The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32917   Message #2927238
Posted By: Artful Codger
13-Jun-10 - 11:55 PM
Thread Name: Help: What harmonica do I use?
Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
Steve: What you say doesn't apply widely--or tells only part of the story--because other genres aren't as key limited, and they use bends and accidentals more frequently. Also, giving "positions" isn't useful to someone who has trouble just understanding key relations because the position numbers relate to the circle of fifths, not to anything observable on the harp or intuitive to beginners (like hole numbers or diatonic sequence). For that reason, I've avoided mentioning any "positions" except cross-position.

The map I gave works for most types of harps--as well as most other instruments. It may not be the clearest way of putting things, but one can derive all the special-purpose charts one wants from what I gave--and thanks for the start. Now how about the other ten, with starting holes and blow/draw directions instead of position numbers? Even ignoring the least used keys, a person is likely to minimally also need Eb, Bb, F, C, A and E. And can you comment without getting snide, thanks?

I feel it's important to discuss the Melody Maker because beginners seldom learn of its advantages until too late, due to the ubiquity and customary use of the standard. As a melody instrument,
(1) it's at least as viable as the Paddy--often more so, sometimes less so.
(2) it's typically played in the most popular position (cross/2nd) used in most mainstream genres.
(3) unlike the Paddy, it allows for the most-needed bends and accidentals.
(4) it often shifts the melody into a lower, warmer range.

So it facilitates learning to play cross-position from day one. And when you start bending, you're not frustrated by bends that are largely useless or shallow. Of course, when you start playing blues/country/rock, you'll have to switch to a standard Richter, but not even Paddys will work for that, so the additional investment is no greater, and the consistency of position makes it easier to switch between blues/etc. and diatonic work on a regular basis.

That said, I hope we can stay focused on the actual topic: Which harmonica do you use (of whatever type you choose)?