By: Medith Goingco
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’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 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 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.