Harmonica buying advice

My current harmonica set must be aluminum because they wont attach to my new magnetic harmonica holder. What do you ask google for, metal or steel? Can anyone suggest a good set of harmonicas made of metal or steel. Im still a hack but im making progress. Its time to invest in a good set of harmonicas.


Hello @Paulkane777,
you probably have a rather cheap harp now?

You have to decide for yourself which model or which manufacturer you want to use!

I just took a quick look for you and tested what is magnetic and what is not. I don’t want to tell you fairy tales… :grin:

My Fender - Blues Set is not magnetic. You can tell by the weight compared to the other models!

Otherwise I use different Hohner and Seydel models. Otherwise just googled Lee Oskar Harps. All use stainless steel cover plates, so magnetic!

Since you need new harps for your magnetic neck holder on site or online anyway, you will either be advised or the material of the cover plates is usually in the description of the model.
If you order online from a specialist store, you can also get advice over the phone. Very helpful especially for beginners.
You can get a rough sorting by googling.

Regards Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


What type of Harmonica Do you want inset or sandwich style?
To keep things on an affordable level. Look at:

Inset style: Hohner Special 20, Lee Oskar, Sydel Session Steel, Suzuki Blues Master.

Sandwich style: Hohner Marine Band Deluxe, Hohner Marine Band, Suzuki Pro Master, Suzuki Harp Master,

Do you want to play a lot of chords or melodies?


@Paulkane777, I gave my crew s road test :point_down:

These DO attract magnets:

Special 20
Golden Melody
Lee Oskar

This one DOES NOT:

Easttop 008k

This surprised me since the 008k os the heaviest but it must have aluminum plates. :wink:


@Dai Great response here!

Note of detail: you may already be aware of this but the Marine Band 1896 isn’t actually “unsealed.” It does have a coat of lacquer. It’s just that the Deluxe and Crossover are TRIPLE lacquered. I know I’m nitpicking here. Sorry, you know I can’t help myself. :wink:


Didn’t know that. Never read it in any sales description any where. I know the blues harp harp is unsealed I had one and it swoll.


Yes, Luke @Luke is correct about the 1896. And I too had a Blues Harp model years ago whose comb swelled so much that I swapped it out for a plastic one.

– Slim


Hey, I’m looking to pick up my first harp for some new stuff and I’m trying to figure out if I’m in the key I think I am. The main line is B, g#, f#, E.

I hear the payoff in my head, and it’s just one note, played dramatically, over the B… so I guess that note will either be a B, F# or E.
I’d assume that both a B and E harp have those notes,

My brain was in the key of E when I wrote it…does that mean I’d feel most comfortable with the E harp?



Hello @abl,
look here:

If the song is in E, you play an A major harp.
Welcome at our place!

Regards Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


So is the harp key usually the IV of the song key?


@abl, also! Note hole 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th! This corresponds to the beginning positions of a harp.
The words “beginning position” will come up regularly in a song with the harp. :slightly_smiling_face:

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@abl , I’m on my phone at the moment but when I’m on the computer later I’ll post a link to the bend it better page where you can see all the notes on any key harp using the drop down box, top left hand corner.

Bend it better page

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Thanks Dai, that page def helped me understand why I want a harp in A.

Is there a model that is considered the pro standard? I need something proper for the studio.

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Depending on price your willing to pay. I’d look at
Hohner Marine Band, Marine Band Deluxe, Crossover, and Special 20.
Seydel 1847 or Session Steele.
Lee Oskar Richter tune (orange label).

The safe bet is a Hohner Special 20

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Welcome to the forum @abl - sorry for being late to the party. Did you already pick up a harp? If so, what did you get? If not, here is my article on brands:

What is the song you are wanting to play? It would be helpful to be able to know more about the vibe of the song in order to recommend the best key harmonica.


Luke i got the suzuki harps and i like them very much. Thank you


Hi @Paulkane777

Which Suzuki harp models did you buy? Manji? Pro Master? Blues Master? Olive?

– Slim :dark_sunglasses:


I got the Marine Band in A.

When I was checking out the different Hohner models, wood (MB) seemed like a no brainier over plastic (S20).


special 20’s and lee oskars - I have a magnetic attachment also. its a bit limiting but fast to change the key.



I have two Crossover 20 C and B flat as well as a Osker Tombo in G. The L O seems to require more air and easier single notes but the Crossover a sharper sound and easier to play from a breathing standpoint. The single note issue is closing with practice.

I like the slower music. What key do you feel is best for songs like Sound of Silence, Over the Rainbow,etc. I like the latter as it requires good single notes and you have to move around more to play it well. Same goes for the John Berry music in the theme song for Dances with Wolves harp music, played by Thomas Thompson, I think.