The 15 Best Harmonica Books

8 min read

The harmonica is an incredibly versatile instrument, able to produce a range of sounds and styles. With the right knowledge and guidance, anyone can learn this fascinating instrument! The best way to get started is by reading one or more of the many excellent books available on the subject. This article covers some of our top picks for harmonia instruction books; from beginner guides to advanced techniques, we’ve got you covered with reviews and recommendations for each book. So whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your skills up a notch, check out these must-have harmonica books today!

  1. Harmonica Primer Book for Beginners with Video and Audio Access

    Harmonica Primer Book for Beginners with Video and Audio Access
    Tom Wolf
    Published in 2017

    The Harmonica Primer Book for Beginners with Video Access by Tom Wolf is a great choice for the novice harmonica player. This course starts from scratch, instructing on proper hand positions, mouth shapes and techniques such as blowing, drawing, scales and chords. Additionally you will learn to play over 30 songs like Amazing Grace at two different speeds (slow practice and performance tempo). The book also comes with online audio tracks and video lessons to help guide your learning process. What makes this an outstanding primer are its comprehensive approach to teaching beginners how to master the harmonica in a step-by-step manner. It provides clear instructions combined with helpful visual aids that make it easy even for those who don’t read music or have any prior experience playing instruments. All in all, this primer offers everything one needs in order to get started right away!

  2. First 50 Songs You Should Play on Harmonica

    First 50 Songs You Should Play on Harmonica
    Various
    Published in 2016

    This book, ‘First 50 Songs You Should Play on Harmonica’, is a great resource for those just starting out with the harmonica. It provides easy-to-read tabulature and notation, along with basic lyrics and chord symbols suitable to a wide range of styles. Each song has been carefully chosen and arranged specifically for 10-hole C diatonic harmonicas. This collection includes fan favourites such as Ain’t No Sunshine, Blowin’ in the Wind, Puff The Magic Dragon, Ring Of Fire and many more. With Hal Leonard LLC’s million products catalog representing some of music history’s greatest names, this volume offers an array of songs suited to all levels of experience – from beginner to advanced players alike! In addition there is also information at the back which gives clarity around musical notation; helping learners appreciate how notes should be played accordingly. An enjoyable read packed with plenty of recognizable tunes you can learn quickly at an unbeatable price – perfect for both aspiring musicians or seasoned veterans looking for fresh material

  3. Harmonica For Dummies

    Harmonica For Dummies
    Winslow Yerxa
    Published in 2020

    Harmonica For Dummies is an accessible and in-depth guide that takes you from beginner to advanced player. It’s packed with tips, tools and instructions to help get you started on your musical journey. The book provides helpful advice on everything from selecting the right harmonica for you, through tongue technique, improvisation of popular song styles and playing live performances professionally. An accompanying audio and video content makes learning easy and fun while giving readers access to expert guidance so they can make those unmistakable signature sounds quickly. Plus, it covers even classical riffs! With step-by-step explanations presented in a friendly format, Harmonica For Dummies has something for everyone – whether just starting out or wanting to expand their repertoire – making it a great resource for all aspiring harmonicists.

  4. Rhythms of the Breath, Vol.1

    Rhythms of the Breath, Vol.1
    Howard Levy
    Published in 2022

    Rhythms of the Breath, Vol. 1 is a revolutionary guide to harmonica playing by multi-Grammy Award winning teacher and virtuoso Howard Levy. Containing over 120 exercises, this book will help beginning players as well as pros take their performances to the next level with its innovative approach that reveals new perspectives on how to play the instrument. Through step-by-step instructions and musical examples accompanied with free practice tracks from levyland.com, this must-have book for all harmonica aficionados offers an accessible yet comprehensive journey through harmonic technique – delivered in an entertaining manner complete with humor! With Rhythms of the Breath, Vol 1., any player can unlock their full potential and reach heights previously unimaginable on their instrument

  5. Hymns for Harmonica- Diatonic, Cross-Harp, and Chromatic

    Hymns for Harmonica- Diatonic, Cross-Harp, and Chromatic
    Phil Duncan
    Published in 2015

    This book is an excellent collection of 98 favorite hymns, gospel songs, and spirituals arranged in several different keys for diatonic, cross-harp or chromatic harmonica solo. Author Phil Duncan has provided a wealth of knowledge to his readers with this work; it features traditional music notation along with tabbing for standard, chromatic and cross-harp harmonicas as well as chord changes noted above the music notation for accompaniment. It’s ideal for both beginner and advanced players who will have hours of entertainment from playing these classic tunes – perfect even if you don’t read music due to its comprehensive tablature! An invaluable resource filled with beautiful melodies that span hundreds of years, Hymns For Harmonica is sure to be appreciated by any fan of the instrument.

