Hi everyone, this is my first post.
I’ve been playing piano for about 9 years and often jam with some friends in the C blues scale, and I really want to learn to play the harmonica in the C blues scale as that’s the most common key we use.
Being completely new to this, as far as I know I would need to buy an F harmonica to play the C blues scale. I would really appreciate if someone could explain to me why this is, and why I cant use a C harmonica to do this.
If I’m right in thinking I need an F harmonica, what would be the best way to learn it? It seems a lot less common finding tutorials and things on the web compared to a C harmonica. Is it any more difficult than using a C harmonica or is it just less common?
Thanks in advance for your replies.
Hi everyone, this is my first post.
I’m no pro but I’ll do my best to explain. When playing the Blues most people play their harp in what is referred to as 2nd Position. 2nd Position on a C harp is the key of G, 2nd position on and a F harp is key of C. Using the circle of fifths you count up 5 starting with the key of the harp. So… Key of C harp,…C,D,E,F,G/ Key of F harp,…F,G,A,B,C. If you were to use a C harp you wouldn’t be able to bend notes and get that BLUESY sound. 2nd position uses mostly draw notes/holes and allows you to bend and gives you the raspy gritty blues sound. Playing an F harp is exactly the same as playing any other key harp. F is just higher pitched than the others. Majority of lessons are for the Key of C because that is the key that is center of the ranges. The low end is G,A,B…C is center…D,E,F is the high end.
You can get a C harp to play with lessons and be in tune with the lessons, Get a F harp for playing with your band so you will be in tune with them. OR just get the band to play in the key of G, which is more common and easier on the ears.
I hope this helps!
Hey thanks very much for your reply, you’ve made it perfectly clear At the moment I can only afford 1 , so now I’ve got the dilemma of a C harp or an F harp.
Can you suggest a decent harmonica? My price range is around £25.
So far I’m looking at the Hohner Marine Band harmonica - http://www.sheehans.com/harmonicas/hohner-marine-band/gcode=ifhmmb
Hohner Blues Harp - http://www.sheehans.com/harmonicas/diatonic/gcode=ifhmb.
Both of these are good harps, played and sworn by many Pros. The Marine Band I have owned and played. Its drawbacks (In my opinion) are: 1- the plates are exposed and cut my lips since I was learning and playing a lot and was probably using too much lip pressure in the beginning. 2- the wood comb was not sealed enough on mine which caused the teeth of the comb to swell and protrude. This became like a cheese grater on my lips and tongue. 3- the reed plates are nailed to the comb which leaked a lot of air. This is a common complaint for this harp from what I have read on several forums.
The Blues Harp I have neither owned or played. From reading about this harp it seems they do a better job of sealing the wood comb. It still has exposed reed plates which they say you will get use to in time. But for me, I’d rather not deal with cut lips at all.
My preference is the Hohner Special 20. The comb is plastic which does not swell and is very easy to clean. The reed plates are recessed into the plastic comb and the plates at attached with screws that pass through the comb and pull the plates together creating a good seal. The Special 20 will do everything you ask of it into the advanced techniques down the line and is easy on the wallet.
There are many other harps out there that are great harps that have these qualities too. This is just MY favorite up to this point.
Thanks for another great reply.
I looked into the Hohner Special 20 and decided to order it, in the key of C, as I’m just starting out and it’s a lot easier finding tutorials for C.
I figure if I stick at it in a few months I’ll buy another one.
Hopefully that’ll be here some time next week. I look forward to playing it!