My husband is a seasoned singer songwriter and I want to buy him a harmonica for Christmas. He tunes a half step down (keeps one guitar in regular setup and another guitar in open G, though still tuned half step down).

What key harmonica should I get him? Many of his songs are in the key of G.



1 Answer 1


If it's for a bluesy sound, the harp is usually a fourth above the played key. So, he plays a song in G, the harp needed will be a C harp. However, since he tunes down a semitone, the harp needs to go the same way. It needs to be in B. When he uses the open G tuned guitar, the far more common C harp is the choice.

If it's a German made harmonica, you'll be looking not for 'B' - 'cos that's Bb in English, but H!

  • I hope this couple is open to non-surprise gifts, as it would be a shame to give an instrument, even if in the right key, that isn't exactly what the husband is dreaming of. (He might even prefer a chromatic harp). I'm wimpy so I would take my partner shopping to pick out the make and model of their dreams. Dec 6, 2018 at 13:18
  • @CarlWitthoft - good point, especially with such a big range in prices as well as no. of holes. Don't see many playing chromonicas instead of blues harps these days though.
    – Tim
    Dec 6, 2018 at 13:24
  • Should these comments be migrated to Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange......?
    – coconochao
    Dec 7, 2018 at 17:23
  • @coconochao - interesting idea...no! If my other half wanted to buy me a surprise guitar/keys/bass/drums/etc., she would have more sense than to just go out and buy something on a whim. Just as I wouldn't buy her an outfit without consultation. Surprise gone; sanity (and relationship) intact.
    – Tim
    Dec 7, 2018 at 17:32

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