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Help: What harmonica do I use?

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caz2ufolk 08 Apr 01 - 06:58 AM
Les from Hull 08 Apr 01 - 07:12 AM
caz2ufolk 08 Apr 01 - 07:37 AM
caz2ufolk 08 Apr 01 - 07:46 AM
Allan C. 08 Apr 01 - 08:42 AM
caz2ufolk 08 Apr 01 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Mark. West Sussex U.K. 08 Apr 01 - 09:29 PM
Mark Clark 08 Apr 01 - 10:10 PM
caz2ufolk 09 Apr 01 - 04:09 AM
Les from Hull 09 Apr 01 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,caz2ufolk 09 Apr 01 - 03:47 PM
dr soul 04 May 01 - 01:01 AM
wysiwyg 04 May 01 - 01:30 AM
Les from Hull 04 May 01 - 10:10 AM
dr soul 05 May 01 - 02:42 AM
GUEST,Rayzor 10 Jun 10 - 11:17 PM
PHJim 11 Jun 10 - 12:33 PM
DonMeixner 11 Jun 10 - 01:39 PM
Artful Codger 11 Jun 10 - 02:41 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 10 - 07:27 PM
Artful Codger 11 Jun 10 - 08:24 PM
maple_leaf_boy 11 Jun 10 - 09:06 PM
GUEST,Reggie Miles 11 Jun 10 - 11:45 PM
Artful Codger 12 Jun 10 - 12:40 AM
Artful Codger 12 Jun 10 - 03:42 AM
Steve Shaw 12 Jun 10 - 06:30 AM
Artful Codger 12 Jun 10 - 11:51 AM
Steve Shaw 12 Jun 10 - 07:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jun 10 - 05:26 PM
Artful Codger 13 Jun 10 - 11:55 PM
GUEST,shayaa 27 Oct 10 - 11:36 AM
The Sandman 27 Oct 10 - 12:45 PM
reggie miles 28 Oct 10 - 01:51 AM
GUEST,shaya 28 Oct 10 - 04:13 AM
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Subject: What harmonica do I play .....?
From: caz2ufolk
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 06:58 AM

When playing in the chord of C, cappo on 2nd fret I normally play a D harmonica. Which harmonica should I play when I move my cappo to the 3rd fret and still play in the C chord?


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 07:12 AM

E flat


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: caz2ufolk
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 07:37 AM

Thanks Les I'll put that on my shopping list.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: caz2ufolk
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 07:46 AM

Is there a contraption that holds an harmonica to the mic stand? As I find wearing a harmonica neck rack, very restrictive.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Allan C.
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 08:42 AM

Caz, I am going to risk that you may not know what I am about to tell you. If you already do, then please ignore it.

It may be helpful to know that each time you raise a chord up one fret by capoing or by whatever means, you raise it by one half-step. For instance, when you raised your C chord two frets, it brought the chord up two half-steps. In this way you brought the chord beyond C# and up to D. You must remember, though, that there is no half-step between E and F. Nor is there one between B and C. In other words, there is, in general terms, no E# or B#.

If you were to take an E chord and raise it three frets, it would become a G. (Remember, the progression would be E, F, F#, G.)

Half-steps can be viewed in two different ways. In general terms, if you are going up in the scale, each half-step is a sharp (except as noted for E and B). If you are going down the scale, the same half-steps are called flats. Note that in the latter case, just as there is no E# and no B#, there is also no F flat and no C flat.

Note: I have oversimplifed here somewhat and I suppose I should put in a disclaimer for those who would argue. Yes, there are some odd exceptions to the sharp and flat rules I mentioned above.

I hope this is of some help.

Allan


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: caz2ufolk
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 10:22 AM

Allan C - Thankyou for taking the risk. Very helpful information. Unfortunately I have little knowledge as to what happens to the tuning of a guitar when you put a cappo on. I just put it on and play.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: GUEST,Mark. West Sussex U.K.
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 09:29 PM