  6. Daily Studies for Diatonic Harmonica

    Daily Studies for Diatonic Harmonica
    David Barrett
    Published in 2019

    Daily Studies for Diatonic Harmonica by David Barrett is an essential guide to mastering the diatonic harmonica. It provides comprehensive recommendations on setting up a practice space, structuring your time and what techniques are needed to improve playing ability. The Daily Exercises portion of this publication offers practical drills such as movement patterns, scales, tongue blocking exercises and more which can be used to build proficiency in preparation for performance. This book also includes access to online audio files that serve as helpful accompaniments when learning new pieces. If you’re looking for an effective way to learn the harmonica or expand existing knowledge then Daily Studies for Diatonic Harmonica is definitely worth checking out!

  7. Harmonica for Kids

    Harmonica for Kids
    Eric Plahna
    Published in 2015

    This guide, Harmonica for Kids – A Beginner’s Guide with Step-by-Step Instruction for Diatonic Harmonica (Book/Online Audio), is an excellent resource to help children learn how to play the harmonica. With clear page layouts and simple instructions, this book makes learning a breeze! Over 30 songs ranging from classic favorites such as ‘All My Loving’ and ‘Jingle Bells’, are featured in the text along with audio demonstration tracks available online. The Kindle version of this book has been praised by reviewers for its easy navigation on tablets meaning that teaching kids can be done wherever you may go. This course offers topics such as basic chord playing and hand position making it suitable even for those starting from scratch. For anyone looking to give their child something fun yet educational, Harmoncica for Kids is sure to impress!

  8. Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers

    Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers
    Kim Field
    Published in 2000

    Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers by Kim Field is an authoritative volume on the history of one of music’s most beloved instruments. It delves into its journey from ancient Chinese sheng to synthesizers, paying homage to nearly seventy harmonica masters such as Stevie Wonder, Little Walter and Bob Dylan in profiles that are sure to fascinate both folk and classical enthusiasts alike. This updated edition also includes a detailed afterword, extensive discography listing some of the finest recordings ever made with a harmonica, plus valuable internet resources for readers wanting further exploration. An enthralling read for players keenly interested in this instrument’s past; highly recommended!

  9. Masters of the Harmonica

    Masters of the Harmonica
    Margie Goldsmith
    Published in 2019

    Margie Goldsmith’s book “Masters of the Harmonica: 30 Master Harmonica Players Share Their Craft” is an essential resource for harmonica players. Containing revealing interviews with a variety of top-tier harpists, it delves into their perspectives on music and life. It offers valuable tips from pros in the industry, as well as insights that can help budding musicians learn more about this instrument and its history. The interviews are accompanied by vibrant color photos of each artist. Covering multiple genres and styles, “Masters of the Harmonica” is sure to inspire readers at any level or skill set who wish to master the artistry associated with playing this beloved instrument.

  10. Blues Harmonica For Dummies

    Blues Harmonica For Dummies
    Winslow Yerxa
    Published in 2020

    This book, Blues Harmonica For Dummies, is an excellent resource for those looking to learn the art of blues harmonica. It provides comprehensive coverage on techniques such as bending and tongue-blocking enhancements; use of amplification; licks and riffs; soloing methods; accompanying singers and more. Furthermore, it delves into historical information about the development of blues styles throughout history and important players in that time. Accompanying this essential guide is a website which contains all musical examples from the text plus play-along exercises to help hear what one should be striving for when playing. As a result, if you are seeking out guidance on how to make your notes richer or fuller with authentic sounding blues rhythms then look no further than Blues Harmonica For Dummies!

