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Harmonica Bands[edit]

I don't know a lot about the harmonica, but why is there no mention of the different "bands" of harmonicas - i.e. Marine band, blues band etc. ????? Someone should include this information somewhere. User:Soco_79 —Preceding undated comment added 15:28, 18 May 2012 (UTC).Reply[reply]

The word "Band" is nothing but a name used in a few models of harmonica. There is no reason to focus on it.

Harmonica bands - that is bands where the solo or primary instrument is the harmonica - is a real topic.Winslowyerxa (talk) 19:38, 19 July 2019 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Winslowyerxa (talkcontribs) 19:34, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Removed incorrect and offensive word "Nigger". Richard Salwitz is simply Magic Dick (talk) 19:48, 23 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

edited Diatonic Harmonicas[edit]

I've removed the untrue statement that the diatonic was invented by Natalie Ann Cummins. see Evidence that this is vandalism comes from this article, edited the same day by the same user - scroll down to "Associate Student Body",_California)&oldid=177571089 (talk) 12:05, 23 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The part about Harmonica in Mainland China (and Hongkong?!) is badly written, suggest extensive editing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 21 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

overblowing or blowbends[edit]

"In the 1970s, Howard Levy developed the "overbending" technique (also known as "overblowing" and "overdrawing".) Overbending, combined with bending, allowed players to play the entire chromatic scale." This statement might be reconsidered in light of the signature harp style of Jimmy Reed who used overblows extensively throughout his career. Sonny Terry used this technique as well. Both of these individuals recorded this technique earlier than the 1970's.

The use of blow and draw bends additionally enables the player to find the correct pitch temperament for any individual note played within the available scales of the major pitch of the instrument. Bending generally allows a player to get the correct frequency to harmonize with other instruments which are nearly always out of tune to some extent. When using multiple harp positions extensively as in blues and country, one may have to bend a note one way or another to correct the interval for the key of the musical passage. Fiddle players do this a lot.Oskarmartin (talk) 19:06, 5 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User Oskarmartin does not understand what "overblow" means in relation to the harmonica. Jimmy Reed did not use overblows. He used blow bends, which lower the pitch of a blow note. Overblows, by contrast, raise the pitch of a draw reed using exhaled breath. This is the technique popularized by Howard Levy, though the technique has been know since at least 1929, when it was first recorded. However, neither Jimmy Reed nor Sonny Terry every used overblows.Winslowyerxa (talk) 19:39, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A quick question[edit]

Could someone please tell me what kind of harmonica is used by Ozzy in The Wizard, and also by Robert Plant in When the Levee Breaks, Nobody's Fault but Mine, Bring It on Home, etc.? I'm trying to emulate that kind of sound, but I'm just an amateur, and the only harmonica I have (a Hohner "Pocket Pal") does NOT make that kind of sound. I'd really appreciate any advice from a more advanced harmonicist. Joe routt (talk) 01:32, 18 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The harmonica in When the Levee Breaks is highly produced/manipulated. I have heard that the echo comes BEFORE the sound. The drums were also recorded at the bottom of a stairwell. For both these reasons I gather the song has never or rarely been performed live. Marksugg (talk) 21:13, 9 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please improve upon my humble beginnings. Let's use this area to discuss editing. -John Thaden 12/28/01 P.S. Welcome Harp-L'ers and the like!

In response to why blues players use a G harp to play in the key of C. Actually it is backwards. A blues player would use 2nd or cross position on a C harp to play in the key of G. Many country harmonica players do the same thing. An example would be my use of an A harp to play Folsom Prison Blues when guitars are playing in the key of E. 2nd or cross position uses more draw and bend notes. In playing the melody one uses the same harp key as the other musicians. by The Doctor of Laughology/Lips — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:32, 16 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some questions for the knowledgeable: What is it that is "harmonic" about a harmonica? Is it really a simple instrument that anyone can play? Why can regular harmonicas be played in only one key? Why do blues players use a G harmonica to play in C? What about the chromatic harmonica? Is that they one with "keys" mentioned in this article?

