Re: [Harp-L] Keys you need

Ok.  You have at least on A, G, and C.  The very next thing to buy is a D,
absolutely.  That gives you full or nearly full coverage in the first four
positions for the keys of A/Am, G, D/Dm, and E/Em, with an ability to play
in C, as well.  You can do a lot of damage in country and blues with these
four harmonicas.

I would not worry too much about my D not lasting long, either.  If you
have never had one, you have no idea how long it will last.  My D's last me
a long time and get a lot of use.  You will have to try it and find out if
it will last or not.

Country music tends to stay in the keys of G, A, C, D, and E, with an
occasional F or Bb.  (It sometimes depends on what region you are in as to
the keys beyond the first 5.)  The main reason for the first four keys is
the instruments and men's voices.  (If the voices available sing in other
keys, then you will need to get harmonicas to suit.)  However, men love to
sing country in E, too, especially if they do any Merle Travis picking.  In
Texas, fiddlers enjoy the challenges and opportunities in F, and
occasionally Bb; and if any bluegrass sneaks in, you might as well add B to
the list of keys for songs.

So, the next harmonica I would choose is an F (possibly a low F, if
microphones are involved).  This is mainly because Winslow said that F
works well for blues, too.  Country fiddlers (especially those in
Texas) love to play "Beaumont Rag" in the key of F, and sometimes
"Panhandle Rag".  Singers will even capo up one to sing in F, because E was
lower than they wanted.  One thing about it, an F would cover the keys of
F, C, Gm, and Dm, so it backs the other harmonicas up well and offers a
wide range of choices, even if a reed goes bad during the session.

The last harmonica is going to be a matter of preference.  E would be my
choice, but Bb is good, too.  I would choose E because a lot of country
music gets played in E and only some of it will work well in 2nd position
(crossharp).  Some of it will sound better and be easier to play in 1st
position (straightharp).  Having both an A and E will allow you to choose
which position you want to play.

However, a Bb may be a good choice if you are playing more blues than
country, for the reasons stated by Winslow.

As for "Orange Blossom Special", if you are playing with other string
musicians, especially a fiddler (since it was designed for the fiddle), you
will get no use out of an F or Bb.  Fiddlers play the tune in the keys of E
and A.  Only Charlie McCoy played it in those other keys.  (When you are
the star, you get to choose the keys.)  So, unless it is a harmonica
showpiece, rather than a fiddle showpiece, you will need your A harmonica,
and possibly your D, if you don't wish to play both keys on the same
harmonica.  Generally speaking, I get by right nicely on an A harmonica.

So, my suggestion would be to purchase a D, F, and E (or Bb, if you are
expecting to play more blues than country).


On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 1:44 PM, Tony Stephens <tnysteph@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> If you could buy 3 harps what 3 keys would you want to have. Prices are
> going up at Bushman. I have a C by them. I have a A & G by Lee Oskar and a
> C special 20. So my question is which 2 keys by Bushman for playing country
> and blues?
> Sent from my iPhone

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