Yes. I hate harp "lyres" (as I am told they are properly called). The Scottish group "Old Blind Dogs" use a harmonica on a mic stand in a thing that looks like a vacuum cleaner brush. I fine that a universal mic holder, which is basically a big spring clip, will hold most small harmonicas providing you pad the clip out with foam. I used upholstery foam off-cuts. You also need a boom mic to get the angle. I also have a weird piece of pipe with a clamp on a wing nut but I picked it up in a junk shop. It fits into ordinary mic holders and holds any harp providing you dont tighten it too much and squash the frame. But nobody knows what the hell this contraption is or what it was originally used for. I took it into several old-fashioned hardware stores but they just stared in bewilderment. Try the universal mic holder. It works for me and it is a cheap solution. I asked in a number of music shops for a purpose designed product but without success. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 10:10 PM

Not being a harmonica player—at least not recently—I checked at The Harmonica Spot to see if an Eb harmonica was even being made. I don't think I've ever seen one in a music store showcase but it turns out both the Marine Band and Honer's Blues Harmonicas are available in all tweleve keys.

What sort of music do you play? My impression is that cowboy songs and such use a harmonica played in it's intended key but most other forms seem to play the harmonica in "crossed" position. That is an Ab ten-hole diatonic harp would be used to play in Eb and the tonic (Eb) note is a draw note instead of a blow note. Do you play that style as well?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: caz2ufolk
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 04:09 AM

Mark uk - thanks for the info I am off to london for a couple of days so I will browse the music shops on shaftsbury avenue for a universal mic holder.

Mark Clark - thanks for the link to Harmonica spot. Just recentley taken up the harmonica have a E and a D Lee Oskar inherited from a musicial friend. I have found the harmonica a great little instrument for 'padding' out songs'

I like to play English folk and American country music.

carol


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 05:30 AM

You can get an E flat Lee Oskar harmonica, but the shop you go to may have to order one. It's not a key that most shops would stock. Or you could try the capo up another fret and play the E harmonica. That'll save you about £20! The change in pitch shouldn't be too critical for your voice. If you're playing with other people with fixed pitch instruments, like fiddles and accordians, they would probably prefer the key of D.

The point that Mark raises only really applies to blues and blues related music. You would know if you were playing that style.

Les


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: GUEST,caz2ufolk
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 03:47 PM

thanks Les logged on from a friends house. I will take your advise very seriously.

carol


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: dr soul
Date: 04 May 01 - 01:01 AM

Goodness, I hope I'm not too late posting to the thread -

To play harmonica in 2nd postion (i.e. cross harp) and end up in E flat, you'll need an A flat harmonica. After all, an A harp plays blues in E, so it stands to reason that an Ab will play blues in Eb.

Re what harmonicas to use - I played Hohners for years, but about five to ten years ago noticed the reeds started going flat very very quickly. I've switched to Lee Oskars, which last a lot longer, and have the advantage of having replaceable reed plates. (Of course, so do Special 20's and some other Hohners). However, A flats are among the most difficult key harmonicas to locate, so I wouldn't be too picky about what kind it is if you do find one.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 May 01 - 01:30 AM

Suggest you also PM Little Hawk if he does not post... wow! on harmonica.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 04 May 01 - 10:10 AM

If harmonica players are still reading this thread, can I recommend my favourite - Lee Oskar in the key of 'low F '.

Harmonica makers usually make the F harmonica the highest and the G the lowest, but you can get a Lee Oskar in 'low F', a full tone below the G one. Many singers sing in F (I do myself quite often) and you can get some lovely tones on this harmonica. In fact, if someone else is singing in F with the kind of song the harmonica accompaniment fits, my little heart beats just that bit faster, and my hands fly to 'low F' gob-iron.

(Remember we're not talking cross-harp here, but straight harp).

Les


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: dr soul
Date: 05 May 01 - 02:42 AM

Amen! I love that Low F Lee Oskar. Harps in the lower keys (G, A, and the low F) give a chunkier, twangier tone, so this one really gets it. If the band is in C, I'll put the normal (high) F harp in my shirt pocket and just comp with the Low F harp, playing rhythm behind the verse. If I get a solo, I'll pull out the high F because the higher tone cuts through the band. The best of both worlds!

By the way, the all-time low chunky harp tone belongs to Sunny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), recorded live with the Yardbirds, on "Bye Bye Bird". He's playing a special Marine Band harmonica in the key of C, but an octave lower than the standard C harp. If you play straight harp you'd be half an octave under Sonny Boy!


