Harmony Central Forums
No announcement yet.

Best harmonica key for beginner blues classes


  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Best harmonica key for beginner blues classes

    Jerry Portnoy in his online video classes for teaching beginning blues players tells us to use an "A" harp played in the key of "E", while Dave Gage of harmonica lessons.com tells beginners for learning to play blues to use a "C" harp.

    Can any blues harp players please tell me which is best for me to do?

    Thank you.





  • #2

    I am new to the harp too and have not seen any of Portnoy's video's, but he is correct about playing an "A" diatonic harp for blues songs in the key of "E".  The A is the fourth in the E scale.  Harmonicas are easiest to play in the middle positions.  Most beginning harmonica books are written for the key of C.   "On Top of Old Smokey", "Home On The Range", etc.  I suggest getting harps in the key of C, and A if you are going to play blues/rock.   Get a D too if you can afford it so you can easily play solos to blues songs in A.  Go to bluesharmonica.com for more info.   

    Everybody is terminally ill.


    • #3

      For just getting your feet wet, an "A" will be pretty handy, as a lot of Blues is played in "E", but if you stick with it, you'll eventually need several keys, possibly all 12, as different folks will sing the same song in different keys. I find, between all the positions, that "A", "C", "D", "E", and "G" covers all my repertoire, for instance.

      But an "A" will get you started...buy a reasonably good one, as a cheap one will be harder to play and will wear out MUCH faster. I favor the Hohner Big River Harps, which are a little less expensive than a Marine Band, Special 20, or a Blues Harp, but still plays/sounds nicely.


      • #4
        Thank you for a very good response and solution to my problem.


        • #5

          Spidrluvr wrote:
          Thank you for a very good response and solution to my problem.


          Pleased I could be of a little help.


          • #6
            Start with C. Good for blues in G. Also good for learning to play melodies.

            Remember that it's better to own a few good harmonicas than a big bag full of crappy ones.

            Blues Harp, Special 20, Lee Oskar, Golden Melody, Marine Band.

            After C get an A a D and a G

            I don't play the blues, the blues is just what comes out of me when I play.----------------------------------------------------------------------Harmonica (Lee Oskar & Hohner Golden Melody)Ukulele (National, Martin, Gibson, Kala)Electric Guitar (Fender MIA Strat, AVRI Tele, MIM Duo Sonic)Conga (LP "shorty" Originals Conga, Aspire quinto)