Wayfairing Stranger


Ok, now here is another of my recordings. I use drop box because it is free. I record using my hand held vedio camera, because that’s all I have at the time. I haven’t figured out how to record myself using Audacity, but I can crop my backing tracks to fit what I need. I am learning. I think I’ll suggest to Chris to put a spot on forum for placing recordings, what do ya’ll think of that?
Constructive criticisms welcome, I do want to improve.

I absolutely love Wayfaring Stranger! :-*

I have David McKelvy’s “Instant Harmonica” and that’s where I first heard it.

My only critique is, you can make this song really lowdown in a bluesy/gospel style, as Dave has in his book. 8)

If you don’t have his book, I’d be happy to write the tab out for you, even post it here.

You only have to slightly bend the 4 Draw and 6 Draw on your harp! And it’s easy! :slight_smile:

So let me know, bro, and I’ll work on it for you!

Smiles! :smiley:

Keep on harpin’!

While I can’t really comment on your musicality, phrasing, timing etc. as I am a greenhorn (or should it be greenharp?)

Anyways, I am taking face-to-face lessons with an instructor, and just yesterday we were working on cupping and ‘wah-wah’s’
So I would recommend you forming a more definitive cup or seal with both hands to make a chamber, then “throw” the wah’s out there.
And you’ll definitely know it by sound when you achieved a good hand seal around the harp. Same for the wah’s.

Thanks Tic for the tip… I’ll work on that, along with timing. It’s hard for me sometimes to get the start right with that backing. Usually I’m about a full beat off at first. I’ve only been playing about a year and a half.

SPD. would love some tabs! I get off tabs as fast as possible, but they do help me learn new tunes!

Tyson you know Wayfaring Stranger is a favourite of mine. Although I can play it in 4th pos I now much prefer it in 5th.

Charlie McCoy has a rendition which he plays in 5th pos & it has a great sounding country blues gospel sound. Would love to be able to play it like Charlie.

Hi Tyson ,

Great job on Wayfaring stranger, question still trying to figure this position thing out ,

  1. What key was the backing in
  2. What key was the harmonica in if you remember
  3. Did you play it in first position

Just wondering great performance. I want to try it in that bluesy way that SPD was talking about.

Harp on!!

Hey Tyson or anyone.

I looked this tab up : Now I’m dumb I know but would you use a backing track in the key of “C” and play this tab
on your key of “G” harp, or vice versa to play it in second position. come on confuse me.

Song: 10 hole Major Diatonic
Cross Harp / 2nd Position
Lee Oskar Melody Maker Key of “G”

Wayfaring Stranger

2 2 -3 -3 3 -3 3 -2 2
I’m just a poor way-far-ing stran-ger

2 -2 -3 3 2 -2 3 -3
a trav-lin through this world of woe.

2 2 -3 -3 3 -3 3 -2 2
But there’s no sickness, toil or dan-ger

2 -2 -3 3 -2 2 -1 2
in that bright land to which I go.

-3 -3 -4 5 -4 5 -4 -4 -3
I’m go-ing there to see my fa-ther.

-3 -3 -4 5 -4 -3 3 -3
I’m go-ing there no more to roam.

-3 4 -4 -3 -2 -3 3 -2 2
I’m just a go-ing o-ver Jor-don

2 -2 -3 3 -2 2 -1 2
I’m just a go-ing o-ver home

Harp on!!

I’m glad TicaToodle picked up on the hand vibrato. Yes, it certainly fits and couldn’t hurt!

And along with JFs fine offering above, as promised Tyson, here’s the tablature according to David McKelvy’s “Instant Harmonica” book/tape. He actually gives the same song twice, both in the Key of D minor (which means nothing to me yet so far). One simply without bends; and the other with some added notes and easy bends.

I’m taking the time to post both (V1 and V2) only because some may not be familiar with this pretty song; and I don’t want to confuse anybody in the process. Be that as it may…

From there, on V2, whether you can do the scooping/slurring 4 Draw and 6 Draw bends is up to you. However, once you get a good feel for the song, you can add the scooping/slurring bends on the longer held notes wherever you feel like – even on V1 at that! Or not! Personalize it though! Know what I mean?!

Also, my layout here is as close to hearing/playing it as possible. So the measures, actual notes, etc may be slightly off. But once you play and familiarize yourself with the actual tune several times, you’ll get into it no problem, I’m sure.

The “…” refers to holding the end note. {You’ll have to figure out/get your ear on the timing etc. itself. I can only do so much! Mwuahahahahaha! Anyways…}

(z) and (/z) refers to the Rest Marks - 1 beat and 1/2 beat of silence, respectively. You’ll notice there are more of them in V2 because the rhythm pattern, though played slowly in each version, is slightly different too. {Again, something you’ll have to work on yourself. Anywho…}

In V2, the 6Db/5D refers to slurring on an eighth note scoop. An eight note = 1 quarter note.

