Hi! I understand that the second position on a C tuned harmonica is the G scale. I have a question about this. In order to play this second position starting from the 2 hole its necessary to be able to overblow the F# out of the 5’th hole right?
NO! There are no over-blows in 2nd position. you do have to know how to draw-bend holes 2, 3, 4, &6.
Basic blues scale is:
-2 -3* 4 -4* -4 -5 6
(-) means draw
(*) means bend
Thank you for the reply Paul but I don’t quite get it. If the second position is the G scale than according to basic music theory a G scale has only one sharp on F and if we start the G scale on 2 hole ascendently the only F# is on the 5 th hole overblown. What am I missing here?
I found a site and I understand now that blues scales are different than conventional ones. Thanks for the help anyway.
I wasn’t quite sure how to answer or respond. I had to go back into my books. I’m glad you found your answer.
Technically, positions (2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on)on the harmonica are “modes.” Modes are neither Major nor Minor Scales; view them as ‘first cousins’ of scales. On a “C” harmonica, 2nd position (which starts with “G” on 2 draw) is not really the G major scale, but the Mixolydian (that’s a mouthful!) mode. That’s why there’s no F#.
Similarly, 3rd position, which begins with “D” on 4 draw is not the D Major Scale, but the Dorian Mode.
Modes can be traced back to the Greeks (at least), which is why they have fancy Greek names.
You can Google “Music Modes” or something similar to read about them. Here’s one site I found useful:
What really seems to confuse things further, is that the number names of harmonica positions are derived from the “Circle of Fifths,” which places all twelve major scales around–you guessed it–a circle! The G Major scale is on the top right of the Circle, just to the right of C Major, which sits on the top. If you count C major as “1” (or First Position) and start going clockwise around the circle, "G Major is “2” (or Second Position). D Major follows “G” on the Circle and is, therefore, Third Position.
Thus, the Circle of Fifths, used to place Major Scales in relation to each other, is employed by harpists to get the letter names (e.g., “G”) for what are actually modes. To reiterate: Playing 2nd position on a C harmonica doesn’t give you the G major scale–it gives you a (very similar) Mixolydian Mode Confusing, huh?
This may help you sort things out:
I found this series of videos that helped me understand it better.
How Music Works 1 - Melody - Part 1
I hope you find it useful too.