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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are playing a few songs that incorporate harmonica!

Don't know a damned thing about but it will be fun to learn. Maybe not!

What key do I buy it in? What size do I need!? There are lessons on you tube! I would love to play some blues as well!

Thanks kindly in advance for any help anyone offers
 

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There are at least a couple members here who play the harmonica. Milkman is one and I can't remember the other one I know of. And yes, there is lots of help on YouTube.
 

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I have got one for a gift a couple of years ago,haven't really given it a real effort yet.
I do remember one time I had it out at the cottage and was blowing on it for a while.

Sounded like crap and I got so dizzy I nearly fell off the deck !:D

You'll have to know what keys the songs are in before buying,and if you want to get into blues harp search "cross harp"
 

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Chromatic Harmonica was my first instrument at about ten years old.

People comment on my dependence on semi-tones in my song-writing. This is due to the chromatic harmonica (the use of the lever was always a high point in any melody for me as a kid :).

Blues harp can be simple. Get the key that is up a fourth or down a fifth and SUCK. It will be easy to sound kinda bluesy if you are alone, but don't expect a standing ovation from an audience. It is just as hard to be really good at this it is as any other instrument.

Yes, you will need a half dozen of them at $60 each. Or become a master at "overblowing" like Carlos del Junco (haven't seen a second one yet, just him)

Chromatic will play in any key (with relative degrees of difficulty) but the reeds are too stiff for bending blues notes, more for jazz. These are $200 to $300 each. Multiple keys are handy here too.

Mine sits in a suitcase for travelling. Every time I pick it up a couple of reeds are stuck, no matter how carefully I clean it. One is cheap, but you need many. So same expense as any other instrument.

The best advice so far -- stay away. Or just buy one for the campfire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is all awesome advice. Maybe another time. I am glad I didn't waste my money on something I might use or not use depending on what the band is playing

I was just going to buy it for Tom Petty's, Maryjanes last dance. I did buy a Yamaha recorder though for the beginning of Stairway to Heaven. It was pretty easy actually to pick it up. I used to play flute, recorder and clarinet in another life time. lol
 

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Harmonica was the first instrument I learned to play back when I was just a kid. My Dad taught me how to play it. He was a very good harmonica player and he couldn't read a note of music, he always played by ear. As the others have said you'll have to get harmonicas in different keys. The ones that I still have are in the keys of C and G although I haven't played for the past 10 years or so. @Kap'n Crunch, my Dad used to have a chromatic harmonica in the key of C.
 

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This is all awesome advice. Maybe another time. I am glad I didn't waste my money on something I might use or not use depending on what the band is playing

I was just going to buy it for Tom Petty's, Maryjanes last dance. I did buy a Yamaha recorder though for the beginning of Stairway to Heaven. It was pretty easy actually to pick it up. I used to play flute, recorder and clarinet in another life time. lol
If you want to just mess around with it, why not buy one in exactly the key you'd need for that song* and work on that seminal harp section. I thought of doing that with the harp solo for Long Train Running, but a) I'm too lazy and b) I really like playing that solo on guitar. I get pissed when a harp player jumps up when we start the tune because I know I'll have to give way to him in the solo section.

* For the correct key, see @KapnKrunch excellent post #6.
 

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If you want to just mess around with it, why not buy one in exactly the key you'd need for that song* and work on that seminal harp section. I thought of doing that with the harp solo for Long Train Running, but a) I'm too lazy and b) I really like playing that solo on guitar. I get pissed when a harp player jumps up when we start the tune because I know I'll have to give way to him in the solo section.
Make that selfish bastard buy this! Its only $3000 canadian, and then you get ALL THE SOLOS!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I really did want to play some blues. Just to give it a whirl!

A slow grinding blues with harmonica is just awesome!

I think I will buy one in the key of E! Just a cheap one. Much like I started out playing guitar with cheap amp and a cheap guitar MIC.

Who knows maybe I will really like it.

I did have a harmonica eons ago but gave up after a while if I remember correctly!
 

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So what would be the right harp for MaryJane's? I believe the song is in Am. So do you go to the relative major C and then go up a 4th or down a 5th from there?

Sorry if this is a stupid question - remember, I'm a lectronics guy and out of my element with this stuff. MJF$#
 

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So what would be the right harp for MaryJane's? I believe the song is in Am. So do you go to the relative major C and then go up a 4th or down a 5th from there?

Sorry if this is a stupid question - remember, I'm a lectronics guy and out of my element with this stuff. MJF$#
It aint blues, just C. Simple turn-around. Just C. Yeah, just tried it. No sharps, no flats.
 

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Yeah, I wouldn't bother with messing around with cross harp for things like Mary Jane, or anything from Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Springsteen, etc. Those are all first-position harp songs, so you just need a harp in the key of the song. The blues is a whole 'nuther ball of yarn, where, yes, you need to play cross-harp to get things sounding right.

I play very little harp in the band these days, mostly just the solo from The Romantics What I Like About You, although I recently had to replace my harp because it got crushed. Unfortunately, my band plays a half-step down, so I had to buy a A-flat harp, which was both a special order and only came in the expensive models. Oh well.
 

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Cross harp? Is that where you used the 'up a 4th or down a 5th' and suck instead of blow? I think that's the only way to get a harp to bend, correct?

Thanks for the help, guys, I've always wondered about this.
 

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Cross harp? Is that where you used the 'up a 4th or down a 5th' and suck instead of blow? I think that's the only way to get a harp to bend, correct?

Thanks for the help, guys, I've always wondered about this.
Yes. Up a fourth. Down a fifth. Cross harp. Second position. All the same thing.

Yes. I can get good bends only by drawing. But ask a REAL harp player... for all my talk here, I am still not much more than a poseur at harmonica.
 

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Yes. Up a fourth. Down a fifth. Cross harp. Second position. All the same thing.

Yes. I can get good bends only by drawing. But ask a REAL harp player... for all my talk here, I am still not much more than a poseur at harmonica.
That's a step or two ahead of where I'm at and where I'm striving to get to. :)
 
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