Already an expert?

Share your knowledge!

couple playing musical instruments

Playing the Harmonica

as a hobby

The harmonica is the most voice-like instrument, you can make it wail, feel happy, or cry. It’s like singing the blues without words.

Charlie Musselwhite

Playing the harmonica is a rewarding and enjoyable hobby that anyone can learn. The harmonica is a small and portable instrument that you can play anywhere and anytime. It is also a versatile and expressive instrument that you can play in various styles and genres of music. Playing the harmonica can also improve your health, mental well-being, and social skills. To get started, all you need is a harmonica, some online resources, and a passion for music.

Helpful content to start playing the harmonica as a hobby

We aim to provide accurate information, but errors might be found. Always exercise judgment and discretion.

Videos

Short visual inspiration.

content placeholder image
YouTube | Beginner Harmonica Lesson 1 – Breathing and Tone
content placeholder image
YouTube | #3 EASY Harmonica Grooves! (Perfect For Beginners)
content placeholder image
YouTube | Amanda Ventura – The Way (Harmonica Blues Solo)
content placeholder image
YouTube | How To Play – Improvisation in C minor – Indiara Sfair

Podcasts

Play an episode while exploring the page.

content placeholder image
Spotify | 28. Pro Players Top Harmonica Tips for Beginners
content placeholder image
Spotify | Filip Jers: Scandinavian Music, Growing up in Sweden, His Advice to Beginners.
content placeholder image
Spotify | Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

The harmonica is a great instrument. It’s easy to carry and it cuts through guitar noise.

Bob Dylan

Terms

Basic lingo for orientation.

  • Blow: To exhale air through the harmonica and produce a note.
  • Draw: To inhale air through the harmonica and produce a note.
  • Hole: One of the small openings on the harmonica that corresponds to a reed and a note.
  • Reed: A thin metal strip inside the harmonica that vibrates when air passes through it and produces a sound.
  • Bend: To lower the pitch of a note by changing the shape of your mouth and tongue while drawing or blowing.
  • Overblow: To raise the pitch of a note by blowing hard and fast on a hole that is already bent.
  • Overdraw: To raise the pitch of a note by drawing hard and fast on a hole that is already bent.
  • Chord: To play more than one note at the same time by covering more than one hole with your mouth.
  • Riff: A short musical phrase or pattern that can be repeated or varied.
  • Lick: A short musical phrase or pattern that can be used as a building block for a solo or a song.
  • Solo: A musical passage or section where one instrument plays alone or takes the lead.
  • Jam: To play music with other musicians in an informal or improvised way.
  • Position: The relationship between the key of the harmonica and the key of the song. The most common positions are first position (straight harp), second position (cross harp), and third position (slant harp).
  • Tab: A notation system that uses numbers and symbols to indicate which holes to play and how to play them on the harmonica. For example, 4 means blow on hole 4, -4 means draw on hole 4, -4’ means bend down half a step on hole 4, etc.

How to start playing the harmonica as a hobby

First moves for getting acquainted and breaking the ice.

Buying a harmonica is a simple and affordable step that can motivate you to start learning and practicing the harmonica. The Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica is one of the best beginner’s harmonicas and it costs around $10-$15. Once you get your first harmonica, start by watching a YouTube tutorial.

Books

Get read(y).

How-tos

Step-by-step tutorials.

Articles

Further reading.

Websites

Go-tos for information.

Movies

Nothing like a film for inspiration.

FAQS

Get a clue.

What type of harmonica should I get as a beginner?

The most recommended type of harmonica for beginners is a diatonic harmonica in the key of C, as it can play along with many songs and tutorials. The Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica, Key of C is one of the best beginner’s harmonicas and it costs around $10-$15.

How can I learn to play the harmonica as a beginner?

You can learn to play the harmonica as a beginner by using online resources, books, videos, or courses that teach you the basics of harmonica playing. You can also learn from other harmonica players or teachers who can give you feedback and guidance on your harmonica playing.

What are some of the challenges or difficulties of playing the harmonica as a beginner?

Some of the challenges or difficulties of playing the harmonica as a beginner are playing single notes and chords accurately, bending notes and using vibrato, playing in different positions and keys, playing along with other instruments or backing tracks, and improvising and jamming with other musicians.

Apps

Smart assistance.

Products

Essentials to have.

Courses

Get smart.

Near You

Get together.

Newsletters

Subscribe for inspiration.

Tips

Additional advice for beginners.