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I tune my guitar half step flat to make it easier to sing the songs I love to play. I also play harmonica along with guitar on many songs that feature a harmonica solo (Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" for example).

In standard tuning, Heart of Gold uses a G Major Diatonic harp. So it would stand to reason that I would need a G Flat harp to play the song a half step lower. However, when searching for a G Flat harp, I can't find any. What I have found is Major Diatonic harps in the key of F sharp - but with most Harmonica makers, that is the highest tuned Diatonic harp they offer and is too shrill for my taste.

I have found that Seydel and Lee Oskar offer a LOW F# Major Diatonic Harp which is basically a G Flat. But why don't they call it G Flat.

Every place I have looked online offers the following Major Diatonic Keys in their harmonicas: C, G, A, D, E, F, Bb, B, F#, Eb, Ab and Db.

So my question really is why is key of G flat, represented by F# and F is the only "sharp" key offered by Harmonica manufacturers.

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    the note G♭ is only used in the keys G♭ and D♭, but F# is used in every sharp key – Legorhin Nov 14 '19 at 22:51
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    @Legorhin Good point. But the question is about key vs individual notes. There must be more to it. But your point could be part of the reason. – Rockin Cowboy Nov 14 '19 at 22:58
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Maybe nothing to do with common key signatures. B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭ going on to G♭ with 6 flats. Because F♯ also has 6 sharps.

However - that very note F♯ features a heck of a lot more in music than its enharmonic equivalent of G♭. It's a better known name!

The best place to ask this is with the manufacurers - who will probably say 'we've always done it this way', which is no help at all!

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  • You are probably right about all. – Rockin Cowboy Nov 18 '19 at 19:54
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An Gb and an F# harmonica are the same thing. The same note has two different names. An E## harmonica would also be the same.

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    There's some market potential here! They could sell a lot more harmonicas, one with the pitch written using sharps and another with flats ...;) Maybe another with "fixed do notation?" A separate "H" harmonica for playing German music etc. – piiperi Reinstate Monica Nov 15 '19 at 8:28
  • @piiperiReinstateMonica - I'm pretty sure I had, in the '60s, harmonicas with H stamped on them. – Tim Dec 16 '19 at 7:58

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