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: GUEST,Rayzor
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 11:17 PM

After reading this all the way through, I'm not sure that the comments fit the question but here goes my comment anywho. I play diatonics and tremolos as well as playing at chromatics. As for keys I have sets of 12 in both the diatonics and tremolos... Thus answering another question posed as to whether anyone produced an E flat harmonica. The answer is yes but my tremolo harmonicas list it as a D# and my A# would normally be listed as a B flat.... Who would have thunk it.

Rayzor


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: PHJim
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 12:33 PM

I also love the low D harps. They're especially good for fiddle tunes since they put you in the same range as the fiddle. I like to play "fin twiddle" duets with a fiddle player using my low D harp.

Mark Clark said:
"What sort of music do you play? My impression is that cowboy songs and such use a harmonica played in it's intended key but most other forms seem to play the harmonica in "crossed" position. That is an Ab ten-hole diatonic harp would be used to play in Eb and the tonic (Eb) note is a draw note instead of a blow note. Do you play that style as well?"

Mark, I've found more use for straight harp playing than cross harp. Cross harp is great for bluesey sounding stuff, but I like straight harp for fiddle tunes or jazz standards like OLD ROCKIN' CHAIR'S GOT ME.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 01:39 PM

I am just learning to Cross Harp after 30 years of straight harp playing. I find straight harp to be more melodic which fits Folk best to my ears and cross harp with fewer melody notes to be very rhythmic which fits the Bluesy/ Rock and Roll sense of a song.

Huang Harmnicas, (Bac-Pac and Star Performer,= Marine Band and Goldem Melody Hohners) are very inexpensive but quite well made and come in most every key available. In fact my Bac-Pacs have outlasted my Marine Bands. And nothing beats the Golden Melodies.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 02:41 PM

Since this thread started, the Internet has made harps in all keys much more easily available, through online outlets such as Amazon.com (which connects you with several other stores for harps they don't keep stocked) and eBay (though the Buy It Now items from most retailers tend to be overpriced). You can sometimes pick up slightly used harps in the less popular keys on eBay, at a good discount.

If you mostly want to play diatonic melodies, there are a few other tunings that fill in some troublesome melodic gaps in the standard (Richter diatonic) tuning, though at the expense of chords (which you might not play anyway). The most popular are the "Paddy" Richter and the Lee Oskar "Melody Maker". The Melody Maker is played in cross-position, providing a different range of available notes relative to the base of the key (the tonic). This means that some tunes will better fit a Paddy and some better fit a Melody Maker, while most tunes are playable on either. Other threads here have discussed (hotly) these other tunings and their relative merits.

As for guitar keys, capoing, harmonica keys and cross-position harps, this could all be easily explained with a few charts, but I'm too lazy at the moment to draw them up. Several charts would be needed, since there are a few basic guitar keys which are generally played without capoing.

The simplest chart is this: the circular set of half-step progressions. Moving the capo up a fret is equivalent to moving up (left) one half-step.

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G ...

So if you play uncapoed in G, and you put a capo on the 3rd fret, you'd effectively be playing in A#/Bb, and need the corresponding (standard) harp.

Conversely, to find out where you need to capo to play a certain key with more familiar chords, you move right. So to play in Bb, you could capo on the first fret and play in A or capo on the third fret and play in G -- or even capo on the 6th fret and play in E. You'd still need a Bb harp, however.

To play a certain key on harp in cross-position, move 5 half-steps right (up) or 7 half-steps left (down), and that's the harp you'd need. For example, to play A in cross-position, you need a D harp. (Note: Even though Melody Makers are played in cross-position, they are marked according to the key you actually play, so you don't have to bother figuring out the equivalent standard diatonic key.)

BTW, to find the relative minor key, move three half-steps left (down). Conversely, to find the relative major key for a minor key, move three half-steps right (up).

For simplicitly, I'm omitted the enharmonic equivalents of the natural notes (like B# for C), since you rarely encounter them as key or chord names. Basically, a sharp moves you one half-step up (left) and a flat one half-step down (right). Double sharps/flats move you two half-steps.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 07:27 PM

Artful Codger
as a long time muso - and a keyboard player, I'm confused by your left/right comments, as a keyboard player would go right to go up a semitone... and as a right hand position when I tried to play guitar, would also go up for a semitone rise too...


