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Chart of Harmonica Keys & Positions

Here is a simple chart for determining the 2nd position key of any standard 10-hole major diatonic as well the 3rd and 5th position keys. For additional charts, information on positions, and harmonica theory, visit the Members Area Theory section.

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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  • Chart use: 1st position- If you would like to play a melody or play along with a song using the 1st position, chose the diatonic harmonica that is in the same key as the key of the song. (See columns one and two of the chart below).

  • Chart use: 2nd position- If you would like to play to a blues, rock, or country song in the 2nd position; using the chart below, follow these steps:
    1. Use the "2nd Position Key" gray column first- Locate the key of the song you want to play to in the gray column below called "2nd Position Key (Cross Harp)".
    2. Use the "Key of Harmonica" column next- Then, find the key of harmonica you will need to use from the bolded "Key of Harmonica" column to the left.
    3. For example- If a blues song is played in the key of "F", locate the "2nd Position Key (Cross Harp)" column and go down to the fourth row where it indicates "F". Two columns to the left of it shows "Bb" (B flat) in the "Key of Harmonica" column. You would now choose your "Bb" diatonic and play it in 2nd position for the blues song in the key of "F".

Click on these links for an explanation of the 3rd Position and the 5th Position. These positions can be used by intermediate and advanced diatonic players for songs in minor keys. Visit the Members Area Theory section for additional information on playing positions and general harmonica/music theory.

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