Harmonicas are often described as the most popular instruments on the planet, mainly because of their portability and low cost compared to, say, a grand piano or tuba. But don’t mistake their ubiquity or simplicity for a lack of sophistication. Harmonicas pack a lot of engineering into a small space, producing different notes depending on whether the player is blowing out or breathing in. Players can further enhance these sounds by shaking their heads to create appealing vibratos, or bending notes to give the instrument a mournful moan that often recalls the wail of a distant train whistle.

Like accordions, harmonicas are thought to have been invented by a German named Christian Friedrich Buschmann, although as with the squeezebox, it was an Austrian who first patented the instrument (in this case, Georg Anton Reinlein in 1824). But the Austrian makers were soon overshadowed by the Germans, in particular, a company called Hohner, which handmade 650 harmonicas in its inaugural year, 1857. Thirty years later, Hohner hit the million-unit mark, and by 1920 its annual production exceeded 20 million harmonicas, which were exported all over the world, in chromatic and tremelo models, as well as standard diatonic harps.

During the 20th century, harmonicas were musical chameleons, favored by singing cowboys, jazz artists like Toots Thielemans, and Chicago bluesmen such as Muddy Waters’s sideman Little Walter, who used a wide-mouthed taxi-dispatcher’s microphone to give his harp its distinctive, and loud, sound. In the 1960s, everyone from Bob Dylan to Stevie Wonder to Brian Jones played the harmonica as an accompanying instrument, while artists like Neil Young, Magic Dick of J. Geils Band, and, later, John Popper of Blues Traveler put the harmonica front and center.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

National Music Museum

National Music Museum

The National Music Museum, which is located at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, features 15,000 instru… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Hohner Six Sided Tremolo Harmonica Orig. Box Keys A,b,c,d,f, G. VgcVintage Astatic T3 T-3 Microphone Crystal Harp Harmonica With Stand And CaseLot Vintage Complete Set Harmonica Harmonicas Kay Chicago Blues All 7 Keys & BoxHohner 64 Chromonica 280 Chromatic C Harmonica (refurbished/tuned #155d)Astatic Green Bullet Style Mic For HarmonicaM. Hohner 64 Chromonica 280 Professional Model Four Chromatic Octave HarmonicaHohner Vintage Art Deco German Enamel Mouth Organ Echo Elite Harmonica Box C GShure Tdc Microphone Mic Model Cr80f Harp Harmonica Tested & WorkingHohner Special 20 Marine Band Harmonica Bundle - A,b,c,d,e,f,g And Flex RackVintage Hohner Special 20 Marine Band Harmonica & Case Germany No. 560 Key C Nr Hering 5148 Chromatic Harmonica In C Excellent ConditionHohner Blues Harp, Key Of D New In BoxHohner Comet Chrome Finish Harmonica Key Of C With CaseNice Vintage Germany Hohner Harmonica & Case Big River Harp Key E Look Wow Nr New Set Of 4 Johnson Blues King 10 Hole Diatonic Harmonicas Harps A C D G Keys1928 - Rolmonica Harmonica Harmonica Lot Hohner Special 20's. Qty-3 With Cases. Keys: A-b-cHohner Big River Harp Harmonica In Key Of A Mouth Organ Moothie Toots StevieHohner Harmonica Set Of 13 W/ Case - Big River HarpHohner Cbh 2016 Case - Chromatic Harmonica W/ BrochuresHohner Miniature Harmonica 25th Anniversary J.m & Hohner Johnny Puleo Rare NrSuzuki Promaster Valved Harmonica High GSuzuki Promaster Valved Harmonica Key Of FSuzuki Promaster Valved Harmonica Mr-350v-hig Harmonica NewNice Vintage Germany Hohner Harmonica & Case Blues Harp Ms Key C 532/20 Look Nr Hohner Blues Harp Harmonica Key Of C- New In Box!2 Lee Oskar Harmonica - Used "c" And "g"Suzuki Promaster Valved Harmonica Key Of FHohner Blues Harp, Key Of G New In BoxHohner Harmonica Collectors Series; Meisterklasse Key Of E2 Hohner Blues Harp Harmonica - Used "c" And "a"Hohner 560 Special 20 Harmonica In Key Of A Country With CaseHohner 542bx-c Golden Melody Harmonica $77Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica Replacement Reed Plates D & EVintage Suzuki Bluesmaster 10 Hole Harmonica Set Of 6 A,bb,c,d,f,g Used GoodLot Of 36 Toy Harmonicas 10-hole TenHohner Harp Harmonica Handle Holder Bob Dylan Mouth Organ Moothie Toots Stevie30's Vintage Antique Harp Mouth Organ Harmonica Koch Fidelio Rare! Hohner 562 Pro Harp Ms-series Harmonica D 562/20 M564036 Germany W/caseVintage B. Ulinevitch Proffessional- Harmonica W/box Antique Christian Weiss Double Side Harmonica In F & B W/ CaseVintage M Hohner "marine Band Harmonica" Stuttgart 1881 A440 - NiceNew Hohner Marine Band 560bx-b Special 20 The Key Of B HarmonicaHohner Special 20 Marine Band Harmonica G KeyHohner Harmonica Collectors Series; Meisterklasse Key Of F#/gbHohner 125th Anniversary Harmonica Key Of 'c' 10 Hole Diatonic Bargain Price !!!Koch Chromatic Harmonica In Original Box Made In GermanyHohner Harmonica Collectors Series; Meisterklasse Key Of Eb/d#Hohner 560 Special 20 Harmonica; Country Key Of D; With CaseSoul Man 7 Piece Harmonica SetVintage Sterling Silver - 3d Harmonica Instrument 1.4g - Charm Pendant Bm821Suzuki Tremolo Harmonica - W-24 Winner, Key Of C, 24-hole,new Winner W24 TremoloHohner Hoodoo Blues Harmonica - Key G - Harp - Mouth OrganHohner Chord Harmonica Model 8703 Rhythm & Blues VintageHohner Harmonica Collectors Series: Pro Harp Key Of EbOpera Harmonica, Made In West Germany. 32 Double Keys And 20 Single KeysHohner Harmonica Collectors Series; Meisterklasse Key Of BVintage-hohner-64 Chromonica-harmonica-german Made-plays Well-in Working OrderHohner Meisterklasse HarmonicaHarmonica Thorens Professional Chromatic #12 Sharps & Flats