Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

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Sweetfinger
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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by Sweetfinger » Sat Feb 24, 2024 10:16 pm

SuperAxe wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2024 3:31 pm
Sweetfinger wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:28 pm
F# country tuned is an oddball harp. I could ask the next 20 pro harp players I see if they have one and I'd bet none would and most wouldn't even be carrying a standard tuned F#. In your video, you're playing "straight harp", in the key printed on the harmonica. It's Bob Dylan-ish. For the majority of blues, rock, and country, you need to play in "cross-harp", in the key a fourth up from what is labeled on the harp. Try that same sort of chord progression, only in the key of B (in your case, as if you are in C). Your tonic note will be draw on hole 2.
You confuse me here.... I thought if he wants to play the F# harp as a cross harp, the key he needs to play guitar is the 4th down (not up) which makes it C#
Um... that is correct. I thought about it way too hard. I will edit....

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:51 am

SuperAxe wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2024 3:31 pm
Sweetfinger wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:28 pm
F# country tuned is an oddball harp. I could ask the next 20 pro harp players I see if they have one and I'd bet none would and most wouldn't even be carrying a standard tuned F#. In your video, you're playing "straight harp", in the key printed on the harmonica. It's Bob Dylan-ish. For the majority of blues, rock, and country, you need to play in "cross-harp", in the key a fourth up from what is labeled on the harp. Try that same sort of chord progression, only in the key of B (in your case, as if you are in C). Your tonic note will be draw on hole 2.
You confuse me here.... I thought if he wants to play the F# harp as a cross harp, the key he needs to play guitar is the 4th down (not up) which makes it C#
Nope, it's a fourth above i.e. B.

Aside for Johnny who professes to not know much in the way of music theory - a fourth is the interval between most guitar strings, so the cross harp to use for a song in E major is A, A is D, D is G, etc. etc. Also for playing the blues, once you've figured out which harp you need for the key you're playing, you're likely to start on a suck rather than a blow. The rest is just feeling your way around, guided by your musical ear.


Edit: I just reread SuperAxe's post and realised I was at cross-purposes with him. In the interest of clarity, SuperAxe is indeed correct in stating that an accompaniment in C#major would be appropriate for an F# harmonica playing cross-harp.

I guess my misreading was apparent from the examples I gave above, but just wanted to clarify for future readers of this thread looking for beginners' tips on harmonica playing.
Last edited by UlricvonCatalyst on Mon Feb 26, 2024 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by JSett » Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:54 am

UlricvonCatalyst wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:51 am
SuperAxe wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2024 3:31 pm
Sweetfinger wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:28 pm
F# country tuned is an oddball harp. I could ask the next 20 pro harp players I see if they have one and I'd bet none would and most wouldn't even be carrying a standard tuned F#. In your video, you're playing "straight harp", in the key printed on the harmonica. It's Bob Dylan-ish. For the majority of blues, rock, and country, you need to play in "cross-harp", in the key a fourth up from what is labeled on the harp. Try that same sort of chord progression, only in the key of B (in your case, as if you are in C). Your tonic note will be draw on hole 2.
You confuse me here.... I thought if he wants to play the F# harp as a cross harp, the key he needs to play guitar is the 4th down (not up) which makes it C#
Nope, it's a fourth above i.e. B.

Aside for Johnny who professes to not know much in the way of music theory - a fourth is the interval between most guitar strings, so the cross harp to use for a song in E major is A, A is D, D is G, etc. etc. Also for playing the blues, once you've figured out which harp you need for the key you're playing, you're likely to start on a suck rather than a blow. The rest is just feeling your way around, guided by your musical ear.
I know my 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc by counting :D :D

What neck harness do you use? I looked and there is a LOT of options
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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by sal paradise » Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:57 am

UlricvonCatalyst wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:51 am
SuperAxe wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2024 3:31 pm
Sweetfinger wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:28 pm
F# country tuned is an oddball harp. I could ask the next 20 pro harp players I see if they have one and I'd bet none would and most wouldn't even be carrying a standard tuned F#. In your video, you're playing "straight harp", in the key printed on the harmonica. It's Bob Dylan-ish. For the majority of blues, rock, and country, you need to play in "cross-harp", in the key a fourth up from what is labeled on the harp. Try that same sort of chord progression, only in the key of B (in your case, as if you are in C). Your tonic note will be draw on hole 2.
You confuse me here.... I thought if he wants to play the F# harp as a cross harp, the key he needs to play guitar is the 4th down (not up) which makes it C#
Nope, it's a fourth above i.e. B.

