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How to Buy a Harmonica

Learn how to buy a harmonica from music teacher Marcus Milius in this Howcast video.


Hi, my name is Marcus Milius. I play harmonica. I got a degree at the University of Southern California, a Bachelor's of Music, in Jazz Studies - Chromatic Harmonica. I play and teach harmonica here in New York City, and I'm happy to show you what I do. First thing you need for buying a harmonica is some money. When you're looking to buy a harmonica, the first thing you probably wanna figure out is if you're looking to buy a diatonic harmonica or a chromatic harmonica, and a brief explanation between the difference of those would help get your on the right track would be that the diatonic harmonica is set up in one key and it typically plays for blues, folk and rock music and it's a little easier to play at first. Chromatic harmonica used more for jazz, classical music and music that you might do sight reading. Where you would get your harmonica would be just any music store would carry most harmonicas. You want to call ahead because they might be out of stock, so make sure before you head all the way down there, that they do have what you're looking for. You can go to a number of websites like or go directly to some of the distributors, the makers of the harmonicas, like Seydel, and you can order directly from them. The cost of the harmonicas, you're probably looking for a good diatonic harmonica to be around $30. If you're paying less than that, you might find yourself very quickly running into problems with the harmonica, it not being able to perform as well as you would like to when you start trying some more advanced techniques. If you're paying more than that, you can pay even up to $100 to $200 per diatonic harmonica. That's probably more than you need at a beginner level. A chromatic harmonica will cost you anywhere from $200 to $500 for a really quality one. Keep in mind though, that your first harmonica purchase will be your first. You're just trying this out and for instance, with diatonic harmonicas, they are in twelve different keys, so you will eventually need to buy the other eleven. So, save up.

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