I'm going to put some famous players in the article as well. I don't know much about the ax, but I'm hoping to jump-start some discussion. Ortolan88

There have been some fabulous improvements since the last time I was here, but whoever decided to put in the blank lines, please don't. No matter how cool it looks, it causes problems when various browsers try to display text and makes it harder to edit. But, man oh man, what a load of good work has gone into this! Ortolan88

User:Ortolan88, sorry about the blank lines -- I had a browser crash after starting the first major revision of this, so then I moved the whole thing into emacs to do the edit and copied it back, with blank lines I had put in for my convenience. I'll make sure not to do that in the future! I created the new skeleton for this and and sent an e-mail off to the harp-l list to encourage other harmonica players to add more stuff -- I'd especially like to see some info on the old harmonica bands and some of the traditional harmonica band instruments (chord harmonica, etc.).

As to some of the questions above, would an explanation of blues techniques be appropriate? It would involve a bit of musical theory, but it would be simple enough (basically, blues players are playing off of a mixolydian scale, and the bends that one can use when playing in 'G' in a 'C' also make it easy to get blue notes, such as a blue third (between major and minor) and a tritone. Discussions of technique, etc. could go on at some length, and I'm not sure where to put them (under a new section called techniques or under harmonica types?).

One final note: I just organized the list of harmonica players alphabetically by genre, so if people could follow this pattern (or propose and implement a new one) it would be much appreciated!

-- User:Thomas Mills Hinkle

Maybe there should be a separate article on blues harmonica, linked from here and from the blues pages. Ortolan88

I've removed the header labelled "Free reed physics" and instead made a link to free reed in the first paragraph. There are many free reed instruments other than the harmonica (accordian, bandoneon, harmonium, reed organ...), so I think the subject should be discussed on a page of its own. --Camembert

See Pan pipes, syrinx. Ortolan88

Editing Harmonica[edit]

I'm new here, so I don't know the norms for this discussion group. Forgive me if I transgress. Is it appropriate to place an ad for a commercial product as information on a topic? I think not. The reference under "Toy Harmonica" is a link to a site where you can buy harmonica instructional materials. I'm not opposed to the seller and his/her product, but think this information would be better placed on a page of vendors. There is no actual information about "Toy harmonica". As a harmonica collector I would be happy to prepare a few paragraphs on toy harmonicas. Larry Boy Pratt 8/12/04

If a link goes to an ad, I think it should at the very least be labelled as such and relegated to a "Related Sites" section. If you know something about toy harmonicas, please do prepare a few paragraphs and add them! And a final note -- you can sign your comments by adding four squiggle marks to the end of your entry, like this --~~~~, which will create a signature like this: --Tom 02:32, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)

A seperate article or section of this should discuss cross harp and also that the harmonica is also commonly knows as harp in blues circles. -anon

Harmonica layout diagrams[edit]

So the original text layout diagram for a diatonic harp has been replaced with an image. This is great, but I wonder: is there any way in wikipedialand to specify a text diagram as an alternative to the image for text-only browsers? In this case, the image is clearly nicer for those who can load it, but the information provided by the text is essentially the same, and it seems a shame to lose that info for users with text-only browsers.

On a related note, it seems like we should be consistent -- right now only one of the many layout diagrams is done as an image.

See: Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages and Wikipedia:Alternative text for images. Hyacinth 05:02, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Only the first line of text (though it appears it can be very long) appears, so I don't think the ascii can be an alternative text. I reverted back to the text, and then added a see also for the image. It's not very attractive, perhaps someone can prettify it for me. Hyacinth 05:21, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)
This is an interesting point. I originally created the image in question for blues-harp, replacing the only textual layout diagram on that page. I thought that the text diagram may be a little confusing for people who perhaps haven't seen a harmonica (maybe this is a little far fetched?) or who aren't familiar with the back of one. Adding a little context in terms of the shape of the body of the harmonica seemed like a good idea. With regards to consistency, I have no problem creating consistent images for all other layouts.
With regards to text-only browsers, is there any sort of official wikipedia policy or convention when it comes to this? Is text preferable to image wherever this is possible (and practical)? I understand the need for wikipedia to be open to everyone. Perhaps a line of alt-text could be added along the lines of "Blow: C, E, G, C, E, G, C, E, G, C; Draw: D, A, B..." etc.? --Lor 06:36, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I agree the image adds some clarity for those not accustomed to harmonicas. If we could set the "alt" tag, that would be the correct thing, IMO. (btw, I started this section--sorry I forgot to sign!) Tom 23:33, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Could we get diagrams for the natural minor harmonicas? I found the diatonic images very useful when trying to determine the key of harmonica used for a particular song I was trying to learn by ear, but not having the natural minor diagrams to search kept me from discovering, in a more timely manner, that a minor harmonica was the solution to my search. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fathompin (talkcontribs) 22:50, 3 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

moving list of players to another page[edit]

