Harmonica Key Chart

This is a chart that I put together to help know which Harmonica to use for the Cigar Box Guitar Key played in.

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Comment by Mike Willmouth on July 6, 2012 at 9:01am

OK, my chart is for playing the blues which is crossed harp:

"Most recorded harmonica you hear is done in crossed (or second) position. Basically what this means is that the harmonica used is not in the same key as the song. Learning this is THE big step toward learning how to play blues harmonica. Many harmonica players spend years without knowing which harmonica to choose when they know what key the song is played. In second position the draw chord becomes the song key instead of the blow chord. See the following chart to select the correct harmonica for playing crossed harp (second position) in any song key. Note that the harmonica you want to use is 5 half tones above the key the song is being played in."  http://www.fetherbay.com/HarpTutorial.html

This web site also has a chart.


Comment by Letha Allen on July 6, 2012 at 12:02am

Hi Mike,

Nice to meet you. Thanks so much for this. I have a friend who plays great cross harp, and I always wanted to know how he did it. I am sure he tried to tell me before, but I am visual and this is so nice of you to share.


Comment by Dave Lynas on July 5, 2012 at 11:46pm

Bluesheart, thanks for the method. I had forgotten the relationship of the key change. And one should mention you suck the blues and blow the strait versions. And bend as you suck.

Comment by Mike Willmouth on July 5, 2012 at 1:01pm

I am assuming that it is for the blues (I didn’t see anything from the information I got it from to indicate differently). With that said, I a Harmonically Challenged (new to it) so if my chart isn’t correct for the blues, please let me know and I’ll fix it :)

Comment by Bluesheart on July 5, 2012 at 11:50am

Handy chart. It is for cross harp or blues harp only though, just to clarify. I handy trick for figuring it out is to start with the key of the song on your index finger (E for example), count up the scale till you get to your pinky (A) and that is the key of harp you need to play cross harp. F though is an exception and you need B flat , not a B as the chart above shows. I do not know why that is exactly, just that it is. If you were going to play straight harp (i.e. Bob Dylan etc) just play the same key as the song.

Comment by Dave Lynas on July 5, 2012 at 7:30am

Nice chart. I learned this from an old book by Tony Glover. He played with Dave Ray and Spider John Koerner. I used to watch these guys play at The Coffee Break in Dinky Town by UM back in the early 1960s.... Thanks

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