Instructables
Picture of How To Play The Harmonica
After searching around on instructables, I didn't find any complete harmonica tutorials. There are quite a few good ones around the internet, but I thought there should be an instructable.

So. The harmonIca is one of the easiest instruments to play, it sounds really cool, and can be used for a variety of musical styles. All right, maybe not too many musical styles, but it's fun to play anyway. So. Here we go.
 
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Step 1: Types of Harmonicas

Diatonic: This is the most common, simplest type of harmonica. You'll probably want to start here. A diatonic harmonica has 10 holes. It is built to play a major, diatonic scale. Additional notes can be played by "bending" (explained later) and different scales can be obtained by playing in different positions (explained later).

Chromatic: These are fancy harmonicas. They have a little button on the side. When you press this button, whatever note you are playing moves up a half step. This allows you to play every note in the musical scale, a chromatic scale. Although they offer more versatility, they are often harder to play, especially if you are trying to bend. Not recommended for blues.

Tremolo and Octave Harmonicas: These harmonicas have a double row of holes. On a tremolo, the notes are tuned slightly apart, but almost the same, creating a cool "tremolo" vibrating effect. On an octave harmonica, the notes are tuned an octave (8 notes) apart, creating a fuller sound. Compare to a 12-string guitar. Both are sort of rarely used.

Special tunings: Some harmonicas come with different scales like minor scales and scales made for playing in more than one key.

Bottom Line: Start with a diatonic harmonica, preferably in the key of C (as this is the easiest key to understand).

Here are some pictures of each type.


CorrinaH1 month ago

Koolio. I always thought that harmonicas were cool. Haha

ali-goodboy4 months ago

hi all! i bought a chromatic ten hole swan harmonica and i dont know any thing about it!my question is that i can learn with ten hole harmonica or no?do you have any book or vidio for ten hole harmonica?my harmonica that i bought it is good or not?thank you for your attention.i am waiting for your answers.

Adatube8911 months ago
Is there any website where they teach harmonica and drums??
Please check out this blog with harp reviews, tabs for famous songs and list/reviews of must listen albums
bluesharpshack.blogspot.ae/
metalhaid2 years ago
This is great! I just wanted to comment that I think the reason the harmonica goes to a C on 7 is because there is no sharp between B & C (at least there isn't on a piano...) thanks for the lessons!
freeza362 years ago
I just bought a Hohner Diactonic harmonica, and i am already hooked on it. It is so easy and fun to play. Within a day, i could already play a couple tunes.
nof-z2 years ago
when to mijer and saw they had harmonicas for two bucks, an i thought "well, i haven't had one of these in a while" so i got one, and found your instructable, and now i am hooked. you were vary clear and easy. thanks for teaching me!!!
11richie214 years ago
Hi, I have been planning on buying a harmonica just to begin thanks to your instructable. it has helped me learn how they actually work! I thought people would just play random sounds and master how to play haha seems I was wrong.
jessejwk (author)  11richie214 years ago
Thank you for the feedback, it means a lot. Good luck!
rimar20004 years ago
Good instructable! I have a little 10 holes harmonica, but I could never learn to play by music, only played a few pieces by ear. Maybe your instructable makes me encourage...
jessejwk (author)  rimar20004 years ago
Thank you! Glad to hear that it's encouraging someone.