Purchasing

I am not fortunate to live near enough to a harmonica specialist retailer so I have to shop online for my harmonicas. Fortunately, there are lost of choices of online shops both here in the UK and abroad. If you are an NHL member, many of them will give you a discount and the bigger ones advertise in the NHL's bi-monthly magazine the Harmonica World.

For people like myself, unable to visit a retailer, there is an annual chance to visit one.  Go to the NHL's annual festival in Bristol the last full weekend in October, 23rd to 25th this year, 2009.  There is always a harmonica retailer showing their wares in the flesh and a maufacturer, Seydel, have exhibited there for the last two years. Lots on invaluable advice is available as well as the chance to look before you buy!

UK Retailers

Harmonicas Direct

Harmonicas Direct are one of the best known online retailers and they have a large range and competitive pricing, offering discounts to NHL members.

Eagle Music

Eagle Music, incorporating Norman Ives Harmonicas are another big harmonica online retailer, although they also sell other instruments.

Honkin' Harmonica Shop

Honkin' Harmonica Shop, an up and coming new shop catering mainly for diatonic harmonicas. The shop has many unique and interesting musical products, including personalised engraved harmonicas and vintage harp mics.

Hobgoblin Music

Hobgoblin Music are the well known traditional music site, which although not specifically for harmonica, has a good range of harmonicas and sheet music.

the Music Room

The Music Room Britain's centre of excellence for traditional musical instruments includes harmonicas in its range.  It operates the Arts Council initiative "Take it away" is a scheme designed to help more people get involved in learning and playing music.  The scheme allows individuals to apply for a loan of up to £2,000 for the purchase of any kind of musical instrument, and pay it back in nine monthly instalments, completely interest free.  Take it away is open to everyone (over the age of 18), but is primarily designed to help those who might otherwise be unable to afford an instrument appropriate for their needs.

eBay

There are often good deals to be had on eBay but the old adage "buyer beware" applies.  There are often new harmonicas sold by eBay retailers as well as that rare harmonica that you are looking for from a private seller.

In the case of second hand instruments there is am element of chance as there are some real turkeys on sale.  But to minimise the risk, you should take the seller's feedback into account - this should be close to 100% and the item description will then probably be accurate.  Do not forget that used harmonicas are just that, someone else has breathed into it so for hygiene reasons it will need disinfecting, if not done by the seller.

Rest of World Retailers

The exchange rate against the Euro or Dollar is not as favourable as recently but you can get good deals worldwide.  Watch out for tax when buying from the states, sometimes the customs ask you to pay tax and sometimes not.  I think that it must be to do with the way the items are labelled.  Although this has never been an issue for me, you should take into account the cost of returning faulty goods, however the cost and speed of postage is much better these days.

Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast is the premier online retailer in the United States.  As well as containing a wealth of harmonica related infromational material, its owners run the harmonica internet chat group "Harp Talk".  Post and packaging costs can be higher than others but use a more secure postage provider.

Harp Depot

Harp Depot is probably the most competitive online retailer for pricing but have just increased their post and packaging costs to the rest of the world as they now use UPS.  However, I am currently waiting to take delivery from them of my latest harmonica, a Suzuki Chromatix SCX56 14-hole chromatic harmonica.  This is the best possible price I could find for this harmonica, even taking exchange rate and possible duty into consideration.  I have bought previously from Harp Depot a few years ago and was very satisfied then.

Thomann UK Cyberstore

If you wish to take advantage of the strength of the against the mention Thomann UK Cyberstore offers very competitive prices.

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