Mathias Hohner started making harmonicas in his kitchen in Trossingen, Germany. Amazingly, Hohner harmonicas are still made at a factory in Trossingen, Germany after all these years. I don’t think there’s any question that the Hohner Harmonica has had a profound influence on American music. The harmonica is one of the easiest and most fun instruments I have ever learned how to play. I play the awesome Hohner Blues Harp harmonica.
I became aware of how cool the harmonica was listening to John Lennon play it on early Beatles recording. Bob Dylan also used the harmonica to great effect. Other great rockers that play harmonica are Roger Daltry, Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, Ozzy Osbourne and Mick Jagger. I’m not saying that they’re great harp players, but they play. It’s an easy instrument to learn, but like all instruments it can be hard to master.
What really turned me on to the harmonica is the old blues recordings specifically by Marion “Little Walter” Jacobs. To hear a gifted blues player play inspired blues on a harmonica is truly a great experience. To hear a learn a little bit about Little Walter check out his Rock-N-Roll Hall Of Fame induction video.
So naturally with the instument being so inexpensive to buy I wanted to learn to play the harmonica. So I picked up a Hohner Marine Band harmonica. I liked it, I learned to play some songs but I couldn’t play the blues on it. I couldn’t bend notes on it like I wanted to. So I asked around and found out about the excellent Hohner Blues Harp. Finally, I had an instrument that I could play harmonica blues on. The Blues Harp is so easy to bend notes on that it almost bends itself. The tone is classic and the harmonica is a very easy instrument to learn to play. I practice the harmonica by playing along with I-IV-V chord progressions and it’s always a lot of fun.
One last bit of trivia for you, even President Abraham Lincoln played the harmonica. He used to carry a harmonica around in his pocket and would often whip it out and play a tune or a jig. I like to say I play like Honest Abe.
Today I’m recommending to all you aspiring harp plays, the Hohner 532/20 Blues Harp. I’ve also put some links to some books that will have you playing blues harp in no time.