Meet the Makers – A Glimpse of Their World

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog: Harmonica Articles, Learn About the Harmonica

By: Medith Goingco

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In addition to learning to play the harmonica, it’s also fascinating to learn where harmonicas come from and who makes them. For instance, who is the largest manufacturer or the oldest? And what is the latest technology and design that gives harmonica players their unique experience in the world of music?

Let’s take a glimpse at some of the best-known names to discover their stories.

Hohner Harmonicas:

Hohner’s harmonica factory is in Trossingen, Germany, producing instruments for all musicians – hobbyist and professionals. At a time when the whole Black Forest region of Germany and Austria, was peppered with harmonica manufacturers, Matthias Hohner started producing harmonicas and founded Hohner in 1857.

He exported a batch to an immigrant relative in the USA, igniting the harmonica market to the point where, in a short time, the instrument became a star of the American music scene.

The result is that Hohner harmonicas now dominate the industry, accounting for about two thirds of the global market.

The Hohner harmonica’s popularity was founded on quality – the main objective of its founder. The huge factory at Trossingen is a landmark in the area and visible evidence that those 153 years in the business has made Hohner a world leader in musical instrument production.

Lee Oskar:

Lee Oskar harmonicas are manufactured at the Tombo Instrument factory in Japan.

A Lee Oskar harmonica is built on what is claimed to be the best craftsmanship in the world, playing perfectly and outlasting other harmonicas. It is made with replacement reed plates and in all keys.

C.A. Seydel Harmonicas:

C.A. Seydel is the world’s oldest harmonica factory, with Christian August Seydel and his brother beginning their instrument making business when the mine where they had been employed shut down. In 1847, Seydel founded his company at the foot of Aschberg (“Ash Mountain”), in Klingenthal, Germany.
He died in 1882 leaving the business to his son, Richard, whose brother, Moritz, later joined the business, which they called C.A. Seydel Sohne (C.A. Seydel and Sons).

Seydel’s models of 1847, with stainless steel reeds, are among the company’s most notable.

Suzuki Harmonicas:

Suzuki is one of the best-known names in the musical instrument-making world. It was founded in 1953 and its very first product was the harmonica. The company has continuously produced and developed across the years, acquiring and developing some of the most advanced technology in the business.

Suzuki offers a wide selection of instruments for everyone, from basic players, through hobbyists to top world-class performers.

The world has provided us with the best harmonicas, made by dedicated and committed founders who have made this instrument one of the most interesting to play.

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Comments (17)

  • archie l. salazar

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    Reading this article , I can’t help but reminisce when i was only 5 yrs old my auntie Annie gave me her Suzuki harmonica , that harmonica seems to take me back to my childhood, because it reminds me of my auntie Annie , on how she will ask me to play certain tunes, then applauded after i played it . After reading this article i have one mission in mind…. SEARCH for my Harmonica, i know it was placed together with my old toys…let’s see if i can still play that tune…. see ya.

    Reply

  • Chelzee Villanueva G.

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    In my case, my mom has bought two (honer) harmonicas for me but every time after a friend visited, one would go home with that friend. The third time I acquired a harmonica was when we shopped for a badminton racket and the store sells harmonicas too..with other musical instruments.

    Now the sad part is, I think a harmonica is not bound to stick with me. During a typhoon, a flash flood washed away and destroyed most of the things inside our house including that third harmonica which I found but beyond repair. I never really learned how to play it. Am I thinking of buying the fourth?

    Reply

    • archie salazar

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      yes get your fourth harmonica lets try playing together….tc.

      Reply

  • stephen

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    WHO IS THE BEST HARMONICA MANUFACTURER IN THE WORLD?

    Reply

    • Mike Brunner

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      Hohner!

      Reply

  • beth

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    Does anyone know anything about Ricardo harmonicas? Just recently inherited an old harmonica from an uncle and can’t find anything about it. Thanks for any help.

    Reply

  • Henry Samuels

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    Without a doubt I find that “Hohner’s” are the best. I started playing the “Bandmaster” model at the age of 12 and after hearing Larry Adler’s recording of “Rhapsody In Blue” I started to play the 12 hole “Super Chromonica” at the age of 14. I have never gave up playing and I joined a harmonica group in my home town of Manchester in the UK.by the name of Les Crossley’s Harmonica Rascals until I went into the service where I spent the best part of 5 yrs. Upon leaving the service I found it difficult to find a job until I noticed a poster advertizing a show at the local theater which included Morton Fraser’s Harmonica Gang. I approached them for an audition and the manager was very impressed with my playing so I finished going on tour with them for 10 yrs. At one time we were guests of “Hohner’s visiting their factory and they treated us like kings. I would love to take that visit again in the future. I am now 87 and still entertaining for many senior organizations and retirement homes. As regards my old buddies who played with the group they have unfortunately passed away. I have a DVD of the act from a movie we were in and I often run it on my computor remembering how these guys were happy go lucky in the good old days.

    Reply

    • colin gee

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      my father was the les crossley -actually called lesley grossberg

      Reply

  • Richard Cheong

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    Hi…

    Thanks for the suggestion on relax lips approach to playing!

    Aloha and Mahalo!

    Reply

  • George Webb

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    I can find no information regarding a double sided tremulo orchestral harmonica made by Odeon; probably about 1949.

    Reply

  • Street Player Dude

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    INRE: WHO IS THE BEST HARMONICA MANUFACTURER IN THE WORLD?

    There is no “BEST” — There just is!

    With so many makers/models of harps worldwide, who would choose the best? With no consumer reports-like companies for something that is considered individual and personal by each and every player not general and/or specific enough — and if there were, who then would decide which harmonica manufacturer is the best?

    I know which harps I like and are the best for me for what I do; hopefully you will do the same as well. But overall, there is and never will be a definitive “Best” anywhere!

    Hope this helps!

    “Have Harp, Will Travel!” :)

    Reply

  • RANDY

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    DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT TYPE AND BRAND,”CHARLEY McCOY” PLAYS.

    Reply

  • JAMES ROGERS

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    Nice comments! Mr.Samuels, what is the name of the movie? I would love to find a copy! Jim

    Reply

  • Haryanto Harp

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    This is a good forum to get valuable informations about harmonica.

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      Thanks Haryanto. jp

      Reply

  • Haryanto Harp

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    Charlie McCoy plays Hohner Vintage with special tunning.

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      Good info. Thanks Haryanto….jp

      Reply

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