Cross Harp

Alright, I’m trying to expand my set of playing techniques. Could someone explain cross harp to me? Genres it goes with? What hole the scale starts on? Generally the use of it?
Thanks in advance-


The term “Cross Harp” is based upon playing the harmonica in a different key than the original one the harmonica comes in.

Ex: The key of C harp is played using the G crossed.

It’s based upon the Circle of Fifths; music theory!

You’ll have to do your research on it, as there’s plenty of sites, books, materials explaining this.

Too, although bending is utilized in these positions: Don’t confuse Cross Harp with simply Bending.

Although it makes simple songs sound “bluesier” – You can play all sorts of songs in “Cross Harp” not just Blues!

Here’s some posts to help you along in understanding it; once you break the bank, as it were, you’re well on your way to playing Cross Harp!

Good luck!!/‘positions’/

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)

Definitely correct me if this is wrong.

Cross harp is also called playing your harp in 2nd position.

Ex the band is playing in the key of “G” count up 4 including the
G…G1 A2 B3 C is 4.

Pull your C harp out and play it. Mostly on the 1 2 3 4 holes and mostly draw
notes. Big note to use would be 2D. So your now playing your C harp in the
key of G.

Band in the key of E count 4
E1 F2 G3 A is 4, pull out your A harp and play it in the key of E
same way use the low end of the harp and the 2D is a big note
because it is an E note.

Harp on!!

Yes, there’s so much to learn about this instrument.

As I always say: A little bit of knowledge in the Harmonica Universe is a lot of knowledge!!

Unlike the bad good ole days pre-Internet; there’s now tons of places, books and materials to learn virtually anything/everything harp…

One just has to keep looking and you’ll find it before you know it!

Good Luck!

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)

If you are not too high on bending yet, I recommend you get yourself a country tuned harp. These goes by many names (Jazz harp, melody maker, etc). The difference is that the second hole draw and the third hole blow is not the same, instead the layout is made so that you can play the major scale in second position (starting on two blow) without bending. The five draw is also raised a half step so that you get the complete major scale in second position.

This will get you comfortable with the most important aspect of second position: draw notes! When you have the draw breathing down, you can start playing second position on blues tuned harps, attempting to get those bends :wink:

Good luck!

Whiskat is that the same as a paddy richter tuned harp or are they different.
My gut feeling is they are different but not sure.

Harp On!!

I believe the country and Paddy Richter tuned harps are different; as are the Lee Oskar Melody Makers.

Methinks you can make your own country-tuned harp by raising the 5th reed Draw up a half-step, from F to F#.

As far the Paddy Richter and Melody Makers go – It gets a little more involved.

Yet the PR and MM are on my to-get list one of these days!

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)

After trying for about 6 weeks to get the bends correct in this tune on a regular harp I gave up and purchased
a paddy tuned harp from Joe Spiers. He was nice to do it right away for me. He’s got a pretty
good sized waiting list for his custom harps.


Harp On!!

Alright y’all, thanks for the advice! Starting one more step on my journey!

Paddy tuning only alters the 3 blow. This means it’s great for playing melodies in first position, you get more room to play in, but you can’t play the major scale in second position.

Country tuning is only an altered 5 draw, now that SPD mentions it I remember, while a melody maker is both of these tunings combined.