Help - The Cross harp key riddle - can anyone help?

I play in a weird tuning which I think may be open A flat to suit my voice.

My A harp works when I play blues starting at the third fret.

But I cant find a harp to work when I play starting from open position (open A flat I'm guessing?)

(basically it's open type D configuration of notes,  but up a few semi tones etc)

So logically if an A harp works when I start playing blues on the third fret, you would think an G harp may work on the open position, but it doesn't.

I think if I may be possibly playing in A flat hence would I hence need a F sharp harp, which I don't have.

Does this make sense to anyone and can they advise, bearing in mind I don't know the actual tuning?

It's a head twisting riddle I know, can anyone help?

(other than get a tuner out an figure out what open tuning it is)

Thanks for any help I can get

pic below has nothing to do with this

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Comment by BUGGY (C) on September 1, 2015 at 9:47am
Thanks Ron I played my gig and the harps worked a treat
Now back to figuring the key that suits my voice
Aflat and what harp... Aargh!!
Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on September 1, 2015 at 9:44am
Tuned in E...yep, an A harp is the fourth. Good Choice.
Comment by BUGGY (C) on August 29, 2015 at 10:20am

John...Well not yet anyway ;>)

Comment by Uncle John on August 29, 2015 at 10:17am

Good deal, Bug.  I heard no complaints!

Comment by BUGGY (C) on August 29, 2015 at 9:57am

In the end I played open E and used a A harp.. and I think I got away with it at Barrelhouse festival.

Comment by BUGGY (C) on August 29, 2015 at 9:55am

John I sure could do with one! lol

Thanks Ron I will have a study and see if I can get my head around this..

Comment by Uncle John on August 29, 2015 at 2:47am

Bug, you need a kazoo in C sharp.

Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on August 28, 2015 at 6:12pm
Ok, basic music theory versus guitar frets:

In Western music there is the chromatic, or 12-tone, scale. I'm gonna start on A, instead of C, as is usually done. So, 12 tones starting on A would be A - A# (Bb, which is the enharmonic equivalent) -B - C (notice, ther is no B# or Cb )- C# (Db) - D - D# (Eb) - E - F (notice agin, no E# or Fb) - F# (GB) - G - G# (Ab) - and we're back around the Circle of Fifths to A. Look up the Circle of Fifths, it's really useful for transposition from one key to another.

So, if we got 12 tones, WTF is an octave? An octave is the 8 "whole" tones, without the sharps and flats in between. In the above scale, that would be A - B - C - D - E - F - G -back to A.

On a fretted guitar, the frets are placed to approximate what is called "equal" temperament, so that all 12 tones can be played on an individual string (this is also true on an UNfretted git, if playing slide, but you have to find the non-vibrating node of the string that corresponds to each note. And slide allows you to play "in-between" notes not normally found in Western music). The guitar in standard tuning is tuned in fourths, or intervals of 4: in the example above, an A string would be fretted at the FIFTH fret to tune the next smallest string to a D ( a so-called perfect FOURTH, with the root in this case being A, being the first note of that 4 note interval, thus: A - B - C - D. see?). There's an interesting discussion here about why the guitar is tuned the way it is:

So, yer git is tuned AEA, the A5 power chord. Normally, that would be your key signature, so the cross harp to that would be...a D. So if yer playing a blues that is open A, 3rd fret (C), 5th fret (D), then either an A or D harp will work, although the D will get you those bluesy bent draw (suck) notes better. Notice, the FIFTH fret on an A string is the FOURTH note above A on a major scale: D

Are you thoroughly confused yet? It gets worse: harp players refer to cross harp as SECOND position (as in your chart below), and slant harp as 3rd position. Here's a really nice explanation of what all this means:

Now, go forth an blow...or suck. >:-E
Comment by BUGGY (C) on August 28, 2015 at 11:26am

The big six range tend to be good for CBG as you only get the notes you need and none that you dont.

You cant seem to go wrong with these, if you can find which one goes with your song from the chart below.

Maybe the D I tried was actually a d flat harp and not a D? hmm

Ron re the notes i find if you bar at the 5th fret playing and use this for the harmonica tuning

Ie in open E this would be and A harp this theory should work

ie if its open A that should be in theory at the fifth fret a D chord (as chart below D harp for cross harp open A tuning)

Not sure why you get the 4th note? 

you can shift this theory up the neck if you start at a G bar (3rd fret on a guitar) then count 5 notes up on the fist note you get C (check chart below C harp for cross harp)

The above theory seems to work Ron

Ie f you play E,A, B7 blues on a guitar the harp would be in A you need?  

So Ron I think its the fifth fret up from your root chord note...that would give you the same as the chart below quickly...I think? but I may be wrong

So as I was playing in A flat (detuned A to get my voice) I actually needed a C sharp harp, not the F sharp I have tried...

I think this makes sense but its a bug theory... and may be unproven... but it seems to give you the chart below. 

Comment by BUGGY (C) on August 28, 2015 at 11:07am

The odd thing was when i was in aea this above should work with a D harp but it doesn't

so now i'm even more confused...any idea why, I used a tuner on it and it says AEA

so playing open, 5th and 7th what harp?

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