I played as a teenager, and would like to pick it up again. I’m not a musician and know very little about it other than do re mi fa so la ti do. My question is if I bought one harmonic for kicks, which one and what key? I used to play a Marine Band in whatever. I’d like to play like some of my favorites some day. Like Paul Butterfield or Charlie Musslewhite or maybe Corky Siegel. Just kidding, I’m 63, retired and bored
Hey good luck on retirement and your musical adventures. Since I’ve been retired I’ve had a blast playing lots of music. Second childhood. If you’re only getting one diatonic harmonica then I recommend the key of C. I really like the Hohner Specials as they play easy and sound good. I have a set of almost all major keys because I play with others and need to vary the key. If you get a chromatic harmonica then you can play in all the keys but it’s much harder to learn to play and these are more expensive than a single diatonic. Also, the style of music you like to play should influence your choice. Most blues players use diatonic harmonicas. Stevie Wonder uses a chromatic. Charlie Musselwhite uses a diatonic. There are lots of good videos on You Tube for beginners to get you started. As you just pick it up and play, listening to the sound you make you’ll soon blow the boredom away!
C. Because it’s in the middle and the default key for beginner lessons and videos. Playing harmonica has been a Godsend for me. I’m 70 and started six years ago along with some other instruments. By playing mostly by ear, I’ve been able to play harmonica more days than not for 20 to 60 minutes each day, sometimes twice a day. I’d guess I’m an intermediate.
I enjoy bluegrass, country, folk rock and, of course, blues. You’re investing in your health — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It will bring joy to others and you.
So, get a good harp. I think a budget of $40 to $75 is warranted. Any Hohner model in that price range will return years of dividends.
Great idea to take up harmonica, your choice of role models is exemplary
The key of C is what most teachers recommend, but it’s fairly high pitched and can seem a little squeaky. The sound of a G harp is warmer and pleasanter, though you will have to work a little harder at creating the larger throat shapes that are needed to get these lower pitched notes to resonate properly. Personally I believe the effort is worthwhile.
The Hohner Special 20 is an excellent choice of model, the plastic mouthpiece is more comfortable on the lips and it’s a true workhorse instrument.
Whatever you decide upon, welcome to the harmonica community! I hope you have a wonderful time playing
I have a Special 20 C. To be honest I think it’s a bit too high pitched for me. Now, I’m 67 and maybe, in part, it’s simply my ears. Anyway I am having fun with it. And one day I will pick up a Special 20 in G. In the meantime, my pocket always has a little harp in it.