Re: What key?

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Posted by Shaggy on November 05, 2002 at 14:28:02:

In Reply to: What key? posted by Dynamite Mike on November 03, 2002 at 12:49:19:

: I'm a newbie - I play blues guitar (standard E tuning) and play mostly in the keys of E, G, A, B.

: I'm getting a harp in the key of C so that I can follow the courses on this site but what key harps would I need to be able to play along with my guitar?

It depends on what position you play in. Most blues is played in cross harp or second position, but it can be played in other positions. For example, Jimmy Reed used the straight harp or first position alot. Alot of very low-down wailing blues is played in third position, with its minor key sound.

How do you figure out what harp to play? Simple. It works on the circle of fifths. Each position is a fifth above the one before it. The harp is (usually, though there are exeptions) named in the first position key. That is, on a C harp you play in the key of C in first position. To find the key of second position, count up five notes (including the starting note). So, second position on a C harp is (1-C, 2-D, 3-E, 4-F, 5-G) G. To find third the position key, simply count up another five places, and so on. (Remember to include the starting point in the count.)

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