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 08:24 PM

Well, if you were not so Foole-ish, you'd notice that the notes do go up as you go right in my chart. This corresponds with keyboard layout. But if it makes more sense to you the other way (which is counter-intuitive, to me) by all means, flip the chart and the directions.

Whether you go left or right depends upon what you have and what you want to find out. So some of the time, you'll be moving contrary to the pitch progression of the chart itself. I indicated a couple cases of this above. If you want more explicit charts, they can all be derived from the half-tone circle as given above.

To most people, it is natural to talk about going "up the neck", which is actually starting at the nut (the highest physical point, as the guitar is held) and working physically downward toward the bridge. This is because the nut is usually considered the bottom pitch-wise, and all fret numberings proceed from it. (Oddly, the strings are numbered in reverse, with the lowest numbers being the highest pitches, and proceeding right-to-left from the visual standpoint!) I didn't make up these conventions, I just follow them. If you want to argue, you've got several centuries of musicians entrenched on the opposing side.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 09:06 PM

When I first started playing harp I had a C and an A diatonic. Many
songs that I sang were in G Major or in G Mixolydian, so I was learning cross-harp very early. Bending the notes was a little tricky at first,
but once you get it, it becomes a lot easier.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: GUEST,Reggie Miles
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 11:45 PM

Artful, I think that you forgot the "B" note in your chart. You go from A#/Bb - C. Where's the "B"?


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 12:40 AM

The hazards of typing off the cuff and not proofing--thanks for catching that! I'll repost (and extend):

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C


I'd posted a response to "maple leaf boy", but it seems to have evaporated in the Mudcat ether, so pardon if this is a repeat message. He wrote:

When I first started playing harp I had a C and an A diatonic. Many songs that I sang were in G Major or in G Mixolydian, so I was learning cross-harp very early. Bending the notes was a little tricky at first, but once you get it, it becomes a lot easier.

And using a Melody Maker makes learning the more popular cross-position even easier from the get-go, since you don't need to bend notes to get the basic diatonic notes (only a couple at the extreme ends of the range, and the lower one is an easy bend). But discussing tunings and positions quickly leads to preference wars and confusion, particularly for the folks just wanting to know "which key of harp do I use?"

The problem is that the standard Richter that everyone starts with is probably the poorest choice for playing melodies, as the big gaps in the lowest octave quickly dissuade beginners, who ask, "Where are all the notes?? Why do I have to bend so much to fill the gaps? It sounds so bad!" That's why I recommend either a Paddy or a Melody Maker as a starting or melody instrument. A Paddy has only one note different from a standard Richter, filling the most troublesome gap--sadly, you have to hunt around to find them in the US, or retune standard harps yourself (which is what I've done).

For most types of music--blues, country, rock, jazz--you'll mostly play in cross-position, so to learn cross-position most easily from the get-go, get Melody Makers. You can find some in most large music stores, and they're available in all keys from online purveyors. You probably won't use them much when you start actually playing blues and such--that's when you "graduate" to standard Richters and bending hell--but they're still great for playing diatonic melodies.

Fortunately, for beginners, whether you go with standards, Paddy's or Melody Makers, the answer to "what harmonica" remains the same: you get the same key that you're playing in (for major mode). So if you play "key of G" chords while capoing at the third fret (effectively, Bb), you need a Bb harp.

Once you start playing cross-position on standard Richters, the rules change. That's when you have to apply the "up-5 or down-7" shift I mentioned earlier. So moving from Bb, you'd find that you need an Eb harp to play Bb in cross-position. (It's not really Bb major, but you don't want the grisly details when you're already facing mental overload.) Just note that with a standard harp played cross-position, you can't play straight major; most of the simple tunes you know won't work in this position. That's why, even though cross-harp is the most common playing position, it's not the one most people start with.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 03:42 AM

Grrr... further proof of the need to proof. Foolestroupe was attempting to point out one of my errors: to move up (in pitch) on my chart you move right, not left; my first (and most crucial) instruction was wrong, though I hope the rest was correct. And my abject apologies to Foolestroupe.

To to recap:

If you capo and play as if "in key X", to find the real key (= harp key):
move right/"up"/thisaway => (one half-step for each fret)

To find where to capo (real key to "as if in" key of your choice):
move left/"down"/thataway <=

To find relative minor for a major key:
move left/down (<=) three half-steps.

To find relative major for a minor key:
move right/up (=>) three half-steps.

