Re: [Harp-L] Re: that darn E harp
I agree with the sentiment about Odd Keys. To my way of thinking the only odd
keys are J flat and Z sharp.
All seriousness aside, folks ALL diatonics are the same layout. If you can
play a tune or riff in 7th position on a C harp, you can play it on an Eb or Ab.
And as far as sticking to so-called "guitar-friendly keys" -- any
self-respecting guitar player can play any flat key by using moveable chords up a fret or
down a fret. And threre are a lot of moveable chords that are not barre
The other thing is that the timbre of different keys may lend itself to
different songs. In other words, try "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl" or the
"Longsome Dog Blues" are several "odd" harps just to hear how it sounds. You may
find that the key of Ab grabs your ear.
To take full advantage of all 12 harps in a set -- one for each key, it helps
to know the layout of each harp and the notes you want to play.
The easiest way to do this is take advantage of The complete 10-hole Diatonic
Harmonica Series by James Major published by Mel Bay.
There is a book for each key. They are really inexpensive $7.95 each (on my
Finally. The other reason to play your "odd" key harps -- those you don't
usually reach for, even if only in 2nd position -- is to wear them out. You
already paid for them. Use them to practice on. So when you wear out a reed, it's
on the Ab harp or Jb harp you only use for jazz tunes.
In a message dated 6/6/07 4:11:33 AM, jonathan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> I don't understand this gnashing of teeth over "odd keys". If you get a
> chance to call out a song at a jam or even with your band, try using one of
> these keys. When I played with New Blood back in August, I called out "When
> the Saints Go Marching In" and "Amazing Grace" in the key of B so I could
> use my self-customized E harp. They were played as instrumentals, so vocal
> ranges were no issue.
> If you sing as well as play harp, or if you have a versatile singer,
> experiment at home or during rehearsals with some of these keys. I don't
> buy this idea that blues music always has to be in G or A or whatever. It
> can be in whatever key you want to play it in, provided the singer can
> handle that, and a good singer should be able to cover a wide range of keys.
> Jonathan Metts
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