What keys should one have in playing the blues?

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

What keys should one have in playing the blues?

Postby Iron Bear » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:23 pm

I have been getting pretty much A,C,D, and G. Any others? I'm trying to learn on my C's but love trying and buying other harps.

Thanks!!!
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Postby dcblues » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:34 pm

B flat and F are good to have. When you get more into it you'll probably want to get all of the regular keys.
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Postby jeffl » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:36 pm

Those keys should cover a big lot of it,Bear. Some other basics would be Eb,E,F,and Bb,but I'd jus' get others when you stumble across tunes you wanna play and need a different key. I always kept an F in the bag 'cuz I'd occasionally stumble across keyboard jammers who only knew licks in C,which is ridiculous. Some guys like to have a few minor keys around,but I'd jus' fill yer orders as needed. Save yer money for the cute little amps yer gonna wanna buy down the road.
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Postby bluemoose » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:36 pm

Hi Bear:

An F and B-flat would round out a basic set of harps. After that it depends
on if you are doing serious jamming and/or playing in positions beyond
first and second. Then I'd get an A-flat and E-flat. (Also good for SRV
tuning down guitar types). At that point the addiction aspect usually kicks
in and you'll get a B,E,D-flat. (F-# as well?) Don't use these very often
but....that's not the issue. :)

moose.
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Postby Erikjr21 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:49 pm

What I did was buy a cheapy set and got a few nice harps in popular keys.
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Postby jellyroll baker » Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:29 am

The cheapie sets with all 12 keys can be absolute lifesavers at jam sessions, especially when you run across those SRVaughnabes who insist on detuning half a town because that's what Stevie did. I carry good harps in all the main keys and backup Johnsons in the sharps & flats.

Contact PappyJ at Coats2Coast and he'll do you a great deal on the Johnson 12-key set. You won't regret it.
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Postby steel1953 » Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:26 am

I'd have to agree with the others on the Ab.......we have a # of fine bands around here where they play/tune in that key. Plus, when you have all the keys, you can play with anybody!
Also, F and Eb. Why? I have sat in with jazz bands on a "blues", and those pesky horn players love to play in those keys. They know your average harp player doesn't play in Bb, so they like to try and throw you for a loop. Sorry Charlie!
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Re: What keys should one have in playing the blues?

Postby angerboy » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:28 am

Iron Bear wrote:I have been getting pretty much A,C,D, and G. Any others? I'm trying to learn on my C's but love trying and buying other harps.

Thanks!!!


I've used all 12.
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