14 votes

Why are notes on the harmonica laid out the way they are?

Actually it's the last 4 holes that produce the opposite effect you describe. I will explain why the original harmonica engineer set it up this way. First thing to note, is the harmonica was not ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Can flat notes be played on a chromatic harmonica?

All flat notes are sharp or natural notes. Ab = G# Bb = A# (Cb = B) Db = C# Eb = D# (Fb = E) Gb = F# Or, to put it another way, any flat note you might want is covered by the four "settings" of a ...
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8 votes
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Making 12 bar blues more interesting

There are lots of ways to modify a 12-bar blues progression. I will narrow it down quite a bit because from your references to Led Zeppelin and Muddy Waters I gather that you're not so much interested ...
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  • 19.6k
7 votes
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Tired mouth after practicing blues harmonica

In my opinion half an hour sounds perfectly normal. I suppose that is half an hour of constant playing? Most blues featuring harmonica do not call for it to be played continously but rather in a "...
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  • 1,417
7 votes

Am-Dm-Am-E songs (usually powerful folk songs) what key could they be in? What diatonic blues harp or penny whistle to use?

What key? A minor, see Richard's answer (and my comment) Which Harmonica to use Harmonica is a diatonic instrument designed to play simple major folk tunes, however that's often not the way it's ...
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  • 4,945
7 votes
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Note designs on the 10 hole major diatonic harmonica

Both of the odd aspects of the tuning you've noted are caused by the same thing: Harmonicas are originally designed to play chords! It was basically built by 19'th century Germans to play polkas. And ...
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  • 495
6 votes

Choosing the right harmonica to fit with guitar part transposed using an alternative tuning

Although it seems straight forward and simple, this is actually a tricky question. The tuning you describe is simply standard tuning - except one whole step flat. Everything Bob Broadley said in ...
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6 votes

Can a 4-hole harmonica play more than the 8 diatonic notes?

For a guide to the 4 hole harmonica, I'd recommend you check out The Ultimate Miniature Harmonica Tunebook by Pat Missin. I haven't read it, but the author is very respected in the harmonica world. To ...
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  • 495
5 votes

Is it possible to play all melody songs on 10 hole diatonic harmonica?

YES. The easy way is on a C/T harmonica with a valve on the 5 hole. This will allow you to play chromatically in the mid range of the diatonic harp. The 5 hole will require a blow bend , giving you a ...
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5 votes
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Should I learn guitar, harmonica, or violin first?

All of the below assumes whatever you do will involve daily practice (at least half an hour but an hour is better) and study (of resources on how to play). You don't need a teacher to learn harmonica ...
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  • 51.6k
5 votes
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Why does the blow/draw sequence reverse between B and C on the chromatic harmonica?

I went a bit down the rabbit hole with this one, I had some idea but in the end I ended up reading quite a lot about early chromatic harmonicas and diatonic harmonicas, so see if my ideas were in fact ...
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  • 4,945
5 votes

How to fix a not-working key on a Hohner Melodica

You can open up a melodica. There are screws holding the back on. Once you're inside the cure may be obvious. But they're still for sale, and cheap. So don't waste too much time on it. http://...
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5 votes
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Harmonica for pop music chords

Let's take a standard diatonic harmonica in C. By blowing, 3 notes are produced. C E and G. That gives us the C chord. Drawing will produce the other notes in that key - namely D F A and B. By ...
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  • 176k
5 votes

Harmonica on blues should be same Key as guitar?

Playing blues on a harp, drawing is the way to go. Blowing on, say, a C harp will give you the notes of that chord - C. So the blues notes, mainly, give the chord a fourth away - G. So, for a song in ...
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  • 176k
5 votes
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Which harmonica to accompany guitar tuned 1/2 step down?

