The harmonica is a free reed wind instrument. It is played by using lips and tongue to direct air into and out of holes in the mouthpiece. As the musician inhales and exhales into air channels, the metal reeds produce different tones. The note that we hear, is determined by the length and thickness of the reed. Usually reeds are pre-tuned to individual pitches. Longer and heavier reeds produce lower and deeper sounds, meanwhile shorter and lighter reeds produce higher pitched sounds. The main parts of the harmonica are the comb, cover plates and reed plates.

The comb is the main body of the instrument and it contains the air chambers that cover the reeds. Combs were traditionally made from wood, but now usually plastic or metal is used.

Reed plate is a term that indicates grouping of different reeds in a single housing. Some reeds are fixed on the inside of the reed plate and they respond to blowing, while there are others on the outside which respond to suction.

Cover plates are usually made of metal, sometimes even with wood and plastic, and they cover the reed plates. There are two types of cover plates: enclosed designs and traditional open designs.

In Europe, the harmonica was first developed in the 19th century. Free reed instruments were common in East Asia for centuries and were known in Europe for some time. Christian Buschmann is known as the inventor of the harmonica in 1821, but there were even other inventors who developed similar instruments at the same time.

The harmonica is used in variety of musical forms, from folk to classical, country, blues, rock and jazz.

At Varsity music we provide a great range of new and used harmonicas available to buy online. They are the best on the market and serviced by our trained musicians.

Showing 1–12 of 13 results