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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > What harmonica key will you use to play this?
What harmonica key will you use to play this?
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147 posts
Dec 19, 2021
12:18 AM
this one


What is the recommended harmonica key?

Last Edited by Frankie on Dec 19, 2021 12:22 AM
16 posts
Dec 19, 2021
4:17 AM
Google is your friend --

The Blue Cafe by Chris Rea is in the key of D Minor
If you go online and find a harmonica position chart, you will find that you will use a G harmonica for 2nd position
[D harmonica for first position, or C harmonica for 3rd position]
148 posts
Dec 19, 2021
8:51 AM
Thanks I was using Marine band D natural minor and it was OK but wanted to know what others would suggest :)
7027 posts
Dec 19, 2021
9:59 AM
I have not listened to the song so I don’t know exactly how minor it is expressed but there’sa reasonable chance you might find a G harp difficult to play in D Minor unless your adept with overblow technique.

I haven’t really played Minor-tuned harps, but I believe you have to be aware of the manufacturer’s approach to naming. I think Hohner use the same idea as usual and you could use a G minor to play in Dmin but Lee Oskar for instance actually name their minor tuned harps for the second position key so a Lee Oskar Dmin harp is actually the same as a Hohner Gmin

In major tuned harps, you might find 3rd position would work ok, just depends whether you need the minor 6th
For Dmin that would be a C harp

An F harp would give you a full natural minor scale for D but sometimes it doesn’t layout great. The tonic is the full tone bend in hole 3 which is rather demanding but on the other hand can be rewarding from a practice angle

5th position often works well for minor. A Bb will give D in blow 2.
Avoid the whole step bend in 2 draw. Blues players sometimes find they’ve trained themselves to use this note but it’sa flat 9th in 5th position. Likewise, the 5 draw and 9 draw are “avoid” notes.
D E F G A Bb C D, on a Bb harp you have Bb C D F F A Bb C D Eb F G A Bb C D Eb F G A so if you are careful to avoid the Eb notes and don’t need the E too much it’s often quite good when you need natural minor, and often better than 4th position even though 4th will give you a full Nat min scale
149 posts
Dec 20, 2021
10:46 AM
Yes , I already lost money because first I purchased Hohner D natural minor and then I got the same minor from Lee oskar because I did not know Lee oskar does the labeling differently :) It is painful :) I have two of the same key now.

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