Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > question about key of D
question about key of D
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2 posts
Apr 08, 2017
12:08 PM
was racking my brain when it dawned on me i needed to pose this question to you folks!
Ok- in a musical and we are doing a rock song in key of D. the guitar chords are d5, G, A, d5, F, G, d5. the song is "get over it" by eagles when they got back together back in the 90s.

i grabbed my G harp to solo at the end hoping to really throw down (trading with guitars) and it just didn't feel right. i mean, normally you play second position and you have to try to screw it up ;) I realized i haven't really jammed 2nd position with my G harp, it's usually my melody one for folk/country/grass etc.

question> is G normally too low and is this why they make a high G key? like any good musician i used it for an excuse to order a new harmonica...so i will eventually try that. just looking for any tips or advice. i could be i was staying down in that 2-4 hole range like normal and not getting enough loud sound cutting thru the drums
1396 posts
Apr 08, 2017
2:46 PM
If I were playing this song in D and wanted to jam out with the guitars, I would absolutely choose one of my high G harps. The regular G would lag too much at that pace, and wouldn't cut through the mix.

Others may disagree...

Doug S.
3011 posts
Apr 08, 2017
2:55 PM
I just gave it a listen-I would use a C harp in third.
It does have a slight minor feel to it.
2147 posts
Apr 08, 2017
3:44 PM
I have made some hybrid harps for the low keys, for example in G--
What were holes 1-8 are now 3-10, but high--
So it's a high G, but starts | B d | E f# |
So the bottom draw is a D chord, great for soloing in Second position.
That said, my Special 20 in G is a Stage 1 Spiers harp, really easy to bend.
But now I am changing to Manjis, we will see what happens.
4052 posts
Apr 08, 2017
9:10 PM
the key of D has 2 sharps.....

you are showing a F chord so that would eliminate the key of D
3 posts
Apr 08, 2017
9:29 PM
thanks guys! great stuff, i appreciate it!
1956 posts
Apr 08, 2017
10:42 PM
If I know something is in a key, but I am uncertain if it is major or minor, I, like tmf714, will usually chose 3rd position. You can play the full major or minor scale on the low end in third. The middle of the harp gives you a Dorian scale if you use no bends. It is a very versatile position once you get to know it.
1288 posts
Apr 08, 2017
11:27 PM
If you're not used to playing a G harp it can seem low, dull in tone with no cut, and hard to manage.

But if you work at it, it will repay the effort. Check out Sonny Boy II making it sound muscular on "Your Funeral and My Trial":

Or Little Walter on Thunderbird (though he does switch to chromatic, as he often did on D tunes):

Listening to the Eagles tune, it sounds like a G-harp in second or a C-harp in third would both work fine.


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1397 posts
Apr 09, 2017
8:02 AM
Here is the song, instrumentals at the end around 3:20. I like the use of regular G in Winslow's examples, but this is a rocker:

Eagles - Get Over It - Hell Freezes Over from Cadu Morais on Vimeo.

I like how it lays on a high G harp in 2nd, but I still think you need the cut you get with a high G as opposed to a regular G. The higher pitch and quick response of the high G suits the mood of the song and most closely fits the pitches of the guitars at the end.

You can do it just fine on a C in third, too, and that is closer to the guitar pitches and mood than cross on a regular G. If I didn't have a high G in my kit, I would absolutely go with C in 3rd as opposed to regular G in 2nd.

Either is a good option for this fast paced rock song. If you don't have a high G, I would recommend going with a C in 3rd.

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Apr 09, 2017 8:03 AM
2094 posts
Apr 09, 2017
8:03 AM
@1847: Lots of rock or R&B tunes have a major chord on the flat third like that. Think of Midnight Hour; transposed to D it's intro is C, A, G, F. Knock On Wood does the same thing in the opposite direction: in D it starts D, F-G, A, C, A, G, F, D.

The famous intro to Proud Mary is another one: it goes C, A, C, A, C, A, G, F and the finally D for the beginning of the verse. (I just read an interview with John Fogerty where he says he nicked that from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.)