I think a new page should be created for the list of harmonica players, as it isn't pertinent to the article itself. --Iusenospace 17:28, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I added a bit under the diatonic section on positions, particularly second, or "cross-harp." I stole one sentence from the below section on "Special-Tuned Harmonicas" about cross-harp that didn't really have anything to do, in my opinion, with alternate tunings. The article didn't seem to cover the important aspect of cross-harp quite enough for my tastes. The Janitor 02:35, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The reason the information was under "Special-Tuned Harmonnicas" was that Lee Oskar special-tuned harmonicas are *based* on "Cross Harp" technique, which seems rather backwards if you're not used to harmonicas. In other words, normally we think the major scale is the "main" scale. The harmonica's original design clearly aimed to do this, with the goal being playing a melody on holes 4-12 and the tonic and dominant chords below on holes 1-3. The "melody maker" harmonica, to name one special-tuned harp, puts a major scale between 2d/3b and 6b. Why on earth would someone make a new layout for the major scale? The reason, of course, is that harp players prefer cross harp, largely because draw notes are substantially stronger than blow notes on the harmonica (it's easier to embellish them and to play them more loudly). So I'm going to do some reorganizing. I also will try toneaten up some of the information you've added on positions so that it makes more sense to other musicians (those already acquainted with modes, but not acquainted with harmonica-player's notion of "positions").

What are those circular harmonicas called? I've seen one, but can't figure out its name. It wasn't as logical as "circular harmonica"...

External links[edit]

This article is lacking external links. 21:48, 26 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My understanding is that this site is about general information about the harmonica. External links should NOT be included. Leave the links to the search engines. Too much politics.

Hi, The Wikipedia external links policy says you can put external links, but they have to be high quality sites with " further research that is accurate and on-topic...or other meaningful, relevant content." It says "Links normally to be avoided" include "Links mainly intended to promote a website...and ....Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services, or to sites with objectionable amounts of advertising." See WP:EL for more info. I have recently removed some of the unacceptable links, which are information that is on an online store's advertising webpage. These websites exist primarily to sell goods or services, so they can't be put in the external links. Thanks.OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 19:27, 25 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"The bass harmonica is a special harmonica mostly used in ensemble playing. It usually consists of two harmonicas held together, one above the other, by an adjustable bracket. the lower harmonica has the natural notes of the chromatic scale, while the upper harmonica has the accidental notes. The bass harmonica has only blow notes."

Obviously, this instrument requires circular beathing to be played properly.

The comment about circular breathing is simply untrue. The bass harmonica is not used to play long sustained tones, and its structure, which requires leaping large distances from note to note, does not allow for sustained unbroken note sequences, either. Players typically inhale between notes.Winslowyerxa (talk) 19:41, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggested addition (in bold)[edit]

Here is a standard diatonic in the key of G:

      1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10
blow: |G |B |D |G |B |D |G |B |D |G |
draw: |A |D |F |A |C |E |F |A |C |E |

Each hole is the same interval (here, a major sixth) from its key of C counterpart; on the diatonic scale, a G is a major sixth from C. The interval between keys can be used to find the note layout of any standard diatonic.

G is NOT a major sixth from C. If it a fifth: c-d-e-f-g = 1-2-3-4-5. However, a G harmonica is pitched *below* a C harmoncia, not above, so you would count downward; C-B-A-G = 1-2-3-4. A G harmonica is pitched a perfect fourth below a C harmonica Winslowyerxa (talk) 19:44, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Normally, I'd be bold and put it in, but I'm a novice harpist, and I only have a weak grasp of music theory. So, if a more experienced type would check the diagram and explanation for accuracy and clarity, that would be good. (It would go at the end of the first section of The diatonic harmonica.) Deltabeignet 23:14, 27 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't play harp, but I think I have a good grasp of music theory. Here is my correction: Here is a standard diatonic in the key of G:

      1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10
blow: |G |B |D |G |B |D |G |B |D |G |
draw: |A |D |F#|A |C |E |F#|A |C |E |

Each hole is the same interval (here, a perfect fifth) from its key of C counterpart; on the diatonic scale, a G is a perfect fifth from C. The interval between keys can be used to find the note layout of any standard diatonic.

