Re: First Harp

> I have a friend that wants to start learning harp.  He loves blues and
> his birthday is coming up.  I want to get him a harp but I'm wondering
> what key to get.  I know this is kind of a broad question but can anyone
> suggest what ONE key would be most useful to start.

I'd suggest the key of C.  Many study courses use this key.

A lot of blues is played in the key of E, which uses an A harp (for 
second position.)  But it will probably be a while before your friend 
will want to venture into this.  Besides, a C harp is good for second 
position in the key of G, and there are plenty of blues played in that 

> Also, I was figuring on a Golden Melody but, if anyone has some
> serious other suggestions I am open to them.

Personally, I think the Golden Melody is a good selection.  It has one of 
the better tones, and the shape is perfect for hand cupping.  Looks cool, 
too, especially if you're into 1950's kitchen appliances :-)

The one shortcoming of the Golden Melody for beginners is it's
even-tempered tuning.  It is designed primarily for single note playing,
although it still works quie well for chords.  Other harps are tuned more
for chords on the lower registers.  The chords on a GM will sound a little
"ragged", because perfect chords don't line up with perfectly
even-tempered notes.  In fact, up until the last couple hundred years,
instruments were tuned differently to play in different keys (just 

Most of Hohners diatonic harmonicas are just tempered.  The Golden Melody
is the lone diatonic exception. 

But for a first harmonica, you probably don't need to be concerned about 
this, especially if your friend is not a musician and doesn't have 
"perfect pitch".

 --  mike curtis

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