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    

Rare Graf Zeppelin Form German Antique Harmonica 1920s Oddity C.a. Seydel Nr FabHohner Professional 2016 Cbh Harmonica W/hardcase/paperHohner Harmonica Lot Chrometta 10 253c Pocket Pal Special 20 Old Standby MoreHohner Cx-12 Gold Chromatic Harmonica 48 Reed - Key Of CHarmonica Hohner Marine Band 1896 In C, Probably Unplayed Display ModelEstate - Vintage Johann Schunk Jubilee Richter Harmonica 10 Hole Germany + BoxHuang Professional 1248 Three Chromatic Octave Harmonica, Key Of CVitage !! G/c/f !! Made In Germany ! Red Weltmeister Diatonic Button AccordionEstate - Vintage Hohner Germany Harmonica 28 Holes Gold Colored Metal Dented 5"Harmonica M. Hohner's Marine Band In Key Of G. Never Been Played Case Included.Harmonica M. Hohner's Never Been Played! Marine Band In Key Of G. Case Included.Harmonica Hohner Marine Band 365 In C, Probably Unplayed Display ModelHarmonica Hohner Marine Band 364 In C, Probably Unplayed Display ModelHohner 7582 Super 64 Chromonica Chromatic Harmonica - Key Of C Made In Germany2 Hohner Special 20 Harmonica C - A CountryLot Four Old! Coca Cola Soda Pop Harmonica & Big Germany & Marine Harmonica Stan Musial St. Cardinals Harmonica Sga 2013 NibAntique Harmonica, The Pans Pipe WienerHarp Frontman Harmonica Pedal (active Di Box With Effects Loop)Trio Of German M.hohner Harmonicas W Original Cases Echo Auto-valve Harp, VamperVintage M Hohner Chordomonica-1 Harmonica Made In Germany In PouchVintage M. Hohner Klassiker Classics Harmonica Made In Germany3 Vintage Hohner Blues Harp Harmonicas, Key Of D,bf With Case +chord Harp M. Hohner Marine Band Harp C Harmonica W/ Case- Made In Germany1930's Babe Ruth "babe's Musical Bat" HarmonicaHarmonica M. Hohner Special 20 In Key Of C. Case Included.Hohner Super 64 Chromonica, Key Of C $417 - ReadHarmonica M. Hohner Marine Band In Key Of C. Never Been Played! Case Included.Vintage Hohner Harmonica The Echo Harp~ Double Sided Good Working ConditionHarmonica By Tombo Lee OskarVintage Hohner Blues Harp Harmonica, Key Of A Flat With CaseVintage Hohner Echo Elite Art Deco Harmonica Mint - Never Used In Original Box Hohner Chromonica 280 C Chromatic Professional Model HarmonicaHohner John Lennon Signature Series Harmonica (c)Vintage Bajazzo Harmonica Johann Schunk Germany (2) M. Hohner "marine Band" Harmonicas # 1896--key Of E & G-- With Boxes--unusedM Hohner Chromonica Harmonica Germany De Luxe Case Key Of CVintage Hohner Blues Harp Harmonica, Key Of G With CaseHohner Harmonica Big River HarpHarmonica SetBrand New* Hohner *john Lennon* Signature Ltd Edition Harmonica Collectors Item Horner 64 Chromonica 280Antique M. Hohner Marine Band Tremolo Harmonica D No. 152 German Made With BoxHohner Pbh Piedmont Blues Set Harmonica - Key Of A, B, C, D, E, F, GHohner 532 Blues Harp 532/20 Ms Harmonica Key Of AHarmonica Hohner Echo 8362/32 In C, Probably Unplayed Display ModelVintage Hohner Harmonicas Lot Of 3 Marine Band Bluesband Echo Harmonica M. Hohner Marine Band In Key Of A. Case Included. Never Been Played!Two Vintage M. Hohner Marine Band Harmonica No. 1896 W Original BoxHohner Golden Melody Harmonica A7 Hohner International Blue Band Harmonica's With Case A Thru GViolin King F.a. Bohm Germany Harmonica 3 X 5Vintage No,44 Chromatic Technique-tone Harmonica Musical IntrumentsHohner Golden Melody Harmonica Key Of DVintage M. Honer Marine Band And Concert Harmonica LotHohner 64 Chromonica 280-c Professional Harmonica Chromatic Octaves GermanyLittle Willie Brown Cut It Out / Gonna Make It 45rpm Do-ra-me 1959 Harmonica2 Hohner 542 Golden Melody Harmonica G - F#Nice Vintage The Chromonica M Hohner Germany Harmonica G Vintage M. Hohner Comet Harmonica Key Of C Made In Germany In Original Box