I think this is correct, based on my knowledge of music theory and the explanations already in the harmonica article. However, I don't play the instrument, so I'm not 100% certain. Graham/pianoman87 talk 02:05, 28 December 2005 (UTC) PIanoman has it right. However, a G harmonica is pitched a forth below a C harmonica, and not a fifth above. Winslowyerxa (talk) 19:44, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A dedicate section for Playing harmonica?[edit]

I am wondering: Is it a good idea to write down a seperate article for Harmonica techniques?George Leung 10:13, 18 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, as long as it is not a how to, and gives significant information about the techniques. Basically I am trying to say that it should be written in the same style as this article. I wonder if it would be possible to use wikibooks for hosting an entry on how to play the harmonica? Graham/pianoman87 talk 11:08, 18 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

World View[edit]

I remember that there are quite a few articles being complained of not presenting a world view. Since I can read Chinese, I can translate some information regarding to China Mainland and Taiwan's harmonica history. What are the essential information? George Leung 05:10, 22 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

BTW, the reason why I seperated "horn" harmonica is due to the categorization in East Asia. Additionally, their construction and playign methods are so different from Chromatics that it should be seperated. IF they are to be grouped as one, may as well as group tremelo and octaves with the 10 hole diatonics, and bass with chromatics.

In regard to[edit]

Do you think user with ip address is actually constructive or destructive? Because he seems to not understand that Horn harmonica should be seperated (as I mentioned above, and it was seperately categorize in Asia websites), as well as numerous other important points. George Leung 01:40, 26 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think he/she is destructive, maybe not knowing much about the subject. I hope he/she is just trying to clean up the article, and this actually isn't vandalism ... Graham/pianoman87 talk 05:05, 26 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, and why is the user taking so many edits? It just clutters the page history. Graham/pianoman87 talk 05:07, 26 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am wondering if we should talk to an admin or that guy himself in regard to his action. George Leung 08:47, 29 January 2006 (UTC) I've written a message at user talk:User talk: I hope he/she responds. Graham/pianoman87 talk 09:39, 29 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure how to post to this particular forum, so if this is not the usual way, please let me know. I am the person who has been making the recent changes that are discussed above. It is not vandalism, but rather an attempt to clean up the harmonica page--as for knowing about the subject, I have been a member (on and off) of the online harmonica forum harp-l for ten years, have attended over a dozen harmonica conventions, own instruments from all over the world, including many not available in the US and been in contact with most of the significant members of the English-speaking community (sadly I do not speak German nor Chinese, thus miss out on many other members of the worldwide community). If you wish to ban me, fine, but I was simply trying to make constructive changes, as I have to this page in the past. I wrote much of the parts about harmonica construction and the octave section, to name two areas. I disagree that the "Horn" harmonicas should be in a seperate group because I had already included the subject of non-slide chromatics under the "chromatic" section. Perhaps it would make more sense to create a seperate area after the chromatic section that includes all non-slide chromatic instruments: the Horn, S-50-type and the Polyphonias. To me that would make for a significantly cleaner page than having these spread out, as the basic ideas of non-slider chromatics are all quite similar, particularly the two more recent versions common in Asia (I own and have played all three, for the record). If you wish I will edit the page to show what I mean. I also attempted to rewrite the "positions" section because it simply was not accurate--the modes are by definition neither major nor minor but modal, and some were wrongly described. I would be in favor of a new page on techniques, which would help with the massive overflow compared to Wikipedia guidelines, and have the main page focus on different types of harmonica and the history of the instrument. If you wish to email me to further this conversation, and perhaps tell me how to more properly post to the harmonica talk section I would be more than willing to discuss this further, my contact is jr-nospam-bulldogge-at-nospam-yahoo-dot-com (remove nospams from address). jrbulldogge.

