Newbie with Questions! Help please.

Hi all

As you can probably tell from my nic, I’m a Kiwi from New Zealand. I am female and OLD! LOL. However, I have recently become obssessed with the idea of playing the harmonica and have been browsing online about all things to do with harmonicas, not least of which what should I buy to begin with? I don’t really want to waste my money and find that I have to buy something else soon after I’ve bought the first one, so what do you ‘pros’ suggest I buy? I have a musical background and would love to play the blues, but advice on many sites suggest that a newbie should start with a chromatic harmonica in C. With that in mind, I thought a Hohner Golden Melody would be a good place to start, but there are so many different makes and models, I don’t want to blow it! Pun fully intended! Also can you play the blues on a chromatic harmonica? Something tells me, no. But can you play other stuff as well as blues on a diatonic?

Please can you advise me?

Many thanks


Oops! It seems that the harp I’m thinking of buying is the Hohner Golden melody which is a diatonic model.


You should definitely start with a diatonic. The Hohner Special 20 is perfect for a beginner . its a good harmonica that even the pros use. Everyone says to start with the key of C. But any key will do. I started with D then bought a C. I personally love the sound of D.

Thanks so much for your input!


definitely the “hohner special 20” in the key of C…

i own a hohner blues river harp too, and i find it cool too, but the special 20 is my favourite

I’m curious, How did you like your Golden Melody. I have tried several models, both Hohner and Suzuki and so far I like Special 20s best. But Have not yet tried the Golden Melody.

From my understanding the Golden Melody is a differently tuned harp more suited to playing Country and Gospel tunes. The 2 draw and 3 blow are not the same note. If you are interested in playing the Blues you will want to stick with a Diatonic harp with Richter Tuning. The Special 20 is an excellent harp to buy. It will do everything you ask of it even if you go Pro.
Considerations to think of when buying a harp are: 1- Plastic combs are easier to clean and care for. 2- Wood combs some say sound better, I personally can’t tell the difference. Wood has a tendency to swell if it is not sealed well and is very rough on the lips of a beginner. 3- Exposed reed plates are sharp on the tinder lips of a beginner. 4- Construction, is the harp nailed or screwed together. Eventually you will want/need to take the harp apart for cleaning or tweaking. If it is nailed together you can take it apart very few times before the nail holes won’t hold the nails tight and you will have a leaky harp that won’t sound very good and will take a lot of air to play.
The Hohner Special 20 or Suzuki Bluesmaster has a plastic comb, recessed plates, and screwed together. Trouble free harps for the beginner or pro. There are many other harps out there just as good or better but not in this price range. I prefer the Special 20 myself.