Harmonica Brand Doesn't Matter (But This Does)

H armonica Brand Doesn’t Matter (But This Does)

Does brand matter?

I’ve been doing a lot of videos lately about Hohner harmonica lately, and I recently received a comment,

“I know you’re really committed to Hohner harmonicas, but…”

I’m, like, “Wait a sec!! I’m not committed to Hohners. I’m a Lee Oskar man! I use Lee Oskars for all of my professional work recording and performing!” :astonished:

But this brings up a more important subject: how important is the brand of harmonica in helping us to sound great on the harmonica?

To answer that question, there’s a threshold where it matters a great deal. An $8 harmonica is not gonna perform like a $40-$50 harmonica. But in the $40-$50 price range my answer to that question is: NOT THAT IMPORTANT!

There are people who spend countless hours on forums talking about how great brand x is and why brand y is not good. All of that time would be better spent playing harmonica !

C’mon, can you really hear a huge difference in this shootout ? Sure there’s some difference, and we all have our personal likes and dislikes, but at the end of the day it’s not the most crucial thing in the world. I’m not gonna get in a fight with someone about it. :joy:

I’m reminded of the old adage: A poor carpenter blames his tools .

So have fun exploring all the great brands out there, but remember, the most important thing is not obsessing about brands , but rather obsessing about music . :wink:

And by the way, if you’ve never heard a Lee Oskar in action, check out my full Lee Oskar Harmonica Review.


Gotta’ agree, Luke. I use different brands but in that same price range. I like and use mostly LO’s, partly because of easy access replacement reed plates, but during a gig I’ll play a Golden Melody, a Marine Band, a Seydel Session, etc, dependent of what I have in the key I need. And I still have some Bushmans & S20s that still work.


Totally agree. I personally love the Horner Rocket BUT NOT because it’s loud but because it requires less breath to play which translates into easier bending, etc. The damn thing nearly plays itself which is a good thing because I sure as hell can’t play.

Rock on with a Rocket
London, Canada :maple_leaf:


I have quite a few Hohners now, second hand, bar the Special 20 I bought new, because it seems to be the harmonica that’s recommended the most as the best choice for someone wanting to learn how to play.

A somewhat random choice was an East top T002, it was among the first few cheap harmonicas I ordered when I first decided to learn. It was around $27 aud, but reduced to about $16, if it came from China, rather than within Australia.

The others were $18.50, and are not even worth bothering with, I wasted my money buying three of them, but the East top is great! I actually prefer it to the Hohners. I bought 3 more in different keys, and they’re all just as responsive as each other, definitely my favourites!

I’m a beginner though, so I don’t have the skill to give an expert opinion, but they are really easy to play.


I initially went for Hohner because I know of the brand from way back. But in order to get quick and inexpensive access to multiple keys I also went for a pack of 7 Fender Blues Deluxe harmonicas. At some stage when I get much much better I will most likely add a Lee Oskar (or 2) to my collection. What I am pleased about is that the harmonicas I chose all got good scores on your gear guide! Strangely enough harmonicas are one of the few things that seem reasonably priced and affordable here in Norway.


Well said!

When I first wanted to play the harmonica. I got handed a Suzuki Folkmaster in C. I don’t remember how much it cost but I’d guess about $20. I knew nothing about good quality harmonicas at that time lol

When I researched and found out what harmonicas were both good for beginners and good quality I like many others might have done debated with myself whether I should pick a Lee Oskar, or Special 20. I ultimately picked LO, simply because I love the labeling on those (like 2nd. position being labeled on the right side of the harmonica)

(also a non-musical side reason is that Lee Oskar is from Denmark too)


It doesn’t matter whether the harp is made in Germany, Japan, China, Brazil, South Korea, or France, what connects us together is the music we produce out of them. I mainly play Hohners (specifically Special 20s and Golden Melodies), but my harmonica collection is just a hodge podge of harps made in different parts of the world. My non-Hohner harps are all made in East Asia (Kongsheng and Golden Bird are Chinese, DaBell is from South Korea, Lee Oskars are in collaboration with Lee Oskar, a Danish musician, and Tombo, a Japanese company). The harmonica really is fascinating to me as there are so many toys to play with in so little time.


Different doesn’t mean better or worse, just means different :+1:


Having said that though, I do believe quality does matter.

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