[Harp-L] What key is the band in?

philharpn@xxxxx philharpn@xxxxx
Wed Nov 2 03:29:43 EDT 2016

One way is to learn the grips for cowboy chords and bar chords for the guitar.  Buy a cheap guitar chord book or check the internet. Then get a Circle of Fifths chart. You need a circle of fifths chard to identify the three chords that go with each key.  That's because key charts/books list the chord alphabetically. 

Cowboy chords are open string chords that everybody knows. Bar chords are cowboy chords with the first finger extended across all the strings like a capo.

For example, a blues in G uses the G chord at the I (one chord), the C chord at the IV f(4 chord) and the D at the V (5 chord). Look at your Circle of Fifths chart to tell you the three chords in any blues. Look at the G on your Circle of Fifths. To the left is the C (I) on the right side is the D (V). 

You don't need to learn to play the guitar, but it might help. Just recognize the shapes or grips. 

Sure, this is more complicated that simply asking somebody but it is a way to get the key.

Also keep in mind that we're only talking about learning about a dozen shapes -- not hundreds.

Plus, you never can tell. Some day you might play guitar and rack harp.

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Schmitt <mike at xxxxx>
To: harp-l <harp-l at xxxxx>
Sent: Tue, Nov 1, 2016 9:46 pm
Subject: [Harp-L] What key is the band in?

Are there any tips to figure out what key the guitar player is in? It seems
like who ever starts the song does not share it and by the time I ask the
song has already started. Maybe it's just an experience thing? 


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