how do I figure out what key a song is in when I want to play along?

I like playing second position/blues harp. I don’t read music and am just learning to play harp by ear and tabs. When I want to play along with a song on the radio, how can I tell what key it’s in in order to count down 4 notes to know which harp to play?

Well, I usually just take a box of harps and pick up a C, D, or G, and test it out. Those are pretty common keys. BUT…that is for playing in straight position. So the second position for those three would be F, G, C. (I think…I it has been a bit since I done music theory). Basically, IMHO, the name of the game is experimentation! Unless you got perfect pitch, figuring out the key is near impossible.

Thats my 2.5 cents! (Adjusted for inflation!)

Take it or leave it! And if it ain’t worth that, I’ll lower my price!


Howdy RHG!

JP actually had a great topic lesson on this very same subject:

Helped us; hope it helps you too!

Keep On Harpin’!

Thanks. These links are super helpful and a good reminder from JP to be patient and keep the faith–it’ll make sense and I’ll figure it out with practice. This was my first post and I am SO happy with the responses and help. Thank you.