Last Edited by timeistight on Apr 09, 2017 8:26 AM
4 posts
Apr 09, 2017
1:42 PM
great info dudes, i appreciate it! the high G harp gets delivered tomorrow so will try that. also great tip on the C in third position. i have yet to purposely play 3rd position so this will be a learning experience.

this new one is a lee oskar too, i haven't tried his harps so that will be something to look forward too!
250 posts
Apr 10, 2017
7:51 PM
i don't like playing in D with a loud band unless I know the guys--so I can ask them to lay back on my lead

If its a fast song in D Id rather play an Hi G--especially with a fast lead guitarist
IMO what happens with a loud band in D using regular harp
!] u cant hear u
2]band ant hear u
3] audience can't hear u
4] I play to hard to compensate
5] reeds on Regular harp react slower than Hi g

I have deliberately taped off holes 1-6 on harps in
[ G Ab A Bb maybe C] for practice and muscle memory
I know On a good harp .in those keys its not to difficult to get both blow bend on hole 10

so if i an playing a G A Ab Bb especially A and G I will play mostly holes 6-10-whats cool is;
1] people aren't use to those sounds differ nt
bends different patterns than what people are
familiar with
2] it helps cut through the mix

yes it is hard to hear a lower harp with a loud band hope this helps

Last Edited by snowman on Apr 10, 2017 7:53 PM
Chris Sachitano
10 posts
Apr 11, 2017
1:02 PM
I will go ahead and parrot the thoughts of those that say keep at it. Until I really focused on it, playing a "G" was low and breathy. I worked on tone and got it to project much better.

I know you are more "rockin," but usually if it is blues and someone calls D, I grab the Super 64 Chro or a C in third like someone else mentioned.

To learn some good 3rd position licks, check out Kim Wilson's Got to Let You Go. Its in Bb and he is using an Ab harp. (I might be wrong here, but its 3rd) that will get you used to some nice patterns to emulate.
For more "rock" 3rd position playing check out https://youtu.be/96WS4eU6TNc and see how Gruenling "comps" along.
3260 posts
Apr 11, 2017
5:41 PM
One way to strengthen your chops for playing a standard G harp is to acquire a Low Eb harp and practice everything on it. An Eb is low enough to present a challenge but not so low as to be insurmountable. I am not an afficiando of low tuned harps, but using a Low Eb for practice really pays off.

Also, a flat comb is a big help and most brands of harps do not have optimally flat combs OOB. FWIW.
5 posts
Apr 13, 2017
10:45 AM
well got to rehearse last nite for the first time since i got my HG harp. Destroyed the solo, exactly what i was looking for. i also did some stuff in third position that sounded great as well. thanks again for all the good advice and samples. after we get the full song recorded i will try to post a vid for you all.

@ the folks that recommended practicing the regular G more, that is good advice as well. that sound definitely has its place and it never dawned on me that i seldom play that baby 2nd position. even when in the rack jamming solo with my guitar, i was always doing melodies.
2151 posts
Apr 13, 2017
2:27 PM
That's great!
The only drawback to using a high G is that the top holes are higher than most folks are wishing to hear. That's why the hybrid I made comes in handy--down to D4 on draw 1, F# on draw 2, and the draw 3 hole is the A you would play on hole 1 of a high G.
I have a similar problem with guitar, no low D, that's why I like having a drop D tuner. I have one installed on my Taylor, and use it all the time. That D chord sounds so much better with a real bass note.
143 posts
Apr 13, 2017
8:46 PM
The F chord is borrowed from the parallel key of D which is Dm. Very common to borrow a chord from the parallel key in a rock guitar progression. RIP Glenn Frey.
29 posts
Apr 14, 2017
1:54 PM
Good timing on this....the (loud) band I'm playing with just added Statesboro Blues and I'm having the same issues. Not very well versed in 3rd, do you think it would work for this one?
7 posts
Apr 20, 2017
7:53 AM
@Gnarly - that's pretty sweet you made your own. did you have to move reeds around? i am curious how you get the notes where you want them. guessing you really tear down the reed plate and build it up from scratch?
5 posts
Apr 24, 2017
8:16 PM
@DeltaFrostFan - I tried jamming along with a regular G harp in 2nd, and a C harp in third. Here are my observations: I can rock t out just fine with the G harp, but that's only because I've spent hundred of hours rocking G and A harps uptempo in a kind of Piedmont/Sonny Terry chicken pickin' style, so I don't think of low harps like G as slow and mellow necessarily. That said, I tried playing this shuffle on the G harp and it was underwhelming. On the chorus, I hit a 4 draw wail on the C harp...and there it was, baby! If I was doing this with a band, I'd work it out with the G cross harp on the verses, then the C third on the PreChorus and the Chorus. Or just play 3rd position throughout the song, as this is not a "Look at me I'm the harp player" song. You're laying back on this song, I'd think
9 posts
May 05, 2017
8:55 AM
@chris thanks buddy, great suggestions. i am really on the fence with that C, there are def some great spots for it. the high G fits in at the end but i never thought of doing two? like you said, i am pretty much shouting from the backseat on this ride but something to break up the guitar solos at the end. I'll give two a try at the next rehearsal!

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