"it simply was not accurate--the modes are by definition neither major nor minor but modal" -- Just out of curiosity, why is this? I always thought the minor or major feel of a scale was determined by the third. Since the major scale is the same thing as the ionian mode and the natural minor scale is the same thing as the aeolian mode, wouldn't it be accurate to describe these modes at least as major and minor? (I realize there is surely something I'm missing here -- I guess what I'm asking is whether the info on the page was truly inaccurate or simply missed some distinction in the usage of terminology) Tom
Ok, sorry. I actually thought you were trying to do it in good faith. However, removal of information from an article without an edit summary and without an explanation on the talk page is usually considered vandalism. Thanks for posting the explanation, it clears things up here. I myself do not know much about the harmonica, but I do agree that there should be a page about harmonica techniques - this was talked about further back in the page and the consensus was that it was a good idea, but it wasn't implemented at the time. Please go ahead and make changes as you see fit. If you can explain each edit in about a line or so of text, put the explanation in an edit summary. If you cannot, put "see talk" and write some text here. Sorry about the confusion. Btw, you can sign your edits on talk pages with four tildes like this: "~~~~" which will produce a link to your username and the date. To reply to this message, you can add two colons ":" to the start of the message to indent two levels to indicate that you are replying to my message. For more information on this, see wikipedia:talk page. Thanks, and happy editing. Graham/pianoman87 talk 03:10, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the information. I will include an edit summary in any future edits, I hadn't realised that was needed as I can be a bit computer illiterate at time. I will also probably talk about it here as well as sign things with the tildes (I read that part after I hit send, sorry). 03:44, 30 January 2006 (UTC)jrbulldoggeReply[reply]
Sorry for reverting your changes. As I stated, the reason why I seperated them is due to the classification used in East Asia, which actually seperated them. I think it can be a good idea to seperate them, since while both a chromatical, the Horn harmonica have different layout, and have a similar playing style that makes it more akin to the bass harmonica. Complete different techniques is needed for Horn harmonica. Furthermore, it's not suppose to be a replacement for chromatic, but rather for orchestral use only. As for other information, I find that sometimes having more information is useful; some could be personal opinion, some are trivial, but I think most information are there for a particular reason. Well, anyway, I will just see what changes you may bring in the future. Thanks, and happy editing. George Leung 05:04, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that it makes sense to seperate them, but I think maybe also including the other non-slider chromatics in the same section as the horn harmonicas might make sense as well. I'll give it a try tommorrow (no time tonight) and leave a summary to show what I mean. I think the increased information on the Asian styles and harmonicas is great--those of us in the US don't have easy access to that information. Thanks24.147.122.211 23:44, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bebop tuning: Much better than solo tune?[edit]

While I was adding a section on the alternate tunings for both bebop tuning and classical tuning, I was wondering: is there any purpose for the redundant C? Here's what I am thinking:

  • It does not serve much for octaves, since players have to learn to play on five holes (blocking the middle 3 holes) uino rder to play octaves on other notes.
  • It has no help on chord construction whatsoever.

The only purpose I see it the redundant C exist is due to the legacy from the diatonic, which will make it not redundent in that case. But I would definitely say, a classical tuning or bebop tuning have much more sense then the current tuning we are having right now. George Leung 04:59, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think you will probably get more answers to this sort of question on one of the harmonica email lists or for like harp-l or harpon, harp-l is the oldest and its website is harpon is more restricted and dedicated to talking about technique and construction, it's website is . The double Cs are redundant, but like the black/white piano layout solo tuning remains the standard for many reasons. Hope this helps24.147.122.211 23:41, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikibook Article[edit]

I am starting an article on Harmonica, specifically focus on playing. So do you guys see anything that should be moved over to wikibook? Also, if you guys see any good techniques, or any bad writings, tell me. George Leung 06:24, 4 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I did a mistake while I was editing it. Sorry!

Harmonica care.[edit]

I am brand new to the world of harmonica playing and upkeep. This doesn't have to be included in the article but some readers (myself included) would perhaps enjoy a few pointers in the care of harmonica and how to keep it playing good. -- 07:20, 21 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you want to have information on upkeep, go to the wikibook site. the link is there. George Leung 23:07, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pee-Wee Herman Request[edit]

   I recently discovered Pee-wee Herman's name was inspired, in part, by a Pee-wee brand harmonica. There are plenty of Google images, but I was hoping a Harmonica officianado that owned one could upload an image with a verifiable copyright.
   I'd love to link the Pee-wee article to the same image once uploaded. Even better; have the Pee-wee harmonica image added to this article and link the Herman reference of the harmonica to this article. Any takers?
--Fracture98 03:18, 29 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

