beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > What is your favorite Keys?
What is your favorite Keys?
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Frankie
69 posts
Feb 21, 2018
9:02 AM
I am curious what Keys do you guys use most?
MindTheGap
2534 posts
Feb 21, 2018
9:24 AM
Bb is the best. The perfect balance between the bite of the higher keys, and the softness of the lower keys. And low enough that the bends are still reasonably stable.

So, rather than my favourite, Bb IS the best key. I used to think it was A, but I was wrong.
SuperBee
5283 posts
Feb 21, 2018
1:20 PM
Key of harps I use most?
A
D
C
F/Bb/G
E

the 1st 3 account for 90% of what I do.
indigo
472 posts
Feb 21, 2018
1:37 PM
Favourite
Bb
Use most(in order)
A
C
D
mrjoeyman
45 posts
Feb 22, 2018
2:59 AM
So far Bb also
Spderyak
201 posts
Feb 22, 2018
4:53 AM
Which key favorite harmonicas for me would be..

key of C
key of Em/Am (lee oskar)
A
F
Bb
G
D
RyanMortos
1674 posts
Feb 22, 2018
7:19 AM
I've easily used the key of C the most for various reasons. One of the first keys of harmonica I got was C. Nearly every harmonica workshop I've been too has utilized C (as it's assumed it's one everyone has). My first custom full overblow/overdraw harmonica was C. The first diatonic I memorized the note layout on was C. Lots of songs in blues, country, bluegrass, acoustic music are in G.

I also commonly use (in no particular order) D, A, Bb, and G.

Not sure I have a favorite key but I know I don't really like F. If a song is called in C I tend to played 1st, 3rd, 12th, chromatic, or even Low F.

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Last Edited by RyanMortos on Feb 22, 2018 7:21 AM
SkullKid
102 posts
Feb 23, 2018
11:51 AM
I've only played C, A, Bb and I agree with MTG on Bb being the favorite by far - C doesn't sound as cool to me and A is kind of more dificult to play. I'm looking forward to buying some higher keys like D and Eb soon!
Flbl
115 posts
Feb 25, 2018
6:05 AM
I would agree that Bb is the best all around key, but for favorite I have to go with Ab.
After that A and G tie for second, and I love low key harps I have from low F down to low Ab.

If the higher keys sound a bit too shrill, but you need it to fit the music, try swapping between a low key and reg.
PichuwithaHarmonica
1 post
Mar 09, 2019
7:56 PM
My personal favorite key is Bb. I have a Bb Hohner Special 20 and it can just naturally have that bluesy wail that the harmonica's known for, especially on that 4 & 5 draw moan. To me, I feel like that harp is just made to sing the blues in that key.
Fil
418 posts
Mar 10, 2019
8:06 AM
Most used are A and C. Current favorites: D and LD. (Been studying “orange dude blues” by Raines and Sebastian.)
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Phil Pennington
SuperBee
5851 posts
Mar 11, 2019
6:43 AM
I just can’t pin it down. I already named ‘most used’, but that was not quite the same as ‘favourite’.
I haven’t seen Frankie post here for quite a while now either, just btw, fwiw, etc, and so on.

I couldn’t really consider anything below Low F as a favourite because I don’t play them very well; Low F either for that matter.

I suppose a G harp in 3rd position is quite nice but I don’t do enough of that to call it.

An Ab is a nice harp, but I don’t have enough call for it. Mine is an old stock Marine Band. It plays ok I guess.

An A would definitely be a close call for me. You can play an A in any of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd position with comfort, and it’s very handy. I play in A a lot, and E quite a lot. Not so much in B but I got into 3rd playing Telephone Blues on the A harp. I have some nice examples too; Zajac, Spiers, Deak, and some I built myself.

Bb is a very nice key harp. I can play 1st ok on a Bb too. A lot of Little Walter records are play alongs with a Bb. It’s a nice responsive key, end to end. I built a Sp20 on a brass comb and to my surprise I’m quite impressed. I have a Spiers stage 2 Bb too, which is very nice to play.

B is a good key of harp, it’s just tricky to find a lot of use for it. I rescued one from a junk box, it’s like a ‘bad years’ harp. I did the best I could with it, fitted it to a nice comb, and as much reedwork as I know. It came up pretty well. I’m gonna try some 1st position with it.

C is a great harp but I dunno, I shy away from calling it my favourite although all my Chromatic harps are C harps and I’m really loving playing those, more all the time. And I have a 14 hole with the low octave, as Sonny Boy Williamson/Miller played (not the SBS type) which is an intriguing harp. Probably not my favourite though. I do enjoy singing in G and playing 2 position in G. I have a Spiers and a Sleigh C, both are cool.
It’s a great key of harp. I think it’s the second most-recorded by Little Walter, after Bb. But everyone has used a C harp a lot.

Db I rarely use.

D is a harp I pick up a lot. I’ve always liked a D harp, ever since my first Huang Silvertone Deluxe (which I still have; from the 90s, still playable). There’s nothing quite like it for me. I do sing in A a lot and something about a D harp

Eb, I couldn’t say it was close to being a candidate for favourite

E: perversely enough, I’ve grown to love the ugly duckling E harp, but it’s not a serious candidate for my favourite.

F is a much better chance. There have been times when I’ve thought the high harp might be my best friend but if I’m serious: no. I like it and I practice with it and I love the old stock Marine Band F that shares my gig bag with all those swish custom harps, but I couldn’t really say it’s my favourite key.

I think it’s out of A, Bb, C and D. I may have to sleep on it. Every time I go to name one I feel sick about one of the others. Could I really call D as my favourite? It kind of is, even though...but how could I not say A? And then there’s C...but am I just avoiding naming Bb because it’s so obvious?
If it was a desert island scenario...
Glass Harp Full
194 posts
Mar 13, 2019
4:36 AM
It’s a tie between G and A. I like train songs and other such rhythms and these keys work well for that. Also useful for folk rock/rock/pop kind of stuff.

I haven’t had much time to play in the last few months but what little I’ve done has been mainly on a D harp, which I quite like too.
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