How to choose your blues harmonica key | Easyharp Tips

blues harmonica lessons


Hello blues harmonica friends, today I’m trying to give you some basic tips about diatonic harmonica different keys and I hope this can help you choosing your favourite blues harp set.

You can find blues harmonicas in all keys, low tuned, major tuned, minor tuned, so you have a lot of choices. Basically I suggest you to start in this way.

- Start from a C diatonic major tuned harmonica (standard 10 holes Richter tuned), it’s a medium key, not too high, not low, a good starting point to practice playing blues with harmonica.

- Add other harmonicas in different keys as soon as possible, so to play in different keys. In a basic set you need these keys: C, A, D, F, G, Bb. F is the highest key, G is the lowest. You can choose also other keys depending on the key of the song you need to play. Remember that you’ll play a lot in cross harp, i.e. second position, so in a key that is a fifth above your harmonica key.

- Each harmonica key will be your favourite choice depending on different playing styles: for example your A or Bb harp (medium low keys) will be your favourite choice to play boogie (like Walter Horton’s boogie), while an F harp (high key) will give more ability to play a fast swing.

- Try some low tuned keys: Low C is a good choice, especially if you like Sonny Boy Williamson II solo tunes. Use these low tuned harps to play nice chords accompaniments, especially in the first holes.

- If you like to play straight harp, i.e. first position harmonica (like some Jimmy Reed songs), probably will be better to choose a medium low tuned harp, A or G will work great, so will be easier to bend high blow holes.

- Before trying minor tuned harmonicas, try to study some third position blues harmonica.

Minor tuned harmonicas are very nice and you’ll be able to play nice minor chords accompaniments and minor melodies. Try them if you like Balkan and Eastern music: you’ll have a lot of fun experimenting with Harmonic Minor tuned harps

In one of the next articles I’ll try to give more information about harmonica materials and spare parts. For Now I wish you a lot of fun practicing with different harmonica keys :)



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