   I've taken what i consider an unusual liberty, namely guessing what formatting would satisfy the contributor of what turns out to be the above single-edit contribution. It had a more than usually confusing format which -- in spite of bearing a correctly signed contrib -- nevertheless surely reflected at least one colleague's unfamiliarity with our talk pages: ruling out the possibility that it comprised an unsigned contrib, followed by a separate user's signed contrib, required consultation of the edit history. I've added formatting that i think will make the actual intent clear to all -- with the single exception that they might have chosen to combine what i left looking like two paragraphs, into one, had they the confidence that goes with experience in formatting talk.
--Jerzyt 04:36, 28 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
   In fact, here's a lead toward the needed ref to support the text implicit in Frac's suggestion: Tim Burton: The iconic filmmaker and his work is a chapter in what appears, per this search's only hit, a limited passage what looks like Ian Nathan's chapter of a book (that also has something to do with Eminem), or article on PWH, on pp. 253-259 of some volume of a periodical. (Quarto?)
--Jerzyt 07:23, 28 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not sure that there's sufficient coverage in reliable sources for inclusion of anything in this article. Would support, if sourced, something in the PWH article. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 09:26, 28 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Removed this -- Comparison between Asia and Europe/America[edit]

The following section reads like someone's blog. Not neutral pov. Instead of factual statements it talks alot about what people say on discussion boards and what the writer thinks and what groups of people prefer without scientific polls other than message boards. There seems to be some interesting information here that could be pulled but is not appropriate in the current form.

Comparison between Asia and Europe/America Compared to Euro/American players, Asian players prefer to use tremolo harmonicas, since not only do they prefer the tonal quality of tremolo, the diatonic have "missing" notes; on many Asian discussion boards, players claim bending for those notes was too hard and too "inaccurate" for the music they play. This is true in many aspects, especially if they practice bending on tremolo (one needs to cover one of the holes to facilitate a single reed bend).

On the other hand, in terms of North American players, while they knew bending's semi-tone IS imprecise and different, that is the tonal quality they wanted. Thus, in contrast, many harmonica players in North America favor overbending diatonic harmonicas, or use valved diatonics and/or XB-40s for the "chromatic" playing. However, the truth is that playing chromatic is actually much less frequent, as most players merely play different positions (which means playing three keys at most per diatonic harmonica). Since classical players use chromatic, the only group of players that fully utilize the diatonic harmonica's chromaticability are jazz and bluegrass players.

The reason for this difference may be due to the fact that most asian players play asian folk songs, ballads, and popular music (which seldom use wails) or classical music, while harmonica players in North America play mostly blues, jazz, and country, and require the diatonic's dynamics (aka growls and wails). Additionally, Asian players treat the harmonica as a melodic instrument, and many "self-accompaniment" techniques taught there are treated merely as a way to thicken the sound in North America. In contrast, North America players focused quite a bit on chords, possibly due to the need to play blues and jazz.

One common (and ironic) point of view is that both sides often declared the other side's diatonic is only good for playing very simple (usually European) folks songs, and unsuited for the pop songs that they played. It is possible that, due to this, their approach toward chromatic is different: for Asian players, chromatic, which have very similar playing style to tremelo (stacking a C# on top of a C), caught on quite quickly; this is in contrast to North American players, which merely treat it as a diatonic harmonica, and do not use slides that often. This is possibly why there was a very rapid rebirth of harmonica playing in Asia, but not so much in North America.

Another difference is that Asian players usually state Suzuki is more airtight and more in tune (which is true, since Suzuki use equal temperament), while european/American player state Hohner is more airtight and better sounding (since it use just intonation). Ultimately, it depends on the player's taste, and the price of the harmonica.

Alternate names[edit]

It appears that a disagreement exists over whether Mouth harp refers to a harmonica or a Jew's harp. I have changed it from a redirect to a disambiguation page but, since I have only heard it used in reference to a Jew's harp, I wonder if there is any documentation of these usages? Cmadler 12:45, 11 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Personally, I've never heard nor seen mouth harp refer to a harmonica. My understanding is that a mouth organ is a harmonica, while a mouth harp is a Jaw Harp. TooManyTooMuch (talk) 23:53, 21 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have seen and heard "mouth harp." Sometimes it is just "harp," meaning harmonica. Hohner has been making the Blues Harp for an awfully long time now. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 02:53, 22 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
American Heritage Dictionary, (Random House Dictionary), and Merriam-Webster Collegiate all define "mouth harp" as a harmonica. Rivertorch (talk) 05:21, 22 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Length of article[edit]

It is quite long. Maybe it should be split into more articles?! BiblbroksTalk2me 17:43, 14 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seperation into articles[edit]

Well, since accordions have serveral small pages for their types, I proposed we also seperate them. Here's my divisions planned:

  • Harmonica (this page)
    • Construction
    • History
    • related instruments
    • Techniques only do in briefly, as there exist harmonica wikibooks already.
    • Everything else already on this page and wasn't mentioned
  • Diatonic Harmonica
    • Merge with blues harps
    • include blues harp related techniques
    • alternate tunings
  • Chromatic Harmonica (include orchestral harmonica)
  • Tremelo harmonica (and octave harmonica)

I plan to do this starting thursday (or whenever I have time). RSVP by Oct 25 00:00.