  11. How To Play The Harmonica

    How To Play The Harmonica
    Jason Randall
    Published in 2017

    This book, ‘The Basics of Harmonica Playing’, is an essential guide for those looking to learn about this fascinating and popular instrument. It provides a comprehensive look at the harmonica’s history in China as well as its construction materials such as wood, plastic, and metal. Techniques are outlined clearly with easy-to-follow explanations including single note playing, chord techniques, tongue blocking effects and more. The book also covers musical styles from bending notes on both inhales and exhales to playing different keys. This is the perfect pocketbook for musicians who want to make music anytime and anywhere; it will help them master various sounds quickly!

  12. Easy Christmas Songs for the Harmonica

    Easy Christmas Songs for the Harmonica
    Clint Tustison
    Published in 2017

    This book is the perfect way to get into playing the harmonica, with 25 well-known Christmas songs that are easy and fun to play. Easy Christmas Songs for the Harmonica contains musical notation as well as simple-to-read tablature which makes it suitable for absolute beginners or those who want to pick up where they left off years ago. All you need is a C harmonica – available from most music stores or online – along with this songbook and you’re ready to go! The collection features traditional carols such as ‘Deck The Halls’, ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and ‘Jingle Bells’, so there’s something here for everyone. Not only will readers learn how to make melodies on their instruments but also spread joy during the festive season in remembrance of Jesus Christ, making this an ideal gift choice too!

  13. Harmonica Songbook: Hymns & Songs of Worship

    Harmonica Songbook: Hymns & Songs of Worship
    Thomas Balinger
    Published in 2016

    Thomas Balinger brings together a great selection of Christian hymns and songs in his Harmonica Songbook: Hymns & Songs of Worship. Aimed at the beginning to intermediate player, this book contains simple arrangements for Blues Harp in C that can be easily played without any advanced techniques such as bending or overblowing. Guitar chords and chord diagrams are also included so players have the option to play with friends. This collection is ideal for anyone wishing to learn how to play the harmonica, providing an accessible way into music-making with its easy-to-read tabs and clear notation. Whether you’re looking for something familiar like ‘Abide With Me’ or more modern numbers such as ‘Saviour Lead Us’, Thomas Balinger has got it covered!

  14. How To Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons

    How To Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons
    Sam Barry
    Published in 2009

    This book, ‘How To Play The Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons’ by Sam Barry is a great read for anyone looking to learn the harmonica. Written with wit and charm, it gives tips on how to play this instrument as well as offering humorous insights into life in general. It serves both as an instructional guide to playing the harmonica, providing basic tunes with tabs; but also shares stories from its author’s experience of music, bohemianism and activism – making it fun yet informative. Perfect for those wanting inspiration within their lives or just some laughs along the way! With humour-filled anecdotes about everything from calling your dog home using shrill whistles on a harmonicas to writing original blues songs this book will give you new perspectives while teaching old techniques too. A must have purchase if you are keen learner who likes learning through laughter and having fun!

  15. Easy Harmonica Songbook: with Audio Access

    Easy Harmonica Songbook: with Audio Access
    Connor Rand
    Published in 2020

    The Easy Harmonica Songbook is an ideal resource for both beginners and experienced players. It provides music notation, audio access to 15 popular tunes played on a “C” harmonica; all of which can be easily performed by any level player without the need for complex techniques such as bends. The songs are mostly in the middle range from 3rd to 8th hole, making them simple yet enjoyable to play. Included recordings feature accompaniments with no harmonica sound so learners can practice playing in context. Go Tell Aunt Rhody, You Are My Sunshine, Home Sweet Home and Bury Me Beneath the Willows are just some of the well-known songs featured among this collection – perfect for creating memorable musical moments!

Additional resources

Discovering the best harmonica books can be a daunting task. Here are some useful resources to help you find the right harmonica book for you:

  • Harmonica.com is a website dedicated to providing information and resources on the harmonica.
  • Harmonica Academy offers a range of harmonica lessons and courses.
  • Harmonica Masterclass provides a range of free and paid harmonica lessons.
  • Harmonica World is a website devoted to providing harmonica-related news, reviews, and interviews.
  • Harmonica Store is an online store for buying harmonicas and harmonica accessories.

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