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Harmonica for Guitar Players

This page is aimed primarily at people that already play guitar but would like to learn harmonica as a second instrument. Whether you play them one after the other (i.e. on stage or in the studio) or you play them together a la Bob Dylan and Neil Young on a neck rack (harmonica holder), the information on this page will help make that possible. Click here to buy a Neck Rack or read reviews.

SAMPLE VIDEO:  Harmonica Lessons for Beginners
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A simple playing tip to speed up your movement and add accuracy in single notes.
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Dave gives a general overview of what you can obtain from both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas in regards to harmonica chords.
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In this excerpt, Dave discusses some of the reasons for playing in either 1st Position or 2nd Position.

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  • The bottomline- The bottom line for playing guitar and harmonica together is that you MUST be able to play both well separately. So, at this point you need to focus on playing harmonica and not guitar. I would give it a good 2 months before trying to play them together.

    Guitar with harmonica on neck rack
    Playing guitar with harmonica in a neck rack.

  • What to do first on harmonica- The Beginners Start Here section is a great place to get started. You will then want to focus on:
    Single Notes
    Holding and Hand Effects
    Simple Songs
    and learn the difference between 1st and 2nd Position style of playing.

  • What to do next on harmonica- After at least a month or two of that, then take a whack at Bending notes, learn some 2nd Position Blues Riffs, and try some jamming in 2nd Position with friends or CDs.

  • Which key of harmonica for blues?- Here's a handy chart for picking the correct key of diatonic to play 2nd Position style blues, rock, or country.

  • Playing with a neck rack (harmonica holder)- If you want to play with a neck rack a la Dylan and Neil Young, you must realize that this skill is not difficult as long as you put some time into the coordination of the two being done simultaneously. Remember, don't try and do this until you can actually play the harmonica reasonably well with your hands. When you try to do the two together, your skill level will drop down to about 50-75% of your ability when playing each instrument separately.

    harmonica on neck rack
    Working with a harmonica holder.

  • Which harmonica holder to use?- Click here for a forum post regarding which harmonica holder to choose and some tips for using it.

  • Learn Neil Young's "Heart of Gold"- Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" is a classic guitar-harmonica song. If you've already learned this song on guitar, take a look at the "Heart of Gold" harmonica tab. With a standard 10-hole key of "G" diatonic (buy it). If you would like to learn the guitar parts for this song, visit our friends at GuitarNoise.com for the David Hodge "Heart of Gold" guitar tab.

  • The Members Area- The Members Area has all the technique sections listed above in their complete form. You will also have over 150 songs and tabs available including harmonica tabs of "Piano Man", "Love Me Do", "Run-Around", "What I Like About You", "Middle Of The Road", and others (see complete solos list). Click here to become a member.

If you have additional questions about using a harmonica while playing guitar, you can post at one of the Discussion Forums for individual help and tips.

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