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View Full Version : Harmonica begginer key of C or G?



Jerwin
05-28-2015, 09:04 AM
Hello there,

I got a Hohner blues harph in G as a birthday present. I am totally new to harmonica. Been "studying" some ukulele for almost 2 years now. I am still most comfortable with the key of C.

99% of tutorials out there are made with harmonica in C.

What makes the difference in learning harmonica in the key of G?

I suppose I can follow up any key tutorial but I will just play in another key. Shall I return it and get the C one?

Opinions, please!

Hobo
05-28-2015, 11:07 AM
If you're playing alone it really doesn't matter which key of harmonica you have... it will sound fine. Most people start out with a C harp. What you have is referred to as a 'diatonic' harmonica. These are commonly used in blues, folk tunes etc. Most harp players have a several or more diatonic harmonicas to play in different keys and to play 'cross' harp, which is used to accompany a guitar or band: If they are in the key C you play the F harp, if they are in the key of G you play the the C harp (just move up 4 to get the right harp). The other type of harmonica is a chromatic that uses a slide to get sharps and flats, commonly used in Jazz or more complicated music (Stevie Wonder plays a chromatic). I'm no expert, but hope this helps.

4stringsinner
05-28-2015, 04:14 PM
The cool thing about a diatonic harmonica is everything you learn to play on say a C harmonica you can play on a G. I actually like to carry my G harp with me most of the time. I just like its tone more.

CeeJay
05-28-2015, 04:30 PM
The cool thing about a diatonic harmonica is everything you learn to play on say a C harmonica you can play on a G. I actually like to carry my G harp with me most of the time. I just like its tone more.

Stick with it and you will find that you will either "cross harp" so you can play tunes in G on the C harp ...you just find a way round f#...like don't play it ...A on an E or vice versa.....etc...OR like me you'll get a bag of about 7 harps in different keys....cos they are great ...play one play all......

PhilUSAFRet
06-04-2015, 02:15 AM
Gonna get HAS anyway (harp acquisition syndrome)

CeeJay
06-04-2015, 03:11 AM
Gonna get HAS anyway (harp acquisition syndrome)

You HAFTA get HAS to play in all the keys fluently LOL......


Seriously , keep the G get a C as well and see how you go ...you will always find time for a harmonica......

FiL
06-04-2015, 03:50 AM
I think I use my G harp more than any other, with my A harp a close second. Stick with the G. You will use it. (And if you already opened the package, they probably on't let you return it.)

Ambient Doughnut
06-04-2015, 04:03 AM
Probably worth getting a C just so that you can play along with the tutorials.

But when practising alone you can use either - everything you learnt will still sound good - it'll just be in a different key.

k0k0peli
06-04-2015, 04:15 AM
In my day bag ALWAYS are C and G harps, as well as a C tremolo and a chromatic (and a tinwhistle). I play those alone. Sitting in a jam, it's advisable to also have A and D harps at least. When down to a bare minimum, I carry the G harp and the C tremolo -- I love their tones. G harps typically have the lowest pitches, while E and F are the highest and squeakiest. (Dogs howl, etc.) Most harmonica tutorials specify a C harp; some use D. Hey, get a few harps -- they're lots cheaper than ukes. Usually. :cool:

strumsilly
06-04-2015, 05:09 AM
In my day bag ALWAYS are C and G harps, as well as a C tremolo and a chromatic (and a tinwhistle). I play those alone. Sitting in a jam, it's advisable to also have A and D harps at least. When down to a bare minimum, I carry the G harp and the C tremolo -- I love their tones. G harps typically have the lowest pitches, while E and F are the highest and squeakiest. (Dogs howl, etc.) Most harmonica tutorials specify a C harp; some use D. Hey, get a few harps -- they're lots cheaper than ukes. Usually. :cool:
not anymore, a decent Honer or Lee Oscar will set you back as much as an inexpensive uke. I remember when you could get a Honer blues harp for less than $10. but then Martin ukes were only $25.

keep the G, get a C, then a D, and an A.

Down Up Dick
06-04-2015, 06:00 AM
C is easiest to blow-bend, but I like the low tones of the G. A has a good tone (low) too. I have a bunch plus I've retuned some to minor or odd keys. Get a harp rack to hang around your neck and play along with your Uke. I have a Hohner.

