View Full Version : Beginner Harmonic - What Key?

04-25-2012, 03:28 AM
I want to learn to play the harmonica. I have read the Hohner Special 20 is the easist to learn on, but it comes in soo many Keys. What key is recommended for the first time player?

04-25-2012, 03:55 AM
My advise to beginning harp players is the newer Hohner Midnight Blue. Just a little cheaper than the Special 20, but easy to play. My harmonica of choice is the Hohner Golden Medley. My favorite keys are "C" and "A". I mainly use the "C" for tunes played in the key of G, and use the "A" for tunes in the key of E.

Hope this helps!

04-25-2012, 11:09 AM
I have mostly played Marine Band harps, but I like my Special 20 a lot. You should go with C. It's easy to play songs in C on the uke, and as Woo said, as you progress, you'll want to learn to play "cross key" and use your C harp to play blues in G. But for now, play songs in C and pick out the melody on the harp. The trick is to learn a song and play it until everybody is tired of it, then learn another... Soon you'll be able to play any tune by ear.

Ukulele JJ
04-25-2012, 06:19 PM
I'm the world's worst harmonica player, but I agree. The key of C is a very good place to start.


04-26-2012, 03:05 AM
I stopped at Guitar Center on way home from work last night and bought a Hohner Special 20 in the key of C. I also picked up a Hal Leonard beginners book, with a CD & DVD. I played it for about 1 hour last night and was able to play the first 5 beginner songs. I plan on bringing it on a business trip next week to have something to do at night, I'm excited. I wanted to bring my Uke, but decided against it, I don't trust the airlines.

Any recommendations for lessons, either good learning books/CDs/DVDs, or on-line?

04-28-2012, 04:10 PM
My advice is to buy one in the key that you sing in a lot. I bought a C harmonica and used it in a rack while playing guitar and singing with my wife, only problem was that I sing a lot of songs in G and D and she sings in G and A a lot. So, the C harmonica sits in its case most of the time. I bought in the other keys to help accomodate. Once I started practicing in cross harp then the C was a bit more useful though I don't do cross harp a lot yet.

G Hill
05-11-2012, 01:53 PM
I teach diatonic harmonica (blues harp) and if you are starting out the first key to get is 'c'.
Most of the books use the key of 'C' as a reference and it happens to fall about midway with regards the
different pitches of the 12 keys of harmonica ('G' being the lowest and 'F' the highest).
With regards books to buy, any book by David Barrett with serve you well.
BTW. the Special 20 is a fine harp to start on, another good one is Lee Oskar.
Personally I prefer Golden Melody's but it's down to personal choice in the end.
Most harmonicas over 20 will serve you well.
Have fun with it

05-27-2012, 02:31 PM
Depends on what type of music you play. If you play blues, you will want A, D and C. If you play folk, you will want C, F and G. If you get into it further, you will want low D, too.

07-07-2012, 10:14 AM
Haven't tried the Special 20 yet, but my Lee Oskar is amazing, veeerrrrryyyyyy easy to bend notes. Can be a little pricey. See them go for under $20 regularly on ebay.
One guy decided he wanted to learn to play harmonica, so he bougt 10 Lee Oskars in different keys. Played two of them a few times. Opening bid on all of them is $100, that's around $400 worth of harps, more or less. (7 or 8 of them never played)

10-18-2013, 06:30 AM
Key of C or G. I don't own any Hohners because I haven't found one that works for me. I have a Lee Oskar and like the crisp sound a lot more then I've heard on a Hohner. It all comes down to personal choice.

10-18-2013, 06:31 AM
Ian, I see you're a freethinker too. he he.