Hi all I’m new to playing the harmonica but not new to music seesions. I have played the penny whistle and mandolin for years so know enough to plod along to music.

My question is - If I was the buy three harmonicas what would the best keys to buy. I have a ‘c’ and ‘G’ but both are old and a few reed have packed in.

In the past I have just played for myself but now want to play the harmonica in the session.


Well, I would go with C, G and D, for the three main keys. If you want three NEW ones…then I would say D, F, and A. But thats me!

Welcome to our forum! I hope you enjoy yourself, because we sure do!


Thanks for that.

My intentions are to replace the ones I have. So will go for your suggestions meantime then go onto your second suggestions and go for the ‘F’ and ‘A’ after next pay day.

C A G. Check out the hohner pro packs, sometimes they save you some money.

Thanks for that


If you’re new to harp but not new to music sessions – Well, it may behoove you to get a whole set of the majors and perhaps one or two minor harmonics and/or natural minors.

Why? Well unless the band(s) is only playing in the 3 keys you have, which is actually 6 when playing Straight and Cross Harp {not counting just using one harp to play all 12 positions etc. - and we won’t even go there…} you just may be sitting on the sidelines listening rather than playing more times than not.

Regardless of what key the song is in, you have to decide if you’re going to play it Straight or Cross too.

Ex: Band calls out “XYZ tune in Key of A.”

Question: Do you pull out your A harp and play with them Straight? Or grab your D harp and play with them Cross?

And so on and so on.

Then too, what happens when the Key of the music changes somewhere in the middle?

Living Legend Harper Extraordinaire Charlie McCoy uses various harps on the same song.

His downloadable Key Sheet can be found here:

So in the final analysis and bottom line:

Only you can decide what music you’re going to play where and when. Henceforth, our 3-Key suggestions/opinions are just that - our suggestions/opinions. And may not necessarily be the best ways for you to go.

But if you really want to go this route – Well I have a brand new Golden Melody E and Golden Melody B (actual B) for sale cheap! Just drop me a line!



Hope this helps!

Enjoy! Have fun!

Keep On Harpin’!