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I've read few articles about it, but none of them seem to help me with this problem.

Let's say we have a song in certain key - which harmonica should I choose? Let me give you an example, we have a song "She caught the Katy":

I have tried many keys (C, E, F - that's all I have) and none of them fit. Any Ideas?

And is there any general method of choosing harmonica key basing on key of the song?

Thanks for any help!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is indeed in Bb. Which means to play in a bluesy way, you have to suck more than blow. Go up a fourth and there's your answer. An Eb harp, which, when sucked, will give notes akin to Bb9.

To play an ordinary melody, you'll use Bb, the key it's in.

To play blues, you need to be a perfect fifth above/ perfect fourth below your existing harp key. So, blues in C - harp in F.On your C harp, play G blues, on your E harp, play B blues, and on the F harp, C blues'll sound good.

If you're trying this number with a band, get them to do it in C,as it's closest to Bb, and use the F harp.Or buy others - you will eventually need the full set to jam in any key !

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If I'm hearing correctly, the band in the recording is playing in Bb. To give it a bluesy sound, you will want to use your Eb harp.

You want to learn about the Circle of Fifths and playing in the different "positions" on your harp. In particular, first position or "straight harp" is playing music in the key of the harmonica. Second position or "cross harp" or "blues harp" is playing a perfect fifth above the key of the harp. That is, on your C harp, play in G.

For the question I hear buried in this, which harp should I buy? The answer is, eventually all of them :-D Talk to your bandmates and determine the most common keys your songs are in and get the harps for those

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