To play key X in cross-position:
move => 5 or <= 7, and that's the harp you need.
(Standard harps only, NOT Melody Makers)

To find the cross-harp key of a standard harp in key X:
move <= 5 or => 7.

(Now, someone check this over and make sure I haven't slipped up again.)

You can play minor tunes on a major harp, as long as they don't involve accidentals (particularly, major 7ths). To find the harp you'd need follow the rule for finding a relative major: move => 3 half-steps. Then start the scale two diatonic notes lower (on a standard Richter, this will be a ghastly doubly-bent note!)

With Melody Makers (only), you have another option: move <= 2 half-steps to find the harp, start one diatonic note higher, and bend down draw 5. Why would you? Because you sometimes run into minor tunes which also have major 6ths. And you may not have the "up 3" harp to play that key.

Of course, there are also harps in special minor tunings.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 06:30 AM

For playing tunes in Irish sessions I rarely need anything other than low D, G and A harps. You can play in first, second, third, fourth and twelfth positions to get all the keys(modes?)used in Irish. The Paddy Richter retune is very important for the G harp especially but no harm can come from having all your 10-hole harps in that tuning. Then you have just the odd tunes with accidentals which can be tricky to get by bending (for example, it's hard to get Cnat on a D harp). You either skip or bluff these occasional tunes or you equip yourself with a couple of chroms, in D and G. Or get a Hohner XB40 if you are into getting missing notes by bending. I've never found much use for Melody Maker and, especially, minor-key harps. In Irish, the "minor" tunes are nearly all either Dorian or Aeolian mode and can therefore be played on standard-tuned harps. I speak not of genres other than Irish.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 11:51 AM

Since the mode can of worms has been opened, here's how to find which harp you need to play key X of mode Y:

Major/Ionian: you're there; to play B major, you need a B harp.
Dorian: move <= 2 half-steps; scale starts one diatonic note higher.
   To play A Dorian, you need a G harp (2 half-steps down from A)
Phrygian: move <= 4 half-steps; starts two notes higher
Lydian: move <= 5 half-steps; starts three notes higher
Mixolydian: move => 5 half-steps; starts three notes lower
Minor/Aeolian: move => 3 half-steps; starts two notes lower
Locrian: move => 1 half-step; starts one note lower (like you'll ever need this)

So, to play G Dorian, you move 2 left from G; you need an F harp, and (on a standard or Paddy) the scale would start on draw 4 rather than blow 4. To play E Mixolydian, move 5 right from E; you need an A harp, and the scale starts on draw 3 rather than blow 4. (On a Melody Maker, the major scale starts on draw 2 or blow 6, so you figure the new scale start relative to these.)


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 07:33 PM

Blimey, clear as mud there...

Here you go. My bias is towards Irish traditional, but what I say would apply widely. I'm talking here about 10-hole diatonic harps. Harp positions in brackets.

D harp: D major(1), A Mixolydian (2), E Dorian (3),B Aeolian (4), G Lydian/G major hexatonic (12).

G harp: G major (1), D Mixolydian (2), A Dorian (3), E Aeolian (4), C Lydian/C major hexatonic (12).

For those 12th position tunes you could nearly always play in first position on a harp in the key of the tune (in the above examples, a G harp and a C harp respectively), though it's nice to use 12th position if you want to make up sets with key-changes in them.
Note that what is referred to as "cross-harp" is actually second position, so if you play an A polka on a D harp you are playing cross-harp. Most of us just do it without thinking about modes or positions. Another point is that Lydian hardly ever arises in Irish tunes but I kept that in because there are a few 12th position tunes that are not exactly Lydian but which are great to include for the possibilities of key-changes in sets.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 05:26 PM

Minor key harmonicas are great fun to plsy - especially the harmonic minor ones, for that Eastern European sound.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 11:55 PM

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)?


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?@reggie
From: GUEST,shayaa
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 11:36 AM

Hi there,
it's probably off topic, but anyhow. I found an old post from you about the song alcohol. You wrote about jerome gordon bedker. I once knew a man called jerome gordon bedker, I'm trying to find anything about him for the last years... Did "your" Jerome used to live in Germany? Performancing on medieval festivals?
Please give me a note...
Yours, shaya


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 12:45 PM

yeah melody makers are great for learning cross harp , they are great for irish music, so are standard 10 key harmonicas and so are paddy richters. some tunes like stack of wheat are better on paddy richters, some such as greencastle and maggie morrisey are better on ordinary standard 10 key harmonicas.they all have advantages and disadvantages


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: reggie miles
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 01:51 AM

Hey shayaa, yes, that would be the same Jerome. What kind of info were you hoping to find?