Ahh the Neil Young classic "Heart of Gold". That is the song that inspired me to learn to play harmonica and guitar at the same time. It's just not the same without the harp solo. Many folk songs ...
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4 votes

How to avoid excessive saliva when playing the harmonica?

http://www.bluesharmonica.com/blog_tags/taxonomy/term/1100 On any wind instrument spit is a fact of life. You will notice that larger wind instruments have a spit valve, and regularly empty it (...
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4 votes

Choosing the right harmonica to fit with guitar part transposed using an alternative tuning

Standard tuning on the guitar is E A D G B E, from the lowest/thickest string (6) to the highest/thinnest (1). Therefore, tuning the guitar strings down to D G C F A D, from lowest to highest, will ...
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4 votes

Can a 4-hole harmonica play this song?

There are a couple of problems. The harp is most likely diatonic, and has a major scale playable, with an octave - 8 notes- range. The song has a range of 10 notes, so the highest two COULD be played ...
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  • 176k
4 votes

Should I get a 12 hole or 16 hole chromatic harmonica?

I think the confusion comes from the naming of the notes. In C major, the notes will be C,D,E,F,G,A,B and the next C. This gives all the notes you need diatonically to play in key C.With the button ...
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  • 176k
4 votes

Help with notes of chromatic harmonica!! I have only 3 days to practise!

It's going to depend a lot on what key you play the piece in. It's Cm in the original, which will not be too bad for you, as it modulates to C maj. When you blow 4 or 5 notes simultaneously, button ...
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  • 176k
4 votes

Am-Dm-Am-E songs (usually powerful folk songs) what key could they be in? What diatonic blues harp or penny whistle to use?

I can't speak for what blues harp or penny whistle to use, but I can address the question of key: Pieces with progressions like Am--Dm--Am--E are unequivocally in the key of A minor. If you've ever ...
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  • 79.3k
4 votes

C Minor Chord on a Chromatic Harmonica in the key of C

Is there perhaps a technique I can use to lower the pitch of the E to Eb while blowing a C triad? No there isn't. For minor key chord stuff people tend to play chromatic harmonicas in D minor or Eb ...
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  • 4,945
4 votes

Only one key possible to play in for harmonicas?

Diatonic harmonicas are capable of playing in multiple keys. This is done a few of different ways. The most common type of blues playing is called "cross harp," which involves using a harmonica in ...
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  • 6,433
4 votes

Choosing the right harmonica and key

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 ...
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  • 176k
4 votes

Harmonica on blues should be same Key as guitar?

Generally, for blues, if guitar plays in C you would use an F harp. This is to get the Bb ("blue 7th"), otherwise known as Mixolydian mode. In general, you want the harp whose key is a perfect 4th ...
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  • 3,429
4 votes
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How to hit the right hole on the harmonica

caveat: I'm not an expert, but I've learned a little bit from my grandfather. You can get the effect you want by puckering up to produce a really small hole, but you'll probably be better off in the ...
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3 votes
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Is it possible to Overblow in Hohner Silverstar Harmonica?

It's quite possible that a harp like that may well have 1 or 2 overblows out of the box, if you're not unlucky (probably on hole 6 or 5). However, to get them to come out cleanly (or sometimes to ...
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  • 4,945
3 votes

Is it possible to play all melody songs on 10 hole diatonic harmonica?

I think you've got the answer and just need clarification. You could learn to play a convincing A by bending with more practice. You can even learn to bend on the blow notes. And there are also ...
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  • 51.6k
3 votes
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Is it possible to play all melody songs on 10 hole diatonic harmonica?

Start by drawing on hole 8 will give you the notes without bending. An octave higher than where you originally want, though. It can also be played on a G harp, starting on hole 6, with a blow. The ...
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  • 176k
3 votes

Is it possible to play all melody songs on 10 hole diatonic harmonica?

Yes, you can play all the half notes (black keys on the piano) for the whole range, but as mentioned above, a LOT of practice is needed. I'd guess a couple hundred plus hours of experimenting to get ...
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