I dont think it is a very good idea to spilt the Article in this way. May be it is better to wite a complete book on wiki boos, as it is allready stated.

On the german wiki page ther is now a very good pager on special customiced harmonikas.

--Jpascher 08:50, 28 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Harmonica neck holder[edit]

Somewhere in this article, though I am not sure where, their should be a mention of harmonica neck holders, like the one Bob Dylan often used. --Cab88 00:24, 18 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. I would put it under the "other parts" section. I searched google for a few minutes, but I couldn't find any information on them; just prices. I know how to use one, I own one, and I can tell you a fair ammount about them, but I can't find any sources!!!
Youre dreaming eh? (talk) 19:41, 27 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

They are usually called 'racks' or 'harp racks'.Nacoran (talk) 18:51, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It should also be noted that Les Paul invented the harmonica holder, or at least was the first to be credited with the design. I've found some references on Gibson's website before, but I'll keep digging Theshawnpeter (talk) 21:46, 28 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Electric Harp[edit]

I think the electric harmonica should be mentioned somewhere in this article. I was going to do so myself, but I wasn't sure what exactly what to write. Here's a link to one website I found with news of the electric harmonica.

Cheers! Youre dreaming eh? (talk) 19:17, 27 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tango Music[edit]

Harmonica is sometimes used in tango music, most famously by Hugo Diaz. Although I dont know enough about it to create a new section, I think it is significant and important enough to be included in this article if anyone is an expert on the subject or is willing to do the research. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cstrife90 (talkcontribs) 08:48, 29 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Richter-tuned chromatic - Confusing[edit]

"While the Richter-tuned 10-hole chromatic is intended to be played in only one key" This is the first usage of the term "richter-tuned" in the article, and beyond a wikilink, it is not introduced. Looking at the Richter tuning article, It seems as though richter-tuned harmonicas and chromatic harmonicas are mutually exclusive. This is made more confusing because no specific model is given for the 10-hole chromatic in question, and the Chromatic harmonica article does not appear to make mention of it.

I've never owned a chromatic harmonica, only diatonics, so I don't wish to make any presumptions. Could someone explain this and/or fix the wording in the article to make it friendlier to readers unaccustomed to the topic? -Verdatum (talk) 15:12, 11 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Richter tuning, or alternately, standard German diatonic tuning, was the first note layout used on chromatic harmoncias, circa 1910 with the Hohner Model 260. This allowed for the addition of chromatic notes to a note layout that still omitted notes from the parent diatonic scale and favored chordal accomanpaniment. Subsequently, solo tuning was applied to the Model 260 1/2, which became the Model 270. Solo tuning gives a complete diatonic scale in all octaves and this allows the instrument to be fully chromatic as well. For many years, the 260 was available in both German Diatonic and Solo tuning, while most other models of chromatic used solo tuning (the main exception being the Koch 980, also made by Hohner, which continued to use diatonic tuning until its discontinuation in 2013).Winslowyerxa (talk) 19:49, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Made an edit[edit]

