Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > band in Eb
band in Eb
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3328 posts
Feb 18, 2019
11:28 AM
Ive been running into this situation lately......luckily Ive had a marine band in Ab with me...….has this this been happening to others?
413 posts
Feb 20, 2019
8:17 AM
U probably already know this;
A LOT of guitar players tune a 1/2 step flat
so they can use heavy gauge strings--easier on fingers

So if u can look at the shape of a chord and its open E--Its really Eb , in this case

If he's barring at 5th fret, with the E shape---its really Ab
When I can remember--its one of the things I ask b4 playing with someone
more common than u think
the key that throws me F#-----2nd pos B harp---I only own 1 and its not a very good harp, cuz its rarely used
I would always have a Ab Db Eb for people who are a 1/2 step down maybe [B for Gb] [Gb for Db]
1911 posts
Feb 20, 2019
8:50 AM
So far as Gb/F#, I recommend the Low F# as the harp to get as opposed to the shrill regular F#. When a 1/2 step tuned down guitar player is playing in D it is Db. Usually, if a song in D is called we would play cross on a G harp, which is a far lower pitch than a regular F# harp. Low F# is very close to a G harp in pitch, just 1/2 step below.

I very rarely use a regular F# (though I carry one in my gig case) unless it is a really fast song that needs very quick reed response and a high piercing cut. One singer I have played with much preferred the low F# on this song:

If you play by yourself or with only one group that uses a limited number of keys, then you don't need a full set of all keys.

If you play with a large number of different groups or want to do studio work, you need them all. I decided long ago to not be that harp player who tells the band, "I can't play in that key."

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Feb 20, 2019 8:53 AM
2629 posts
Feb 20, 2019
9:46 AM
Worth noting that you could use a chromatic with the button in for Eb blues--3rd position (OK, I know, it's really 10th . . .).
244 posts
Feb 20, 2019
12:46 PM
It happens to me a lot. I often need to play songs in F#, Eb, and Db. The band I play with does a lot of original material. Some songs are tuned down a half step for the guitarist. Others adjusted for the singer's vocal range. I started carrying a set of 12 keys years ago.

I've come to like my B harp a lot.

Last Edited by AppalachiaBlues on Feb 20, 2019 1:19 PM
245 posts
Feb 20, 2019
1:24 PM
Doug, That sounds nice with a LF#, but I also think the regular F# would work well in that song. With the right embouchure, it should not be shrill.

I find that F, F#, and HG harps can sound really sweet. And since they are not in the same range as the guitar, they cut better through the mix.

Embouchure is critical on high harps. I like the idea of the Seydel thin combs, to help force a tighter embouchure. Another item on my H.A.S. list...

Last Edited by AppalachiaBlues on Feb 20, 2019 1:46 PM
351 posts
Feb 20, 2019
6:39 PM
hahaha heavier gauge strings are not easier on the fingers. But they do give a fatter sound.

Dr. Rev. Mr. Cheeks Miller
My Electronic Music World
Me With Harp
3685 posts
Feb 27, 2019
4:08 PM
Low F# sounds and plays GREAT. The response is more like a G than a Low F and the tone and timbre are very pleasant. I don't understand why they are not standard instead of the regular/high F#.

Btw, Eb is not all that uncommon. It gets called more often than Ab.

Last Edited by hvyj on Feb 27, 2019 4:10 PM
232 posts
Mar 01, 2019
10:14 AM
I don't see the problem. I write a lot of songs with saxes (and keys) in mind - thinking about collaborative sound, not just harp. Tenor and Soprano saxes are pitched in Bb; Alto and Baritone in Eb. The more jazz oriented and T-Bone Walker style blues I work with the more often I'm using Ab, Bb, Db, Eb, and F# both as band and harp keys. Sometimes more interesting to sing in as well.

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