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Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:58 am
by qtheblues
Harps suck best.

Now I know I should really know this, and maybe I've covered it way back in time but this ol' memory isn't what it used to be, but a young guy asking me about cross harps and which ones to use etc....., mentioned minor keys. For the life of me I couldn't give him a straight answer. Something to do with 'natural' minors......all a bit vague. Asked what harp I'd use to play a song in, say....Am? My first guess would be Dm, but that rings bell of error way back in the dark days.
Anyone help, please?
Much appreciated,

RE: Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:04 pm
by jeffl
I prob'ly shouldn't even open my keyboard here,but I can tell you that one tune I've played in Am,I used a regular ol' D harp,and just had to mess with one deeper draw bend on the 2 hole (I think it was Hipshake Boogie); also depending on what riffs you need to play,you can jus' use the minor harp in lst position. Alotta blues isn't played in crossharp (2nd) obviously. Also,there are some minor riffs that can be had by jus' moving up one concert step from the key the tune is in.

RE: Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:31 pm
by qtheblues
Harps suck best.

Sounds good, Bubba. I've done the same with a standard D harp. But I do remember sitting in with a band who were doing a Taj arrangement of the old 'All Along The Watchtower' and had to turn my mic waayyyy down, 'cos bending the odd note in just wasn't doing it.
These are the situations I think he was asking about.
Beats me......

RE: Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:47 pm
by jeffl
Thanks for the support Q! Obviously,I don't play in minor keys often,and I wuz out on a limb there. Because I'm such a homeless wanderer when it comes to landin' in a band,I've got playlists from 3 different bands in my harp case,and I could only find a short handful of tunes we play in minor keys. There are alot more veteran giggers than me around here who hopefully will chime in on this topic after a bit here.

RE: Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:19 pm
by qtheblues
Harps suck best.

Appreciate the contact, Bubba, lots of repect. Anything to get people chipping in will help. You have a good weekend.
Anyone else.......?

RE: Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:23 pm
by dcblues
A G harp works great for A minor. That's third position.

RE: Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:11 am
by qtheblues
Harps suck best.

Way to go, DC! THAT'S a route I hadn't thought of.
I'll pass it on.....and make a note of it myself.
Many thanks,

RE: Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:42 am
by dcblues
Third position is a great way to play, and not far from cross harp, which makes it pretty easy to learn. Most chromatic blues harp is played that way - usually a C chromatic in D. It works for minor and major songs. It's a position every blues harp player should know. George Smith used it very effectively with diatonic and chromatic.

RE: Minor keys.....

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:48 pm
by bluemoose
Hi All:

I'll second the recommendation to check out third pos. Really opens
up the harp. Here's why.

Music in D, harp is a C. (+ = blow, ' = bend step)

I chord : Dmajor chord notes are D F# A

To make a Dminor lower the 3rd a half step D F A, on harp that's

1 2" 3" or 4 5 6 or 8 9 10

(D minor pentatonic scale is 1 2" 2 3" 4+ 4, little bit of work
but do-able)

So 2 nice big mid and high minor draw chords with no bends for a I
chord. The root note D is on 1 4 8 so octaves for tongue block
are 1/4 or 4/8

IV chord : Gmajor is G B D
On harp thats 1 2 3 4 5 and 7 8 9, nice big G major chords.
The root G note 2 3+ 6+ 9+ so octave 3+/6+ or 6+/9+

For Gminor it's G Bb D (the Bb is a 3')
Gminor pentatonic scale is 2 3' 4+ 4 5 6+
which is normal 2nd pos territory so all your 2nd pos licks will
work on the IV chord.

V chord : Amajor is A C# E

Aminor chord is A C E
On harp thats 1+ 2+ or 3" 4+ 5+ or 6 7+ 8+ or 10 10+
The root note A is 3" 6 10 so octave 6/10
A minor pentatonic scale is 3" 4+ 4 5+ 6+ 6
which looks a lot like 1st pos

So draw out a C harp and map the chords and root notes for octaves
for the I IV and V chords and chug thru a 12 bar following the
changes with either chord or octaves. Then play around with the
penatonic scales and before you know it you'll be flying from
top to bottom. Very cool.