I don’t know who’s idea is was to make the C harp THE harp that everyone is suppose to start out on. I think it has something to do with it being in the middle of the scale or some such but to my ear it sounds a bit too high pitched. As a guitar player I personally love the A harp. I think it’s more in tune with my ear, not to high, not to low, just perfect. The G isn’t too bad but can be a bit lower then I really like but the A harp, that’s where it’s at for me. Anyone else like the A harp or some “other” key rather then the C harp?
I was partial to the A and Bb in the beginning, now after learning a bit I have found an appreciation for the higher harps.
So pretty much everyone else is happy with the C being kind of the Standard key? Guess I must be the odd man out then. I really live my A harp. I know, us guitar players, what are ya’ going to do with us,LOL.
I’m no Harpin’ Pro as my label suggests, but I figure if I was to have learned to play on a G or A harp and Learned to bend on them, I would have had a hard time relating to the high end, as the technique changes a little from harp to harp. I guess someone had to decide which one to start with!
I see your point, C and above do get a bit shrill. The lower harps tend to take a lot of air at times, that is tough when learning too. 8)
I think the C is used as a standard because it is more in line with the piano. The blow and draw holes are the white keys on a piano and if you bend a hole you are going to a flat or sharp which is the black keys.
Basically, as far as I understand, C is used for most beginners because it’s right in the middle, so if you learn to bend on a C, it doesn’t take as much adjusting to bend on a G, but if you start on a G, it makes it a bit more difficult to learn to bend on a C or above. Also, C is used because there are no sharps or flats in the C scale, so it’s easier for those who know scales.
That was kind of the way I understood it. The C harp is in line with the middle C on the piano. Still, for those of us who don’t play piano and who do play guitar the A harp just sounds better to our ear so it’s kind of a moot point to set any key as the “standard” that all beginners should start with. It all depends on where you’re coming from in order to pick the right harp and know where you’re going to.
Hey I got an Idea just buy yourself a C harmonica and learn to play it in all 12 positions :-\
I think I’ll do that this weekend ;D
What I love about the harmonica is that playing in different keys makes a huge difference! When playing stringed instruments or the piano it doesn’t really make much difference to me which key I’m playing in. When strumming on the Ukulele it’s no difference if I play in C or G, but if I’m going to chug and play rhythm on the harp I rarely go further up than B. This is because the reeds on the higher tuned harps just don’t chug as well as the low ones. I don’t feel like I can get the reeds to bounce and flow in a wave like manner, if you know what I mean? It’s all about practice of course, but I think this is an opinion I will stick by for many more years, maybe the rest of my life. Keep in mind that I’m now talking about tone quality, and not how well the keys goes with my voice.
Personally I love the Bb harp. The A harp is a close second. But when playing first position I like G and C very much (this is probably just because G and C are very common Ukulele keys so they go well with my neckrack).
When I leave the house in a hurry I always throw these harps in my bag: A, Bb, G (Paddy Richer tuned) and C.
Something else I’ve noticed, I’m really liking Natural and Harmonic minor keyed harps. They just have something “extra” to their sound that makes Major tuned harps sound kind of “plain vanilla” if that makes sense. It’s like there’s more “spice” to a minor keyed harp over a major key. IDK, maybe I just played major keys so much that I got bored with them but I plan on getting more minor key(both natural and harmonic) harps.
I hear ya! A minor harp is next on my list!
Bored is in the ears of the beholder, so it really just depends on that. I am always trying to find harder songs to play…different techniques…and then I picked up the chromatic. After playing chromo, I can go back to the standard with avengence!
Just my thoughts!
Chromatics were all I had to mess around with as a kid.
I loved when my Dad got into the bottom end of his Super 64.
I didn’t learn to play then, and now that the old chromomicas are long gone, I really long to have one again.
I like the lower keyed diatonic harps best also.
Funny thing is that even though I think the C harp is a bit high pitched I still have to have one for lessons and stuff on YouTube and for a lot of other music that’s played in the key of G so I guess like em’ or not I’ll be stuck with one.LOL
If you want to learn on an A harp go here:
I like the Bb, A, and G better than C for most stuff as well, but I find the C works just fine for 2nd positions stuff and pretty much anything that doesn’t go past hole 7. If 8,9,10 are used I agree with you that it gets pretty shrill. I use Bb or A for songs that go higer.
I like playing in E on an A harp. Just sounds bluesier. Seems though alot of the old blues songs were played in C, which means I have to play the F harp. Now that’s a high pitch! That’s why I bought a Low F harp.
They do make a Low C, but I think it would be hard to learn to play harmonica on one. I’ve never really needed one, But I have a Low D & F and am looking at getting a Low E.
I play alot of 3rd position, playing in a minor, and it plays mostly in the middle of the harp which is too high pitched, especially the F.
But, I also have a High G which I use a little. It helps when I’m sitting jammin’ with a couple of guitars, all accoustic. It makes it easier to be heard with them, which a standard G harp is hard to do. Don’t have to blow so hard. I blew out a G harp that way is why I bought the Hi G.
I am finding out that my Key Of B harp sounds and plays better then my New Key Of C harp.
I find it easier to play and it sound better.
I don’t know why I am having a hard time trying to sound bluesy in C then I do in B.
IF, your guitar where tuned to G I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts that the C harp would be your favorite.
An open G tuned guitar, a bottleneck slide and a C harp played at 2nd position. Just love easy playing blues.
Im a fresh beginner, i’ve been playing daily for a couple of weeks now and i too find that C is too high pitched for my liking. Im also a bit of a guitar player and piano also.
A little OT but what do you guys mean when you refer to the term “positions…all 12 positions”? Is it the transposition of the all 12 keys in C? For instance i can read music sheet and when i find a song in another key i just adapt it to my C harp. Is this what you mean?