Plus, the 6Db/5D along with the 4Db/4D [or vice-versa] has those nice deep ‘wah’ (as mentioned above) sounds and feelings to them. Again, you’ll have to play around with it so as to get into the right groove of everything. Personalize it! Make it your own! Know what I mean?! Good luck!!

And so, with no further adieus then, here goes:


4D 4D 6D 6D…

5D 6B 6D 5D 4D…

4D 5D 6D 6B…

4D 5D 6B 6D…

4D 4D 6D 6D…

5D 6B 6D 5D 4D…

4D 4D 5D 6B…

5D 5B 4B 4D…

(z) 6D 6D 7B 8D…

7B 7B 8D 6D 6D…

6D 6D 7B 8D…

7B 7B 8D 6D…

7B 7B 7B 6D…

5D 6B 6D 5D 4D…

4D 4D 5D 6B…

5D 5B 4B 4D…

Version 2

4D 4D 6D 6D 6Db/5D 6D

(z) 5D 6B 6Db/6D 5D 4D

(z) 4D 5D 6D 6Db/5D 6B

(/z) 4D 4D 5D 6B 6D…

6Db/5D 6D (/z) (/z) 4D 4D 6D 6D…

(/z) 5D 6B 6D 5D 4D…

(/z) 4D 4D 5D 6B…6Db/6D 5D 5B 4D…4Db/4D…

(z) 6D 6D 7B 8D…

(/z) 7B 7B 8D 6D 6Db/6D……

(/z) 7B 7B 7B 6D…

(/z) 5D 6B 6D 5D 4D/4Db…

(z) 4D 4D 6D 6Db/5D 6B…

(/z) 6D 7B 8B 7B 8D……

Keep On Smiling!

Keep On Harpin’!

Thanks For Reading!

Yo Joe!

Now I'm dumb I know but would you use a backing track in the key of "C" and play this tab on your key of "G" harp, or vice versa to play it in second position. come on confuse me.

I’m not exactly good on this either…am being honest here…However, I believe you would use a C harmonica played in the key of G, which is 2nd position.

Therefore, the backing track would be played in a key of G, too. With the C harmonica of course!

Got all that?! Okay, Cool Beans!

Song: 10 hole Major Diatonic Cross Harp / 2nd Position Lee Oskar Melody Maker Key of "G"

The thing about the Melody Maker as I’ve been researching it out because I may be interested in trying one is: I believe you have to really get the melodys down since the reeds are tuned differently than a regular C or G harp.

I’m only going on this review here:


If anybody can fill me/us in on what the deal is with Melody Makers, I thank you in advance!

Keep on Smiling!

Keep on Harpin’!

Joe you would need a Lee Oskar MM in key of G to cope with those tabs.

I tried my MM and whilst it fits ok it sounds far better if played in a minor key ie 3rd or 5th Pos on a standard diatonic. I think on the earlier post I mentioned 4th & stand to correct myself in meaning 3rd.

SPD I like the sound I am getting on trying out version 2 of the tabs you posted. Have to do a lot more work to get it smooth. But thanks. This is one of my all time favourite tunes. I love the version sung by Emmy Lou Harris.

Here are tabs I have in 3rd & 5th position > enjoy

Wayfaring Stranger
A Harp 5th Pos (Key Cm)

5 5 -7 -7 -6 -7 -6 6 5
I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger

5 6 -7 -6 5 6 -6 -7
a trav-lin through this world of woe

5 5 -7 -7 -6 -7 -6 6 5
but theres no sickness , toil or danger

5 6 -7 -6 6 5 - 4 5
in that bright land to which I go

-7 -7 -8 8 -8 8 -8 -8 -7
Im going there to see my father

-7 -7 -8 8 -8 -7 -6 -7
Im going there no more to roam

-7 7 -8 -7 6 -7 -6 6 5
Im just going over Jordan

5 6 -7 -6 6 5 -4 5
Im just going over home

Wayfaring Stranger
A Harp 3rd Pos (Key Bm)

-4 -4 -6 -6 6 -6 6 -5 -4
I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger

-4 -6 -6 6 -4 -5 6 6
a trav-lin through this world of woe

-4 -4 -6 -6 6 -6 6 -5 -4
but theres no sickness , toil or danger

-4 -5 -6 6 -5 -4 4 -4
in that bright land to which I go

-6 -6 7 -8 7 -8 7 7 -6
Im going there to see my father

-6 -6 7 -8 7 -6 6 -6
Im going there no more to roam

-6 -7 7 -6 -5 -6 6 -5 -4
Im just going over Jordan

-4 -5 -6 6 -5 -4 4 -4
Im just going over home

So many cool versions! Good to know various ways to play!

Speaking of versions, I actually checked on youtube to find an Emmy Lou Harris clip; but most everybody (mostly girls) just covered it.

And I could’ve posted up anybody from Charlie McCoy to Johnny Cash and more.

