C Diatonic Harmonica 2nd Position (G) Graphic

Hi Everyone,

Made this graphic of a C Diatonic Harmonica as I’m a visual learner and need to see something as I commit things to memory. Just want to make it’s correct before I start learning:

C Diatonic Harmonica 2 Position (G)

Any corrections would be appreciated,
Kevin

8 Likes

Yes Kevin! That’s it man. And you’re yellow line shows all the notes that are in the Blues scale. Well done!!!

Aloha,
Luke

2 Likes

Thanks Luke!

1 Like

This is awesome. Thank you

3 Likes

Glad you like it.

2 Likes

Thanks for making this chart. I’m a few days into learning harp, sorry if this is too obvious a question. What do the orange and red boxes signify?

4 Likes

Hi Christopher,

The red are the notes of Second Position. The orange are the other notes in the blues scale that you can play. The orange and red together make up the ‘path’ of the yellow dotted line.

Hope it helps,
Kevin

3 Likes

Hi @christopher.race

Welcome to the forum! No question here is too obvious or too dumb – all of us here were at one time (and some are now) complete beginners. We are here to try to help you as best we can. :smiley:

Now to your question:

Unfortunately, the diagram is not exactly correct (as I see it). But basically it goes like this: the color red is for the so-called Blues scale in G minor. The orange color also, but for that color the scale is missing some notes (i.e. the scale is incomplete) because these notes are either impossible or, at the upper end of the harmonica, they involve advanced techniques that are quite difficult for most people to play until they become advanced level players. For your information: even some well-known professional blues harp players do not use these techniques! :exploding_head:

Ignoring the colors for a moment: the blues scale in G min begins with the root note G and looks like this:

G Bb C Db D F

The next note in the sequence would be another G and would mark the start of the next octave, where the notes would repeat. So as you can see, on the left end of the diagram the orange set of boxes starts at the lowest note that the C diatonic harmonica can play: namely the note C and the orange boxes progress up to Db, D and F. So that set of notes is missing the starting root note of G (at the low end) and also the next note of the scale Bb is missing down there as well.

Then we have the complete blues scale in G min indicated with red boxes, running from the G at -2 (= draw on hole 2) on up to the F at -5 (= draw on hole 5).

Now, ideally, the next G at +6 (= blow in hole 6) should be orange, as it is the start of the next octave’s blues scale. And that scale, on the right side of the diagram, is also missing some notes: namely Bb and Db. I consider the diagram faulty because after the F at -9 the next note would be the G at +9. And then following that it is correct again with the Bb at +10" (= a blow double bend on hole 10, which is a sort of difficult note to play) and the C at +10. Since that is also an incomplete set of notes for the blues scale, the last three (the G, the Bb and the C) should be either orange or perhaps even a different color, such as yellow.

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

5 Likes

Thank you both for the explanation! Happy harpin’!

3 Likes

Hi @kjlarochelle. I really like to be able to see the graphics of the notes and intervals on the harp as well. I use an app for my iPhone/iPad that works well for this purpose. It’s called Harp Guru. It supports lots of tunings, and scales, and displays either the notes or the intervals. It costs a few bucks, but has no ads, and respects your privacy.

If you are an Apple user, it may be worth looking at.

4 Likes

Thanks @PineComb I’ll take a look.

Cheers,
Kevin

3 Likes

Hi @Slim. Great explanation that I would have never come up with. My intent was to just show where the notes from the blues scale are. I’m a lot smarter now. If I get a chance I’ll up date the graphic with better/more info.

Thanks,
Kevin

3 Likes

No problem, Kevin @kjlarochelle – everyone can overlook something, especially when it is “new ground” that they are entering. :slightly_smiling_face:

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

3 Likes

Hi @Slim. How do you edit a post? I want to fix the chart but I can seem to find an edit post button.

Also what are the other notes besides the Gmin scale that can be played in a Blues Solo? That wasn’t my original intent but I could make another color and show those as well.

Thanks,
Kevin

2 Likes

Hi Kevin @kjlarochelle

I believe that the forum software might remove the edit button on old posts, but @Luke would know this and be the person to ask. Otherwise, the edit button looks like a small pencil and appears either in the upper right corner of the post (near the time that the post was made) or in lower right corner between the link button and the three dots.

