[Harp-L] Minor Keyed Harps and the Blues

Bob Marsolais bob@xxxxx
Sat Apr 21 12:36:11 EDT 2018

		I pulled out my copy of Winslow Yerxa’s “BLUES Harmonica for Dummies”.  Part 4, especially chapter 14, has a ton of good information about second and especially third positions.  Excellent book.  It’s now obvious that whoever made that comment on the notation chart was not quite up to speed.

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On Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 6:09 PM -0700, "Rick Dempster" <rickdempster33 at xxxxx> wrote:

But is third position necessarily minor? The fundamental feature of the ninety-odd percent of blues, is the flattened thirdplayed over a chord with the major third in it. If you are playing in third, and the accompanying instruments are playing the root chord as a minor,then yes, you are in a minor key. But if they are hitting a major chord, then that draw 5 note is just a blue third.You can choose a minor or major third in draw 2, of course.RD
On 21 April 2018 at 04:44, Dennis Michael Montgomery via Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx> wrote:
It's true most blues on a harp are played in second position, but this doesn't necessarily mean the songs are in minor keys. As example: a harmonica in the key of C Major played in second position will in most cases will put you in the key of G Major. If my memory serves correctly playing in the key of D Minor on a C Major harmonica will put you in Third Position. As a rule most blues harmonica players prefer minor keys in third position. This doesn't mean you can't play blues on a minor tuned harp in first position, but it may not give you the sound you're looking for.

Minor tuned harps can be fun and may give you more variety in songs to play, however if you want to play blues put your focus on the standard diatonic harmonica.


    On Friday, April 20, 2018, 10:35:31 AM MST, Bob Marsolais <bob at xxxxx> wrote:  

 I read on a manufacturer's key chart that most minor key harps, for example

a B flat minor harp , are played in the first position.  I like the blues

and am just learning to play, but have read that the second position is

preferred for the blues.

Any thoughts?

Bob M

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