I stumbled onto this virtual unknown, and well let me hear what you think:

Wayfaring Stranger

Yo David T!

I really like your 3rd position on this song.

I only have one question. After playing it through several times, towards the ending something doesn’t seem quite right. It sounds to me if the -6 -7 7 part is off-kilter…Is that the way it plays, or is it just me? IDK Everything else afterwards to the end sounds good and pretty nice…thanks!

-6 -7 7 -6 -5 -6 6 -5 -4 Im just going over Jordan

-4 -5 -6 6 -5 -4 4 -4
Im just going over home

Ok, here it goes… On the version I played, I used a Bb harp playing in 3rd position to give me Cm. Which is the Key of the backing. On David’s post you should use an Ab harp in 5th postion to get Cm. An A harp in 3rd is Bm.
How do I know all this, you ask. Well I cheated, I looked up harmonica positions on the net and found several charts that lay it out. I have tested a couple and they all seem correct.
Spd, sometimes I have found that who ever has laid out the tabs, sometimes it doesn’t sound right. In that case, I change it to sound how I think it should sound. Most times I’m right.
BTW, David’s 3rd position tabs are the ones I used to learn the tune. And the lady I got the backing from played it completely differant. So, just to show you there are many ways to interpret music. It’s a spiritual thing, you inner self, so to speak.

Spd, sometimes I have found that who ever has laid out the tabs, sometimes it doesn't sound right. In that case, I change it to sound how I think it should sound. Most times I'm right.

Thanks Tyson!

Very good!

Of course I didn’t understand anything you said above this…And that’s just me because I’m learning little by little, every day. Yet it was very good.

I did however understand what you said about the tabs. I did play the ending the way I thought it sounded better. I do like this version too.

And well, please don’t hate me because I’m beautiful and at times a stickler for details in being such a perfectionist sometimes. ::slight_smile:

I guess too, being part of David Gage’s online harp school, when somebody posts songs, people actually do play them. And if there’s an off-chance there was a missed Blow or Draw somewhere, well, it’s good to let the person know as they’re the source of the material in the first place. :slight_smile:

Know what I mean?

And yes, I also cut & paste tab songs onto my home file scrapbooks all the time. I go and change the tabs to where I like to play them or I beleive the song sounds right.

So I understand. Thanks again also, because it shows me I’m not the only one out there that does this with tabs as well! :wink:


Keep on Harpin’!

Peace & SPD Out!

Challenge for SPD or anyone else interested.

You all have heard/seen my version of Wayfairing Stranger, How about posting ya’lls version?

We’re all friends here, so this is not a contest, just that I really enjoy hearing my fellow harp students music.

Anyone game? 8)

Oh Man!! I am so gonna do that song. Its like Its like… you are reading my mind :-
I’ve been playing that song ever since you posted it all day long. I’m not kidding you,
I got it memorized with the tab SPD posted with the finish up on the high end of the harp.

I already downloaded a backing track for it thanks SPD, ran it by Ed P. (from the other forum)
to confirm the key. Invited him to come on board don’t know if he will or not. But the backing track
I found plays it through in key of D, and then plays it again in the key of Eb. :stuck_out_tongue:

I hope I’m Up for switching harps in mid stream. :o

Give me a couple days.

Harp on!!

Yo, Tyman!

I think one of things they (the staff) might be interested in doing is something like what you’re suggesting!

However, we (the aforementioned staff and lil ole me) still have aways to go to get this place - what I call a NYC Under-Construction site - all straightened out. :stuck_out_tongue:

But too, once I grow a bigger set of cahones (like Mrs Obama perhaps?! hehehehe!) :o

And once I get over my, albeit little, fears of recording myself and learning how to download all this stuff online - Yeah, eventually, I’ll be up for the challenge. 8)

But sure also, hope others who already know how to do this will join in the fun in the meantime. :wink:

Um, I’m not sure exactly where (even though I should be…but oh well, let it be for now) but I think somebody mentioned something about one of those online recording programs. Seems it takes me a longtime to download on Quicktime. But I’m not all that savvy on any of this stuff yet anyways. So I’m just saying. Know what I mean?

Regardless though, I do like to listen to everything everybody puts up here; if you or anybody actually makes the effort, well, by golly by gee, you’ve got an audience from lil ole me! :slight_smile:

Peace & SPD Out!


Thats my simple 5th pos version without backing track.

I also fully support what Tyson has said re tabs ie if it doesn’t sound right change it to suit. I hate tabs but they are a good starting point. Get your ‘own voice’ with the harmonica ie don’t copy note for note otherwise we will all just sound the same.

Very good, David! Thanks for posting. Sounded very lovely.


How 'bout little 'ol me? aka SPD…ummmmmmm!

We all go through the …you want me to do what? Record myself?
It’s about fun and learning, getting better.
Street, if you have a video camara, learn the song, record it then down load to computer then post. Pretty easy that way.