I believe that his brother lives somewhere in the area. I used to bump into him every so often. This part of the Pacific Northwest is where Jerome's family settled and where he grew up.

A sad part of the story, about Jerome's death, is that he had more than just an addiction to alcohol. Because he knew his condition would not get any better and that he would eventually deteriorate from it, I think he went out of his way to hasten his demise via any additional means he could find.

He invited me to Germany, toward the end, to be a driver for him as he traveled and performed. He said he would introduce me to the right folks and by doing so, I might be able to gain some needed contacts in Germany for my own musical endeavors, but I was never able to afford to get over there.

I wish that I could have had the opportunity to spend some more time with him before he died. I always enjoyed his blues playing and singing style. It would have been sweet to have him show me around Germany. But he was in such bad shape, that I was worried about whether I would have been put in the awkward position of enabling his decision to quicken his pace toward the inevitable.

Jerome used to play a beat up, old, large bodied, Kay flat-top guitar. The neck was badly warped. So, you could only finger it in the first position (near the nut). However, the high action along the rest of the neck made it perfect for bottleneck slide style playing. That playing style is one that we both shared a fascination with exploring.

The last time that Jerome dropped by my house, he left that old Kay with me. He knew that I had looked for one of those guitars for a long time but never had any luck locating one. So, he always told me, that if he died, he would want me to have it.

It's unfortunate that Jerome went back to Germany owing his brother an undisclosed amount of money. After he left, I was surprised to see his brother arrive at my door, looking for a guitar that belonged to Jerome. His brother claimed that Jerome wanted him to send the guitar to him in Germany.

Here's what I believe was actually happening. I think that Jerome's brother thought that the guitar that he left with me had some high dollar value and that perhaps he could sell it to cover the money that Jerome owed him. He insisted that I give him the guitar, despite my explaining that it had no great value given its condition.

However, it did have sentimental value, knowing that it was a guitar that Jerome played. It also had value to me as a bottleneck slide player. I was proud that Jerome offered it to me as a parting gesture before he left for Germany and I was sad to see his brother at my door asking for it.

I don't know if the story that his brother told me, about Jerome wanting the guitar sent to Germany, was a true or not. If Jerome wanted it sent, he could have called me and asked me to send it. I gave it to his brother just the same. I'd be surprised to learn that Jerome had actually received the guitar before he died. I wouldn't be surprised if his brother still has it and thinks it's some kind of highly valued treasure.

It was a treasure, in that it was something that Jerome played and made sing, in a very sweet way, while he was still with us. I would have liked to continue to play it and make it sing, as he had and in so doing, keep that part of Jerome alive.

I've not seen his brother since that day.


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Subject: RE: Help: What harmonica do I use.....?
From: GUEST,shaya
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 04:13 AM

Unfortunately we are talking about the same Jerome... it makes me sad to finally know the truth. I met Jerome in Germany (I'm German and still live here in Bavaria), we fell in love. I was 19 and he was 42, it didn't work out. Nevertheless I tried to keep in touch with him. When I lived in Wahsington D.C. he wanted to visit me, but became hospitalized (1995), I haven't seen him ever since. Back then he used to drink too much, that was one of the reasons our relationship didn't work out. It is so heartbreaking, that such a wonderful man, with so much music and spirit, died that way. I still remember how he painted the seasons... I loved him, I really did. I loved him so much that I couldn't bear to watch his self-destruction. May he find peace, he sure deserves it. Sorry to hear about his guitar and his brother. I'm sure Jerome wanted you to have this guitar - it is a treasure indeed, for Jerome used to play it for such a long time that sure some of his spirit is still in there.
What shall I say? Even though I'm married for 8 years now, having three children, I will light a candle for Jerome, for he was a very, very special person. I will keep his memory alive.
Thank you for telling me about Jerome!
Yours, shaya

PS: You don't happen to be Alfred...? Jerome visited a friend, while I lived in DC, I called him there...


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