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What Are The 2 Most Handy Harmonica Keys To Have

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Wailin' Tele, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Wailin' Tele

    Wailin' Tele Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Saw an act last weekend where the guy was using one of those harmonica neck holders while playing guitar, now I want to be just like him.

    So suggest some handy keys to own and a respectable neck holder, and for the more daring post vids of yourself (or others) performing.

    I'm guessing A and E must be the ticket but as my wife often tells me 'you dont know ****.'
     
  2. Monster Mike Welch

    Monster Mike Welch Tele-Meister

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    I'd say C and A - between those two, you can get C major, G blues, D minor, A major, E blues, and B minor.
     
  3. hollowman

    hollowman Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    the two most important keys for you would be the keys to the handcuffs to keep you from puttting one to your lips:lol:
     
  4. sacizob

    sacizob Friend of Leo's

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    Are you playing straight harp or cross harp?
     
  5. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    Get Three. A,C & D. D will also give you D major,A blues and E minor.
     
  6. AlanC

    AlanC Tele-Meister

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    Since Your not using it to play blues solos I take it, but to play the 'parts' that are in those singer-songwriter type tunes- it seems most of the songs ( depending on what covers you are doing) would utilize g major and c major. Ie-- neil young.
    In otehr words.. pick the songs you want to use it on.. then go get the harmonica in that key.. ( the key used for that song--
     
  7. Skub

    Skub Poster Extraordinaire

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    Works for me too.
     
  8. Steveareno

    Steveareno Tele-Afflicted

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    As others mention. It's important to get the Cross Harp keys figured out. If you are playing in E you need an A harp. Playing in G you need a C harp, etc. It's always the 4th of whatever key the song's in. The root note is draw #2. There are other positions but this is the most popular and commonly used. When you hear someone playing bad off key harp, they're usually trying to play a harp in whatever key the song's in (C for C, etc). Recently saw an old movie on TV of David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust period ruining the song with his harp solo. Playing straight harp works for country tunes or ballads in major keys, but not for blues, rock or anything funky.....and please don't OVERPLAY...the 2nd most common offense committed by over enthusiastic harp players. Getting a good sound using a rack is difficult, as you can't cup the harp with your hands to focus the tone. A Green Bullet or Astatic mic into a small tube amp with the treble backed off helps for a Chicago style tone. Just reach over, pick up the harp and belt out 12 bars.
    Swang on,
     
  9. Wailin' Tele

    Wailin' Tele Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Ouch!:eek::p
     
  10. Wailin' Tele

    Wailin' Tele Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    HUH!??
     
  11. Wailin' Tele

    Wailin' Tele Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Cool, makes sense, I never considered that. It sounds like you play a little, got any vids you want to share?
     
  12. jaimed

    jaimed Poster Extraordinaire

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  13. grinchmonkey

    grinchmonkey Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I'm not a harp player, but I understand the crossharp correlations. What I don't understand is why a D harp would give you E minor. Can you explain that part? I would have thought B minor if anything, but again, I'm not a harp player.
     
  14. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    The keys to the Harp's players carry case. Or his car.:lol:
     
  15. Open G Tele

    Open G Tele Tele-Meister

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    Only two?

    C and A... it gives you a lot of versatility in the keys of C, A, G, and E.

    Adding that D harp really opens up the possibilities.

    Musicians Friend regularly runs 3-pack specials.
     
  16. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lets use a C harmonica for ease of explanation. A D minor scale contains the notes D E F G A Bb C D

    An ordinary 10 hole Diatonic harp in C only contains the notes of a C major scale ie C D E F G A B C . Note only the Bb is missing from the D minor scale .

    More importantly in a harmonica the notes are arranged as 2 notes per hole (1 Blow 1 Draw) so in a C harp you get a string of blow notes grouped as CEG (a C major Chord) and a string of draw notes grouped together DFA (Dm Chord). So you can draw a D minor chord on a Cmaj harp. Transpose the same principle through all keys.
     
  17. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    My friend, you should want to be just like me: go out and get a bandolier:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Bolide

    Bolide Friend of Leo's

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    The gag where a courier carries the harps on stage in a briefcase handcuffed to his arm in The Blues Brothers routine is possibly the last time I used "Cool" and "Dan Ackroyd" in the same sentence.
     
  19. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    For examples, straight harp would be heard in Willie Nelson tunes, generally. Cross harp would be blues - Little Walter, James Cotton, Charlie Musslewhite.

    That guy in Blues Traveler plays push harp - when they come on the radio the button for another station is pushed...his playing makes me queasy.
     
  20. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    No . Mickey Raphael plays mainly in 2nd position or cross harp.
     
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