Golden Melodies are my favorites, but one can't work on them. They're nailed together. I mostly play Hohner Special 20s. The Marine Bands tear up my lips. I never had much luck with Lee Oskars.

So, have fun with your G harp. Bookstores have lots of "how-to" books for them. Enjoy! :old:

k0k0peli
06-07-2015, 08:32 AM
not anymore, a decent Honer or Lee Oscar will set you back as much as an inexpensive uke. I remember when you could get a Honer blues harp for less than $10. but then Martin ukes were only $25. Cheap Hohner BluesBand harps and sets are still cheap on eBay, as are harps from Swan and Suzuki. (No, I didn't say they're great!) I've bought Lee Oscars for under US$30 and their modular reed plates for under US$20. Sure, a plastic WalMart uke costs less, but not much.

Ukeefus
06-12-2015, 03:27 AM
It's alot easier to learn popular stuff with a C because more songs seem to be in that key than any other one, next to that it might be A, at least for blues. I have 'em in all major keys plus some cross harps, tremelos, chromatic etc, but my first harmonica and my first musical instrument (I have quite an arsenal now) was a an older version of the Hohner Pro harp in G, (don't like the current Pro harp), reed blown now but that thing had a growl like no other harmonica under $100, and I learned alot of my chops on it before I ever got a 2nd one, like "Heart of Gold", then I got an A, goes with alot of John Lee Hooker stuff, then I got the C. I go straight up Hohner blues harp now, not everyone likes 'em or can get great sound out 'em but I do and can, at $25 each you can get most major keys and learn alot more.

strumsilly
06-12-2015, 05:06 AM
[QUOTE=Ukeefus, at $25 each you can get most major keys and learn alot more.[/QUOTE]
where can you get them for $25. the decent Honers [blues, special 20, mb] and Oscars tend to be around $40 .

Rllink
06-15-2015, 07:05 AM
My dad played the harmonica, and he had several. When he died, each of us kids took some of them, and I gave one to my daughter. I still have two, a Hohner Special 20/ Marine Band, and an Echo, both in the key of C. But the Marine Band looked like someone bit it. I mean, bit it hard, in that there appeared to be tooth marks in it. Anyway, I accused my brother of biting it, and he told me that my dad used to play one while he did chores, and that he often times took his hands away while he was carrying buckets. So we think that might be the one he played and those are his tooth marks. I don't know if that is possible or not, as none of us kids ever played one nor did we pay much attention to my dad playing them. But I talked to Dick about them the other day, and I ended up taking the Marine Band apart, cleaning it, tapping the dents out of it with a little brass hammer, and putting it back together. It actually works fine, and looks pretty good. So I don't know if I will start playing it or not, but I have it with all my uke stuff, so maybe.

PhilUSAFRet
06-17-2015, 11:50 AM
Thought you might enjoy this. About "Blues Harp, What Keys?" : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg_XhGNIs28&feature=em-subs_digest

kaizersoza
12-16-2015, 09:16 PM
as someone posted earlier, you are going to need more than one harp, what I do is buy the 6 most popular harmonicas eg:- G, A, Bb, C, D, and F, then I suss out the first 4 positions in that key, so now you can play along with virtually any band in virtually any key, for example using a G harmonica you can play along in G (4 blow) D 2nd position (2 hole draw) A 3rd position (4 hole draw) and E (6 hole draw) every position is 5 steps up from your previous position, the circle of fifths comes in handy here, but you can use your fingers, the only drawback here is that you are going to have to learn to bend some of the notes, but hey if you wanna play the blues bending is essential anyway, those 6 harps will cover you in most situations, good luck the harmonica is a fantastic instrument Keep chuggin'

pppamozy
01-31-2016, 02:43 PM
Don't care about the tutorials, practise with your G and you'll be okay. Experimenting without the tutorials will give you the most control and experience.

PhilUSAFRet
03-22-2016, 07:27 AM
I bought a kick drum mic with the proper numbers and love to play my harps through my bass amp. Trying to decide on a "tube" or "blues" pedal to play it through my Fender 10" 30watt.