Aside for Johnny who professes to not know much in the way of music theory - a fourth is the interval between most guitar strings, so the cross harp to use for a song in E major is A, A is D, D is G, etc. etc. Also for playing the blues, once you've figured out which harp you need for the key you're playing, you're likely to start on a suck rather than a blow. The rest is just feeling your way around, guided by your musical ear.
Johnny plays half a step down, so that song was in B…?
I have nothing to offer anybody, except my own confusion?

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by JSett » Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:00 am

sal paradise wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:57 am
Johnny plays half a step down, so that song was in B…?
It was in F#, so a B would be the 4th, standard tuning would be Guitar G, harp C

I think
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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by sal paradise » Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:03 am

JSett wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:00 am
sal paradise wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:57 am
Johnny plays half a step down, so that song was in B…?
It was in F#, so a B would be the 4th, standard tuning would be Guitar G, harp C

I think
Yep. I’m not sure the original commenters realised you were playing in B on the guitar already.

It’s times like this, my trusty cheat sheet poster comes in handy ;D

Image
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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:08 am

Johnny - I just bought the one they had (out of JAS instruments on Chalk Farm Rd. as I was in London at the time). It was under £20, but it does the job fine. It has 'Made in Germany' engraved on it, so it could be a Hohner one.

I watched a friend trying to use one at a gig one time and, just as it came time for the harmonica break, the part that holds the harmonica began to slowly descend to the 'hopelessly out of reach' position. So....mine has a wing-nut for tightening it up; maybe avoid anything that doesn't.

Sal - I thought he said he tuned down a semi-tone. So a G major becomes F#, same as the harmonica he was using.

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by JSett » Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:17 am

UlricvonCatalyst wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:08 am
Good to know. I was going to try one of these...

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:47 am

^ Yep, looks like it'll do the job.

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by Nudger » Sun Feb 25, 2024 8:33 am

Heres matched keys for blues
Image

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by JSett » Sun Feb 25, 2024 8:35 am

Nudger wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 8:33 am
Heres matched keys for blues
Image
Handy, but whhhhyyyy didn't you write them in alphabetical order? :D :D that is the stuff of psychos
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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by Nudger » Sun Feb 25, 2024 8:40 am

Wrote it many moons before picking up a guitar, had no concept of keys, scales etc

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by Sweetfinger » Sun Feb 25, 2024 4:01 pm

Nudger wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 8:33 am
Heres matched keys for blues
Image
For playing in C, I prefer a low tuned F. Serving suggestion:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdUwbDts6gU

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by Nudger » Mon Feb 26, 2024 2:17 am

Nice clip!
Lets keep it simple for the nube..
https://youtu.be/5_g1Ot-QOtQ

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Re: Who plays the Harmonica / Harp?

Post by Sweetfinger » Tue Feb 27, 2024 12:55 pm

Nudger wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2024 2:17 am
Nice clip!
Lets keep it simple for the nube..
https://youtu.be/5_g1Ot-QOtQ
That Henderson tune is actually quite basic as far as blues harp playing goes. If Popeye or Pop Goes The Weasel, Three Blind Mice, or whatever turns you on, great. I would have almost zero need for learning or playing stuff like that, and what I would learn from those wouldn't translate to modern pop, rock, country, or blues. I would put more effort into simple things I'm likely to use or lead into the type of things I might use, like this very simple part one could just fish around and find:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aowSGxim_O8
I didn't check but I think this is 3rd position, probably playing a G harp? I know it isn't a D. I learned it to sit in with a friend's cover band about 20 years ago.

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