The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #25544   Message #300205
Posted By: GUEST,bseed from school
18-Sep-00 - 05:51 PM
Thread Name: Harmonica advice
Subject: RE: Harmonica advice
Capt. Swing, The best way to start is with a good but inexpensive major diatonic harmonica, such as a Hohner Big River, probably in the key of C--since most harmonica courses have tapes or CDs that are based on that key of harmonica (or you might want to buy a book/tape/harmonica package such as Jon Gindick's Klutz package, about $12 US: it takes you through a couple of songs in C, straight harmonica, useful for most folk melodies, then takes you right into cross harp, blues style, in which you use the C harp to play blues or country in the key of G.

If you start with just a harmonica, just start playing it: straight harp is quite easy--you'll begin finding melodies in it in minutes. Straight harp emphasizes the blow notes; all the blow notes on a harmonica are in the major chord of the key of the harp, and most of the draw notes are part of the other important chords in the key (G and F for the C harp). Then, after you've learned a few tunes, you might want to just try playing along with a guitarist or other instrumentalist playing in G: Here, you'll emphasize the draw (suck) notes; again, just keep playing and soon you'll find the tones that sound good.

Later, after you have mastered a major diatonic, you can decide whether to move to a chromatic or not (I use diatonics in a bunch of keys, major, minor, and special "melody makers" which are made for playing emphasizing the draw notes.

But get a harmonica, start playing it, keep playing it, play with other people, have fun.

--seed