Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > G Harmonica.
G Harmonica.
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1 post
Jan 06, 2018
2:47 PM
Hi folks, new player (well, just over a year) and new member here just saying hello and with a quick question.
I currently have Special 20's in A and C and I'm after a lower harp.
Is a standard G Harmonica a low one, ie 2 semitones below my A, or is it a high pitched squealer?
I'm presuming it's a low one but I just wanted to make sure before I go out and buy one.
Thanks in advance.
283 posts
Jan 06, 2018
2:56 PM
You are correct: G is two eemitones lower than A. The packaging will otherwise say High G. Welcome and ood luck!
2 posts
Jan 06, 2018
2:59 PM
Thank you honker, it's as I thought then, but it's always worth making sure!
5175 posts
Jan 06, 2018
3:16 PM
Yep, there are harps in G which are an octave higher, but always labelled ‘High G’ (or HiG)
3 posts
Jan 06, 2018
3:26 PM
I bet those high ones are pretty piercing to the eardrums!
2440 posts
Jan 06, 2018
4:41 PM
Hohner used to make the Vest Pocket in high G, then renamed it Piccolo. It was a 2/3 size 10 hole harp.

If one wants one can find low register harps in several keys such as D, Eb, and F, and I'm sure there are more.

There is also the Lucky 13 harp these days which has a low register added.




2405 posts
Jan 06, 2018
4:54 PM
High G harps are dog whistles.
There, I said it.
72 posts
Jan 06, 2018
5:04 PM
High Gs are great for making lasting friendships with the neighbors.
1670 posts
Jan 06, 2018
5:45 PM
If someone calls a really fast song in D, and you want to play 2nd position, a High G is the only way to go! Like my low F, it is a necessary tool in the kit. I use mine seldom, but value it "highly."

A regular lower pitched G just cannot play that fast! However,the sound of a High G IS a bit piercing.

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Jan 06, 2018 5:48 PM
3064 posts
Jan 10, 2018
6:55 AM
prefer regular G.....and regular F......
1362 posts
Jan 10, 2018
8:44 AM
Quite possible to sound good even on a high A harp:
112 posts
Jan 10, 2018
8:54 AM
I love my High G - its fast, and it cuts through the mix when playing with an amped up band.

For sure, a new player should start on a standard G. But intermediate players can make good use of all 14 harps - a full set of 12, plus a Low F and a High G.

Last Edited by AppalachiaBlues on Jan 10, 2018 8:57 AM
3536 posts
Jan 10, 2018
2:59 PM
I have two High G Lee Oskars that groyster gave to me. Nice gesture but they are a bit shrill. I just got an idea. I'll make one of them an F#.
Reasonably priced Reed Replacement and tech support on Hand Made Series Hohner Diatonic Harmonicas.

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694 posts
Jan 10, 2018
4:31 PM
@dougharps: I've recently rearranged my case so the default F is low, but I can switch to high where, as you pointed out, it's needed. Generally I prefer the low, and if too low, can often go to Bb in 3rd. So the high doesn't see much use anymore.

The Iceman
3440 posts
Jan 11, 2018
12:34 PM
Hello tingtang -

I understand you've been into harmonica about a year, so it's reasonable to conclude that you are into learning how to play at this stage in your career.

Here's an advanced learning concept that applies to beginners, too.

Get a Low AND a High G harmonica. When you start to develop different techniques, hone your skill on the low G. Then....work on that same skill on the high G. You'll notice it takes a subtle shift in mouth/tongue/breath to work that high harmonica. Once you "own" the technique on both the low and the high G, you will have it for life and will pretty much be able to adapt to any pitched harmonica in between with ease.
The Iceman

Last Edited by The Iceman on Jan 11, 2018 12:36 PM
4 posts
Jan 12, 2018
4:51 AM
Iceman, I think that's very good advice, and I'd been sort of coming to the same conclusion myself.

At this point I even find it takes some adjustment of technique, particularly regarding breath, when changing between my C and A harps.
I'm slowly getting the hang of it, but I do think it's a subject that's maybe a bit under emphasised - in all the stuff I've read and videos I've watched it isn't an aspect of harmonica playing that's talked about all that much.

Thanks for the advice - I bought my low G yesterday and maybe a high G will be next on the list. From one extreme to the other!
The Iceman
3441 posts
Jan 12, 2018
7:24 AM
I've posted at great length on this forum (and others) regarding harmonica technique - breathe the harmonica, not suck/blow, accurate bending is centered around the tongue placement, etc.

I don't know how to search this site for past threads and comments, but maybe someone else can tell you how to do it. Lotsa great info here, especially for beginners!
The Iceman
9701 posts
Jan 12, 2018
11:21 AM
G is the lowest 'regular' harp. It's pretty common for people to play Low F (or Low F# harmonicas if they happen to have an oddball song in F#), but those harps are labeled Low. A normal F# harp is the highest 'regular' harmonica, so it goes:

G Ab A Bb B C Db(C#) Eb E F F#(Gb)

Anything lower than that G will be labeled 'Low' or something to that effect. Anything higher than that F# will be labeled 'High' or something to that effect.

(And of course, Db/C# are the same harmonica, as are F#/Gb. They label them differently in Asia though.

Iceman, just type the search in the search box on the Forum Search tab!

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First Post- May 8, 2009
194 posts
Jan 12, 2018
11:56 AM
Ya forgot D
The Iceman
3442 posts
Jan 12, 2018
12:04 PM
Nate - I'm a dummy. Where is the Forum Search tab?
The Iceman
115 posts
Jan 12, 2018
1:12 PM
The Seydel steel reed harps have Low F# as standard. The highest steel reeded key is F.

Seydel also makes higher keys, but only in the brass models.

I like that lower F#, but I think it should be called a Gb.
1672 posts
Jan 12, 2018
1:19 PM
@The Iceman

Forum search is found by hovering over the BLUES HARP FORUM tab on the left side. When the menu expands, there it is!

Doug S.
1673 posts
Jan 12, 2018
1:28 PM
I still use regular highish F for most of my playing except the slow and expressive stuff, though I use low F more and more often, sometimes switching in one song.

I use high G for fast bluegrass or jump blues, and low G for anything slower where expressiveness instead of speed is desired.

I see a set of 14 different Richter diatonics as my basic harp set. I use low F# as standard in that set, though I have a high F# in my gig case. I also carry low D, low Eb, and low E in my gig case, and 8 keys of chromatics. Low D is great for third position in Em. I am considering buying a low C, too!

Depending on the gig I may toss in some country tuned, paddy richter, and minor harps, too, though I only use them very occasionally.

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Jan 12, 2018 1:30 PM

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