Regards,
– Slim

3 Likes

As for your other question, Kevin @kjlarochelle, the answer is yes. other notes can be played. In fact any note of the chromatic scale can be played – the real question and the art of making music involves the when, where and how these other notes are used in the solo. Much depends on the “musical context” i.e. the notes played just before and just following the place where you wish to use some other note. Perhaps not the best analogy, but it is similar to speaking/writing in some language: basically any word of the language can be used, but depending on the context it can result in nonsense, or an insult or be perfect in that context.

What is “safest” is to play the notes of the scale (in this case Gmin). The other notes usually sound best when played as “passing notes” (notes not played slowly but sort of quickly inserted when moving from one scale note to another). Another rule of thumb is to play those other notes on the “off-beat” (because they are then “less noticed” by the listeners).

This is all something that you also learn through experience, trying it out and seeing/asking if the resulting effect works or is what you intended. To this end it is very usefull to record your playing (ideally with a simple accompaniment, such as an acoustic guitar, rather than in a group situation where it is more difficult to hear what you have played – but playing alone also works). :point_left:

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

5 Likes

Thanks

2 Likes

Hey Kev - to edit a post, you press on the 3 dots, and then as @Slim said press on the pencil button. But if you’re gonna change your graphic, you could just reply and upload the new one?

@Slim is correct, since this is art, not science, in the final analysis, THERE ARE NO WRONG NOTES. Any notes that sound wrong are just half-step away from being right. This concept is easy to explain and explore on instruments like guitar and piano, but more difficult on harmonica.

But the idea is: some notes are very DISSONANT against a particular chord. But they can be RESOLVED by moving to a neighboring note that sounds CONSONANT. Check out Victor Wooten exploring that concept here:

So, as @Slim said, the thing to do is to play along with a backing track and explore what different notes sound like, and for the ones that sound “bad” check out how you might resolve them to start making them sound “good” like Victor Wooten does in the video above.

Having said all that, two scales that are great for playing 2ndf position blues are the Blues Scale which you have shown beautifully, and the Major Pentatonic Scale which is:
-2 -3" -3 -4 5 6
And then
6 -6 -7 -8 8 9
And adding in the top note and bottom notes, over the course of the whole harmonica, ascending:
-1 2 -2 -3" -3 -4 5 6 -6 -7 -8 8 9 -10
and descending
9 8 -8 -7 -6 6 5 -4 -3 -3" -2 2 -1

Since both of those sound great, you could try combining them like this:
-1 2 -2" -2 -3" -3’ -3 4 -4’ -4 5 -5 6 -6 -7 -8 8 -9 9 -10 10" 10’ 10

That’s a whole lot of tasty notes…if you can play them! (Not an easy thing to do!) But I think that’s some cool challenging ideas to explore for people who want to move beyond the basic blues scale.

Rock on,
Luke

4 Likes

Just a note to mention that, besides the minor blues scale that @Luke mentions and that you @kjlarochelle show in your graphic, there is also the Major blues scale that is most commonly played (see the caveat at the end of this post) using the the following notes (for the C Major blues scale):

C D Eb E G A

or in general (using the numbers of the major scale tones):

I II bIII III V VI

This is just the C Major pentatonic with the bIII (= Eb) added. It is not easy to play the C Major blues scale on the C blues harp because of that bIII (Eb) which requires the advanced overblow technique on holes 1 and 4 (this is somewhat easier using a half-valved blues harp, where instead of the overblow on holes 1 and 4 you play a blow bend on holes 2 and 5, but it is still not so simple).

What is easier (if you have mastered the -3" and -3’) on the C harp is the G Major blues scale:

G A Bb B D E

played on the C harp as:

-2 -3" -3' -3 -4 +5

Unfortunately, the next octave’s Bb requires a hole 6 overblow … but up there you can just skip playing it and play the “plain” G Major pentatonic (at least when improvising) or buy a PowerBender harp in C where that Bb is now simply a draw 7 bend (-7’). :wink:

As a final note: there is not just one minor blues scale, and not just one Major blues scale (at least in the world of music theory), but the ones given here by @Luke and myself are the most commonly used ones in the world of rock, blues and jazz.

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

3 Likes

Luke and Slim,

You guys rock. My mind is blown and and have some studying to do. I appreciate you both taking the time on this.

Blues on,
Kevin

4 Likes