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DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:53 am
by Bournio
RIght.I can manage straight and cross. Just about 3rd position if i'm lucky. What other positions are used? I know that it'll get impractical, but I'm a little curious about what other keys can be played on one harp

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:59 am
by jbone1
since there are 12 possible positions, the choices are pretty broad. i'm like you, i work with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. i do hear people playing other positions but so far i have not explored any others yet.

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:36 pm
by Bournio
Fair enough, so you can in theory play any key....

Wouldn't fancy trying C# major on a C harp though!

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:43 pm
by watertore
I use first and second. I use to use 3rd, but IMO it is too limiting from a creative approach. I like to be able to stretch out over all the holes without thinking. Past the 2nd, a lot of thinking comes into play. Walter

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:06 pm
by Pastor Harmonica
I basiclly use 2Nd but incorperate 1st with a switch up of harps only because the crowd seems to like it when they see you use more than one harp in a song. I like 3rd position when playing that deep down slow blues songs to me it gives the song more soul and feeling. There again switching harps from 2nd to 3rd. as far as any other positions I don't need them.

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:13 pm
by Bournio
So playing in positions, other than 1st, 2nd and 3rd really is just a academic study, and is not really gonna be practical for much?

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:38 pm
by watertore
Bournio wrote:So playing in positions, other than 1st, 2nd and 3rd really is just a academic study, and is not really gonna be practical for much?


Others would say NO! This is just my opinion. It is about what your goal is with playing. For me, it is about drifting without thoughts. Positions other than the second, will keep you thinking. Walter

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:34 pm
by Pastor Harmonica
hey walter what's wrong with thinking a little. If our musical cofounders didn't think of different styles and methods where would we be now. I think we all should try different ways to play. If it works thats a plus for all in the future. If doesn't nothing lost but a little hot air and time. Lets face it we are the teachers for the next generation of harp players we must keep it going or it will die off generation after generation. SOOOOOOOO- HARP ON DUDES

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:35 pm
by ricochet
I'd think just about anything you do enough can get to be "automatic."

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:26 pm
by jeffl
Fourth position is played on a harp that is a third below the tune. The draw notes fall on the subdominant and dominant chords, instead of the tonic and dominant chords. It's a little backward and awkward to get used to, so I've never tried. Try blow #2. Draw #6, blow #2. Draw #3, draw #6, blow #2. That should be a riff that occurs in a key a third above the key of the harp. You need to know your scales to play this position, unless you jus' get the hang of it and play by ear. I learned about this position from Tony Glover's book, "Blues Harp".

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:25 pm
by watertore
Pastor Harmonica wrote:hey walter what's wrong with thinking a little. If our musical cofounders didn't think of different styles and methods where would we be now. I think we all should try different ways to play. If it works thats a plus for all in the future. If doesn't nothing lost but a little hot air and time. Lets face it we are the teachers for the next generation of harp players we must keep it going or it will die off generation after generation. SOOOOOOOO- HARP ON DUDES


Many people have stated I have found my own sound on the harp, and it came without thinking. For me, letting things emerge naturally is my style. I have yet to take a lesson, read a book, watch a video, attend a seminar, learn a scale, or sit down with the intention of learning a particular thing. I just get on instruments an hammer away like a litle kid. I learned at the feet of the guys that fired me up. They offered no lessons. You either fit with them or not. There are many ways to learn, and this is mine. I have no opinion on what way to learn. If you are a thinker, think. A lot of roots music has evolved through just playing what you know and letting your soul out unfiltered. Most pplayers never do this for very long/or at all when they perform. They have set lists, solos, etc, that they feel are going to make the most $. True art comes from no mind. Acts without thoughts. Walter

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:34 pm
by watertore
ricochet wrote:I'd think just about anything you do enough can get to be "automatic."



I agree, but to learn those positions will take a lot of upfront thinking. 2nd position really has no right or wrong notes. Walter

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:03 am
by OldWailer
Here is something in 5th position that I like a lot--but I can't think in 5th yet--I can only handle 1st, 2nd, and a little third--although I usually just play 2nd position on a natural minor harp instead of all the work of thinking in 3rd position. . .



Anyway--I'd like to eventually be as fluent in 3rd, 4th and 5th as I am in 2nd--I don't want to think much harder than that--but I have heard some pretty amazing stuff in 12th position--but that is more jazz than blues sounds.

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:31 pm
by Pastor Harmonica
Hey Waltertore,
Goodmorning to ya, I like what you said in the reply to my opinion. I was not saying for newbes to go get lessons, Just like you said : you learned from the feet of those who fired you up. Well thats my point, We ( the present generation of harp players (some of us anyway, like yourself) are going to be the ones with newbes at our feet learning from watching and listening to our styles and technics getting fired up at what we do. We learn from each other. And yes I have learned a little from you . And I thank you for that. We seem to get rapped up in our own soulful felling when we play witch is awsome to have and express through our playing. But somewere in our minds we need to keep this wonderful art of plying blues harp alive for generations to come. Nothing is better than having that felling when you play and knowing that somewere someone has learned something from you no matter how small.

Re: DIfferent Positions?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:57 pm
by barbequebob
With the other positions, some notes may need to be played with very accurate bends to complete the scale. If you're playing past 3rd position, I'd avoid using a harp that's tuned to 7 limit just intonation because in certain positions, some notes can be really flat (like 7th position on a C, which is F, and in 7LJI, that's gonna have a root note that's 31 cents flat), and here's where an equal tuned harp will work better.