playing in tune with street musicians - was Re: Little Lanelei, was Danelectro Spring King Reverb

- ---- Original Message -----
From: "mark wilson" <markwilson53@xxxxxxx>

>  On a little boardwalk area on
> the beach there were a couple of guys singing and playing guitars.  One
> acoustic and another playing electric through a small Pignose.  I asked if
> could join in and as usual there were very cool about it and brought me
> right in.  I pulled out my harps and tried to jump in but for some reason
> could not figure out what key they were in.  They told me they were in E
> I tried my A harp first which didn't work. Then I went through all the
> I had with me, A,Bb,C,D,F,G, and none of them sounded right.  I thought no
> problem, I'll try the next song.  Problem was the exact thing happened
> and again.  I could not get in tune with these guys no matter what and had
> to eventually put my harps away and listen in.
> Now I'm trying to figure out why it happened as I don't want to go through
> that again if I can help it.

Chances are they weren't tuned to concert pitch. Street musicians often
don't have tuners, so they just tune the guitar relative to itself. Most
likely one guy was already tuned flat and the other one just tuned to him. A
lot of times, acoustic players will tune down to Eb or even D.

Two suggestions. One, get an Ab harp. Many guitar players intentionally tune
to Eb - especially Stevie Ray wannabees.

Two, if they are "in E" and neither the A nor Ab harps seem to work, make
them tune to you. Hit your 2 draw (or 3 blow) on your A harp, and tell the
guitar players to tune their E strings to that note.

Hope this helps.

Alec Drachman

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