica has no significant flaws unless the edges of the pads are sharp. Once it scratched his fingers. He had to sharpen the edges a bit to avoid injuring himself again.

This versatile harmonica allows you to experiment with your favorite musical genres. After all, it has all the same features as the chromatic; only it does not have a switch. It has unique markers for those who like to change the instrument’s position. They help navigate the holes no matter how you flip the harmonica.

Things You’d like
  • Pad’s surface is lacquered
  • Pleasant sound
  • 13-holes
Maybe You'll be confused
  • No hole numbering
  • Plastic covers

Best Professional Harmonica Buyer’s Guide

To buy a good harmonica for professionals, you must know basic information about the instrument. That will give you an idea of how the harmonica works. And how the materials from which the parts are made affect the harp sound.

Components of a harmonica

The basis of the harmonica is a comb. In appearance, it resembles a hair comb. It has air chambers through which air enters the harmonica. Traditionally, the comb was made of wood. But it impacted the harmonica’s durability because the wood would swell up from moisture. Modern instruments have an ABS plastic comb that is resistant to moisture and non-toxic.

The reed plate and the reeds are connected and responsible for the harmonica sound. It is believed that the material of these parts impacts the sound tone. For example, brass sounds soft, and bronze gives a richer sound. There are also stainless steel reeds. They are more durable than bronze and brass but are usually found in more expensive harmonica models.

The mouthpiece is the front part of the harmonica. It is mainly found only in chromatic harmonica models. Overlays are the outer covers of the harmonica. They can be made of plastic, brass, or stainless steel. An instrument with a plastic body is typically cheap, but the eraser can emit an odor and not give the desired slip while playing.

harmonica side view

How to choose harmonica

When choosing a harmonica, the price may be essential to you. But there are other parameters that you should pay attention to first.

Key tuning

C is the most common tonality for all harmonics and many songs. A, D, G, Bb, and F are popular tonalities for diatonic harmonics. It is better to understand beforehand what songs you plan to play so you can decide on the right key. Chromatic harmonics can be purchased in a single C tonality, so one harmonica can play all tones.

Number of holes

The number of holes depends on the type of harmonica. The diatonic harmonica has 10 holes. Chromatic harmonica has 10 to 16 holes: the more holes, the more octaves. The tremolo harmonica has 24 holes: 2 rows of 12 holes.

Materials

The materials of the harmonica have a direct influence on its durability. It is better to buy an instrument with an ABS plastic comb. But if you want to buy a harmonica with a wooden comb, it must have a moisture-resistant coating.

Which is best for professionals?

Professionals play all types of harmonica, depending on the musical genre. However, diatonic is most often chosen by beginners, as it is the simplest harmonica. The chromatic is the best harmonica for professional musicians, as it has a wide range of notes and can reproduce all tones and semitones.

Harmonica brands for professionals

Perhaps one of the most popular brands for professionals is the Hohner. That is not a budget harmonica, but it provides an expensive clean sound and has excellent build quality. In addition to Hohner, professionals can choose harps from Suzuki, Lee Oscar, Seydel, and so on.

FAQ on Best Professional Harmonica

I want to share with you questions I often get from other musicians. Perhaps, it will be relevant to you as well.

What harmonica do most professionals use?

Professionals can play any harmonica, but often a chromatic one. It has a full range of tones and gives you more opportunities to play. To play a chromatic harmonica, having one instrument in a single key is sufficient.

How do I know which harmonica to use?

I always say the following. You can use whatever harmonica you like and fits the tone of the songs you plan to play. If it’s diatonic, you may want the instrument in one of the popular keys: C, G, F, and so on. For chromatic, the C key is sufficient.

Do you need expensive harmonica?

Of course, you should not save money on your harmonica. Cheap models are made of low-quality materials and have poor build quality. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive instrument. There are many offers on the market in the range of $50.

Play Like a Pro

I hope this list of professional musical instruments has dispelled some of your doubts and helped you decide on your choice. At least now you can see that a professional instrument is not a synonym for expensive. Each of the presented models has its own chips; perhaps, you will want to have them all in your collection over time. But for now, I advise you to pay attention to the bestseller from the brand Hohner. Its sound quality will not disappoint you.

And what harmonica would you like to buy? Or are you already using it?

About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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