Harmonica Set Ideas

I have been thinking about my harmonica set. I was thinking about going with a Marine Band Harmonica when I first started looking, but Blues Harps are easier to maintain so I picked up a Bb and later an A. Now that I am looking at filling out my harmonica set I am trying to decide what I need. (hint to loved ones, this is my Christmas wish list ;P)

I’m working on learning blues harmonica so that is the definer on what will round out the harmonica set. When you look into what to pick up the first thing everyone says is you don’t need every harmonica key. So what keys would the budding blues smith need?

Hohner 532/20 Blues Harp Harmonica Pack with Case and Belt

You can’t go wrong with just a natural set A, B, C, D, E, F, G. After the basics are out of the way, the next thing is to figure out which of the others to get. Elwood plays the Bb, and Adam Gussow starts his training videos with a Bb. Eb is a good harp for playing with a horn section. Gussow also recommends low G and Db as well. The Db is right in the middle of the scale.

So what I need to finnish out my set is low G, B, C, D, E, Eb, F, and high G. Some of the major keys I won’t use much with the blues but you never know when they will come in handy. My carrying set will probably be G, A, Bb, C, D, Db, F, and high G. I don’t plan on playing with a horn section so I won’t be carrying the Eb.

So what I need to get to round out the carrying set is, low G, C, D, Db, F and high G. Or maybe I will just pick up the Major scale set and then scrape together the Db and low G later. Yeah, I like that. and I can give the extra A to my son for his Birthday in January.

6 Replies to “Harmonica Set Ideas”

  1. Heya Catfish, I too have recently stated playing the Harmonica and have been thinking about some sets myself. I am the kind of guy that I will get the best that I can get if its something I am going to continue with.

    I have a real old Marine Band in A that I just love the sound of but it seems very flat in the 2 hole draw so I had decided to just buy another harmonica and see if it was something that I want to keep doing. After some research I went to my local music store and bought a Golden Melody in the key of C and have been playing it for a few weeks and it seems to be breaking in rather nicely.

    Well after playing a few minutes a day, daily I had decided that this was something that I wanted to continue to do and started thinking about adding to my collection of harps. After much research and a birthday in January I decided to treat myself to nice harp and I ordered a Suzuki Fabulus in the key of G. Let me say this, this harp is a piece of art it feels outstanding and plays…. well I am newbie at the harp but I can tell you when I hear something amazing and that is this harp it was worth every penny!!

    So I will be doing much more business with the Suzuki company soon!!

    Keep up the site Catfish maybe once I learn more I will be able to actually contribute knowledge and experience.


  2. I started with a Package set of Lee Oskar Diatonic. It included a Hohner Chromatic, a Hohner mike, and a harmonica case. There are five harmonicas in the major keys, I still need the B and E. The E I find that I need as much as the other keys that I have.
    I love those Lee Oskar harmonicas and they seem easy to work on when I want to clean or check the reeds.
    I would love to learn that Chromatic someday, but when I toot on it now, it’s just too much to understand. With all the keys, and the button for sharps and flats, its like trying to learn to play a piano.
    I would rather use a regular mike than the harmonica mikes. Personally, I don’t like the sound with a harmonica mike, and I can’t talk into it and have to use a second mike.
    I am thinking of pulling out the slots of the case and redesigning it. I don’t know what pattern they had to place things in it when they designed it.
    I think besides the diatonic B and E, I am looking at buying a couple of Melody Makers or maybe a twelve hole harmonica that would give me the missing notes on the Diatonic.
    Have you ever used a twelve hole? It’s described as being a Chromatic pattern without the button, so you would need to go back to needing at least seven of them.

    1. I ordered a set of Lee Oskars as well.
      The set I got came with 5 harps and a case. no mic and no chromo.
      I have an Audix om2 to Mic into a Roland 60 Cube amp.
      I think it sounds decent, I can play clean, or I have some effects to play with too.

  3. Hey Catfish, I’m a follower from SoundCloud. And an Adam Gussow disciple. I also play Hohner Blues Harps and I have a tip about modifications to improve reed response. Almost to the point that it plays like a Golden Melody. Go get some 3M Micropore tape. Its like breathable first aide tape, found at the drug store. The tape I use is 1 1/8 inches wide. Take apart a harp and stick a strip of tape right on the reed plate surface between the reed plate and the comb. 1 1/8 inches is just shy of the width of the reed plate but thats OK try and get it across the middle. Now with an Exacto knife cut out around the reeds. The tape left between the reeds need only be as wide or slightly thinner as the comb finger. Both sides of course. Basically making a gasket to seal any air leaks. I’ve done this with all my Blues Harps and it has really transformed them. Oh ah don’t put the tape on the comb. You could ruin it with the exacto. Cut the tape around the reeds rivets or not. I haven’t noticed a difference.

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