I kind of put some refferences to its stereotypical role in movies. Is this OK? (talk) 16:54, 11 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Everything in Wikipedia must be verifiable and not just opinion, allegation, or based on your perception. Reliable sources of such edits (allegations/opinions etc.) should also be cited. Your addition seems more opinion to me so your edit was reverted. It was also not referenced/cited. Please see wp:RS and wp:OR for more information.  BC  talk to me 17:33, 11 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merge suggestion[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Merge Harmonica (electric) into Harmonica but qualify the unverified material. Klbrain (talk) 15:50, 27 April 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest that Harmonica (electric), if sourced, be moved here.--Epeefleche (talk) 20:42, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes. If sourced and de-weaseled. (I poked around a bit, looking for secondary sources, and found precious few.) Rivertorch (talk) 07:44, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Even in the history there doesn't really be anything worth merging, especially anything (that I could see) that is supported by reliable sources. Seems like it'd be a redirect and a sentence (if that) added to this article, or is there something in the history worth salvaging that I'm overlooking? - SudoGhost 07:47, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That works for me. I was looking at it as a possible AfD target, but it is verifiable -- though, as River points out, there is little to it. A redirect as indicated would be fine w/me.--Epeefleche (talk) 07:50, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) One possible source: 1 and 2—not a site I'm familiar with, but it claims editorial oversight of a sort. Rivertorch (talk) 07:53, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That does seem to verify that it does indeed exist, but I'm not convinced that gives enough weight to include it in an article. The wording on the link is "All news on this site is individually edited before publication." I read "individually edited" as "We didn't write this, we just proofread what was sent to us". Maybe that just me though. - SudoGhost 08:03, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, it's not just you; I said "of a sort" because I found the wording ambiguous. I'm concerned about sourcing the claim of who invented it. If that claim goes out the window, what's left either to merge into Harmonica or leave as a standalone article? Something along the lines of "Electric harmonicas exist"? I don't know. Rivertorch (talk) 08:42, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The stand-alone is a mess. The worst case, to my mind, would be that surviving as a stand-alone.--Epeefleche (talk) 08:46, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then maybe the best thing to do is just make it a redirect to this, and if sources can be found, add them as needed? - SudoGhost 09:38, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm. I guess that would work. It sort of bothers me, though: unless we say something about electric harmonicas in this article, people will arrive via the redirect and find nothing about what they were looking for. I'm unfamiliar with music-related WikiProjects and wonder if a note there somewhere might help. Someone has to know something about electric harmonicas (and maybe even has a handy print reference). Rivertorch (talk) 18:23, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that we should be saying something about electric harmonicas in this article, if we are to have a redirect.--Epeefleche (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Add new 30 reed chromatic harp type?[edit]

I think the new 30 reed chromatic harp (built since Oct. 2012) should be added as an extra building type as it allows all the chromatic notes in 3 octaves by normal bending technique without any mechanics:

What do you think? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Re-engineered Hohner XB-40, with 30 reeds rather than 40? htom (talk) 21:10, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd agree that the Sub30 should be added.Nacoran (talk) 19:06, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The chromatic harmonica, by definition, has a reed for every note in the chromatic scale and does not require bending or other pitch alteration in order to create these notes. The Suzuki Sub30 and Hohner XB-40 are diatonic harmonicas with enhanced note bending abilities that enable playing a full chromatic scale. But standard diatonic harmonicas can also achieve a full chromatic scale through pitch manipulation. But all are still diatonic instruments.Winslowyerxa (talk) 19:51, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update brands[edit]

Bends harmonica is no longer in business (I was on their mailing list). Bushman is an American company, but it seems they contract out their production to two other companies. Some of their harps are made by Suzuki and others by Seydel. I'm a moderator on a harp forum and there have been some issues with the brand (delivery problems) that I've gotten sucked into a couple times (against my will) so I'm not a neutral party for editing purposes. I'll recuse myself from editing that info but someone should be able to confirm the manufacturing information independently.Nacoran (talk) 19:06, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


There is a pretty good cottage industry in harp customization. You can get combs made out of exotic woods, acrylic, corian and metal, covers made out of polycarbonate or powder coated as well as all sorts of fine adjustments to the reeds from gapping to tuning to replacing busted reeds. There is even a harmonica that has built in LEDs and another with built in pickups. There is a harmonica like device that is designed to by a computer controller (both for use as a synthesizer and as a handicapped accessible controller.) While there shouldn't be mention of individual customizers maybe there is enough to warrant a little blurb? Also, I don't know if this would fall under instructions and therefore not be appropriate, but a lot of harp players I know use sonic cleaners on their non-wooden combed harps to degunk them.Nacoran (talk) 19:06, 16 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed merge with Glass diatonic harmonica[edit]

It is likely that independent notability may not be able to be established for this variant of the instrument, but it would be a shame to lose the information in this stub article. Fiddle Faddle 10:58, 29 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Article is not friendly to beginners[edit]

I came to find out basic information about harmonicas, such as how one is played. I didn't even know that each hole produces two different notes, depending on which way the air is going, and this article doesn't seem to explain that. I found some useful guidance at Harmonica Club; perhaps some information similar to what is presented there could be incorporated into the article. (talk) 02:45, 5 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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I just ordered my harmonica not that long ago What section is the harmonica in? If you don't know what I mean by section,I mean like brass,woodwind,string,etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:31, 4 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

nevermind i found out (talk) 00:44, 5 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]