The Hohner Pentaharp

A Harmonica with “No Wrong Notes”?

Hohner Pentaharp

“Guitar players love it, harmonica players hate it”. Ha! Yeah, I was curious, too. Especially as a long-time guitarist…

Say hello to the Hohner Pentaharp.

The big idea from Hohner? Create a harmonica with only the notes from one scale on it. Blow or draw any note on the harp and like magic, you’re noodling the Blues scale, sounding like a boss, with no way of playing a bum note .

To do the same on a regular harmonica, you’d have to learn how to bend to be able to play all the notes in the scale.

This makes it an ideal harp for people - like guitarists - who just wanna be able to riff some harp without ever really needing to learn it. It’s like training wheels for harmonica. But, yunno no-one’s ever gonna take you seriously with training wheels on, if you want to be taken seriously as a harp player.

For example…
With the Hohner Pentaharp, you can’t get the kind of classic blues harmonica sounds that I teach in my Blues Harmonica for Beginners video.

Wanna play a -45 trill? Sorry. You can’t . :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Wanna play -4 -4’ -3’ -3? Nope, can’t do that either. :roll_eyes:

But for a guitarist who wants to be able to play the occasional blues riffs or blues-rock riffs, this could be just the trick! :thinking:

I’ve owned mine for quite awhile, and it has yet to make its way into any of my jam sessions, recording sessions, or gigs.

I think an avid blues/rock guitar player who is frustrated with the limitations of the harmonica for busting out guitar licks is much better off exploring the Wilde Tuned harmonica from Seydel. That’s my 2 cents.

In the meantime, to see and hear her in action, check out my Hohner Pentaharp 2 Minute Review.


Glad you remind me @Luke!
I forgot because it wasn’t available in Germany yet. But which one should I buy first? Same question again…
So far I have all the normal ones and again C or G or A? What would you or @Slim say. @Slim, you were interested too, do you already have one?
Thank you for your support!
Have a nice day! Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Hi Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63

I couldn’t wait so back before the PentaHarp was available in Germany I ordered the same thing from the Seydel Custom Shop: mine is built identical to the 1847 CLASSIC (maple comb, stainless steel reeds) and is in the key of Gm (which I decided on because that gives me Bb in the sweet 10th position on the PentaHarp – and that is the position that I think is the best on a PentaHarp because the “important” notes are all bendable, and my jazz buddies like playing in Bb).

I guess you forgot about this post about the PentaHarp that I wrote to you back in Nov. 2021 :point_left: Anyone interested in the PentaHarp tuning should refer to that post and then sit down with a sheet of paper and write out what scales/notes they can play with a particular PentaHarp key (which I presented in that post for the Gm PentaHarp).

Then I thought I would compare that to the Hohner PentaHarp and bought one in Am (which I would suggest you buy because A minor is something that guitarists find easy to play and many songs are in Am too – then that sweet 10th position lets you play songs that use the C scales too).

My personal preference is … impossible to say! I find both the Seydel and the Hohner harps to be great for playing things that you simply can’t do on a standard Richter tuned blues harp.

– Slim :sunglasses:


I could not contain my curiosity or patience so I got a C Pentaharp recently. Its a strange instrument to be sure and apart from playing the Smoke on the Water riff (!) I have not used it much yet. More focused on learning and playing “proper” harmonica for now! Germany based company Thomann have them by the way. On balance I think I might have gone for A Pentaharp rather than C… Gear4Music have them too. I got mine from a local (Norway) company so they are widely available now I would guess.


Very interesting @Slim, I hadn’t even planned for Am. Am are my initials, maybe a hint :point_right:, who knows :smiley:?
Of course I had saved the post and know my weaknesses when bending on my harps. Our trusted shop says it’s based on the Special 20 and I like my C. After getting used to it, more than the Hohner C Blues Harp.


I found the Hohner PentaHarp in Am to be just right in terms of tonal range: not too low and not too high. And if you like your Special 20 then you will almost certainly also like the Hohner PentaHarp – and it is very easy to bend notes on it.

Go for it, Astrid!!

– Slim

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I just wanna make sure everyone saw this part of my post! :rofl:

And yes I can also confirm that when I spoke with my former rep at Hohner he said that the Pentaharp is made from identical components as the the Special 20.

BTW - @Slim have you ever heard of a tuning called PentaBender?

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Yes, Luke @Luke, I have – and I really am not sure, but I think that the PentaHarp tuning might be the better choice. The PentaBender tuning is probably fine if you really place major emphasis on playing pentatonic scale music since it gives you two pentatonic scales right out of the box with no bending required: one simply by blowing from the low to high end of the harp; another by simply drawing from the low to the high end. You also get lots of nice chords.

However, the PentaHarp tuning is more versatile, in my opinion. One just needs to spend some time studying the possibilities – and for me and what I desire to play the PentaHarp wins that comparison. You can see the layout of a PentaBender on the Seydel > Custom Shop > Config harmonicas pages (NOTE: at Seydel they refer to the PentaBender tuning as Four Key tuning).

It really all boils down to what exactly you wish to play (in terms of scales) as to which of these would be the best for you.

– Slim :sunglasses: