Buy a harmonium, not a headache

 October 1, 2018

The only thing more amazing than chanting, is leading a chant. Whether you want to start a home practice, add Kirtan to yoga classes, or lead a band in your community, you will need a great harmonium.

The Harmonium is an Incredibly User Friendly Instrument

  1. The harmonium is one of the few instruments that sounds great from day one! You don’t have to endure endless hours of squeaking and squawking like a beginning clarinetist or violinist.
  2. You can purchase a harmonium that is highly portable. This means you don’t have to lug around heavy gear as you would with a drum set, string bass or tuba!
  3. The harmonium is the perfect instrument for chanting as it creates a beautiful sound that is like having a choir singing back at you!

Junker Harmoniums Will Give You a Headache!

Unfortunately, not all harmoniums are created equal. There are many “junker” harmoniums on the market! Trying to chant on a bad/broken harmonium is like trying to ride a bike with two flat tires – so frustrating! If you have a “junker” you will unfortunately spend so much time, energy and attention fighting the instrument that it will be challenging to learn, and difficult to enjoy your chanting practice.

Let’s avoid that. My intention is to help you get a great harmonium so you can easily dive into this amazing practice. Years of experience with harmoniums have taught me the following lessons.

Four Mistakes To Avoid When Purchasing a Harmonium

  1. Never buy a harmonium direct from India. Your instrument will unfortunately be low quality and in need of repair and tuning. Click HERE for a video that demonstrates the downside of buying direct from India.
  2. Never buy a used instrument. Your instrument will likely be in need of significant repairs and tuning, and quite possibly will be a “junker!”
  3. Never buy an instrument that is not portable, i.e., too big to fit in an airplane overhead or too heavy to lug around. Unless your harmonium is going to have a permanent home you will want to have something that is easy to transport around town.
  4. Never buy an instrument that is too small. A really good harmonium will sustain a 2-note chord for 6-9 seconds. Anything smaller than a Bhava Mini will likely have significantly diminished volume and sustain.
Our recommended harmonium distributor is Old Delhi Music. Interested students can
email [email protected] to learn about exclusive offers and discounts available
to anyone enrolling in Kirtan Leader Institute coaching and training programs.
Old Delhi Music in a North American shop offering unique handcrafted Indian instruments that begin in the hands of India’s best builders and end with careful, meticulous refinement at their location Urbana, IL. When it comes to harmoniums, they are the best in the business. They know their builders personally and their products even more intimately. Their Bhava harmoniums are my favorite. They are without question the highest quality, and most consistently great Kirtan harmoniums I have ever played. The extra care Old Delhi puts into carefully sourcing and refining each instrument is obvious. This ensures that what you get from them will not be something you struggle against, but rather, an instrument you can enjoy now and for years to come.

Three Keys to Purchasing a Great Harmonium

  1. Buy a brand new instrument through a reputable dealer who will make sure the instrument is in tip-top shape prior to shipping it to you and will guarantee their work.
  2. Get one that is sized to fit your needs.
  3. Make sure your harmonium is tuned to A-440 so you can play with other musicians.

The Goldilocks Harmonium

My favorite instrument is the bestselling Bhava Mini. I play a Bhava Mini on the road and in the recording studio and strongly recommend you consider purchasing one.

The Bhava Mini looks great, is the perfect size for yoga teachers on the go and has an surprisingly big/rich sound and long sustain for such a small instrument. At just 17 pounds the Bhava Mini is highly portable and easily fits into an airplane overhead. For most people this instrument is “just right.”

Who Uses a Bhava Mini?

I play a Bhava Mini, as do most of my students and lots of touring/recording Kirtan musicians. The Mini is so high quality my Kirtan music producer Ben Leinbach (Jai Uttal, Deva Premal, etc.) keeps one in his recording studio.

Tips for Ordering the Right Instrument

  1. I suggest you choose to have your instrument tuned to A-440 (highly recommended!).
  2. You can get your harmonium in a Brown (regular), Expresso or Red finish.
  3. If you want a premium option, go for the Bhava TravelPro. This instrument is basically a streamlined Bhava Mini made out of teak wood with a user-friendly design that makes it super easy to collapse and set up.
  4. Know that all Old Delhi Music instruments come with free shipping within the continental US.

Get Yourself a Great Harmonium!

A great harmonium sounds fantastic the moment you take it out of the box. A great harmonium will facilitate your learning and offer years or decades of enjoyment. If for some reason you decide to sell your instrument, a great harmonium will retain its value.

I hope this guide helps you purchase a top-notch harmonium that supports you in bringing Kirtan into your home and sharing the exquisite practice of sacred chant with others.

Our recommended harmonium distributor is Old Delhi Music. Interested students can
email [email protected] to learn about exclusive offers and discounts available
to anyone enrolling in Kirtan Leader Institute coaching and training programs.
Old Delhi Music in a North American shop offering unique handcrafted Indian instruments that begin in the hands of India’s best builders and end with careful, meticulous refinement at their location Urbana, IL. When it comes to harmoniums, they are the best in the business. They know their builders personally and their products even more intimately. Their Bhava harmoniums are my favorite. They are without question the highest quality, and most consistently great Kirtan harmoniums I have ever played. The extra care Old Delhi puts into carefully sourcing and refining each instrument is obvious. This ensures that what you get from them will not be something you struggle against, but rather, an instrument you can enjoy now and for years to come.

Want to Learn More?

Check out the Ultimate Harmonium Buying Guide: What’s Right For You. This guide, created by Old Delhi Music Founder Nic Dillon, shares everything you need to know about:

  1. Harmonium Styles
  2. Harmonium Sizes
  3. Harmonium Shapes
  4. Harmonium Bellows
  5. Harmonium Knobs and Levers
  6. Shipping options

If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to the good folks at Old Delhi Music. They are kind, decent and caring folks and will be happy to answer all of your questions.

6 comments

  1. |

    Hi Mike,
    We are looking for a harmonium tuned to 432.
    Scooter and I are working on having a practice that includes kirtan and want to have all instrument tuned to 432
    Is this possible?
    He can answer the instrument questions better. [email protected]
    We’re looking to buy one and get in the lessons with you in November or Dec!!!
    Thanks,
    Michele

  2. Vikas Arora
    |

    I fully agree with Cohen( do not buy a headache ) and I wish I had listened to him one year ago. over one year purchased 5 ( 13 or 9 scale changer )harmoniums directly from India , all from top quality manufacturers[ even one claiming 200 year old burma teak wood] but at the end , when I receive harmonium , one has to put a lot of energy and time into just fixing normal things and things like tone cannot be fixed once you receive it. Nic ( from old delhi ) has helped me a couple of times without any expectation in return and he was surprised to see so poor sustain or poor tonal quality of these so called top harmonium manufacturers. I wasted first 6 months in fixing my harmoniums instead of learning them. I was better off[ and cheaper] ordering one single very basic harmonium from old delhi music instead of so called so many scale changers with so many problems at every steps of way. Rule of thumb- it takes 4-5 hours for a seasoned professional to fix harmoniums shipped from India as standards ( of tuning and all fit and fine) in India are very low as compared to other places. If you are not expert in fixing harmoniums , you may spend 40 -50 hours on fine adjusting each harmonium( as a lot of time goes to research) . After sames Support from Indian manufacturers is almost non existent and totally useless and they tend to blame everything on shipping firm. I got so tired of harmoniums that I literally shifted to roland high end keyboards ( and put harmonium tone sample there) so that I do not waster energy on doing small adjustment on harmoniums. first 6 months, I learned more harmonium fixing then learning kritan
    Vikas
    [email protected]

  3. |

    Hi, your recommendation is the Bhava Mininor the Bhava Studio Mini? Just to be sure. And are you aware of any distributors in Canada? I’m checking with Old Delhi Music about custom fees and taxes.
    Also interested in kirtan training courses (online?).
    Thank you, Shanti

    • |

      Shanti – yes, I recommend the Bhava Mini (which folds down and thus is very portable). The Bhava Studio Mini won’t fold down, so is fine if you can let it sit in one place. The Bhava line was created by Old Delhi Music, so they’re the only place you can get one. Would love to work with you at a distance via Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. I’ll shoot you an email with some addition info.

  4. Rosemary Dudley
    |

    How much is a Bhava mini…your recommendation…that is lightweight (i.e, portable)
    with great sound. Isn’t it best to buy from a local source in case of repairs, etc.?
    Thank you!

    Smriti Dudley

  5. |

    Great job for publishing such a nice article. Your article isn’t only useful but it is additionally really informative. Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. Really enjoyed this blog post.Really thank you! Really Great.

Leave a Comment to Michele

Click here to cancel reply

Leave a Reply to Michele Cancel reply