#1
Hey all,

I play guitar in a band and am looking to try out some harmonica.

We tune to Eb and many of our songs are in the key of Eb.

Wondering what harmonica to buy - I've been doing some research and many people say to start with the key of C for learning, and then grab a harmonica depending on type of music/feel, in a certain key.

I may do this to learn, but what key would provide the best fit for a blues feel to go along with Eb/Eb minor songs?

Thanks
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#2
Generally people suggest going with a harmonica one back in the circle of 5ths (so an F harmonica for C, a C for G, a G for D, etc) because that gives you a b7. If by Eb, you mean like Eb major with probably all 7 chords for your I, IV, and V chords with the Eb minor pentatonic scale played over it, as is standard for blues, that is probably your best bet. So go with Ab. I guess they must make Ab harmonicas.
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Last edited by theogonia777 at Jul 24, 2016,
#3
Thanks for the response.

Yes most of our songs are bluesy/rock and metal in the key of E minor (but tuned down half a step).

Good feedback. Will do a bit more research but if anyone else has expertise here please chime in.
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#4
Yeah theogonia777 is right, in blues style harmonica playing you "draw" (inhale) on the I chord, instead of blowing as you would with non-blues style harmonica playing, so you need one in the key that's one back in the circle of 5ths from the key you're playing in.

The key of C is usually recommended for your first harmonica because a lot of the instructional material is written in that key.
#5
If Eb minor, a Gb harmonica will be just fine. The Db will work to make a nice 7#9 sound over Bb.
#6
Buy two! (they're cheap enough). Ab and Gb. Ab for those bluesy Eb major key tunes, Gb for the more definitely Eb minor ones - you'd blow on the I for that one.
#7
Great thanks everyone. Looks like I will be buying two.
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#8
Kind of depends.... There are a variety of different ways to approach this. For standard blues-harp playing, most all players use some sort of "cross harp" technique, where you use a harp in a different key (usually a 4th higher) so that your main notes, chords, and "blue" notes fall out on the "draw" holes.

That's because it's very much easier to bend and slur draw notes compared to blow notes.

So... The first cross-harp position is a fourth higher... In the key of E you'd play an A harp.

There are other positions.... Quite a lot, in fact.

Then there's "straight" harp, like most country players and folk players use.. Think early Dylan, or Springsteen. Use the same key as the song. Not so much bending, slurring, and trilling taking place.

Here's the book that I found vastly informative:

http://www.biblio.com/book/blues-harp-instruction-method-playing-blues/d/737734556?aid=frg&utm_source=google&utm_medium=product&utm_campaign=feed-details&gclid=Cj0KEQjw2ua8BRDeusOkl5qth4QBEiQA8BpQcPsdsu-G0deRZ5A63LdeamOrRJ2Jh69y1aVooHxyUB0aArYm8P8HAQ
#9
Bikewer

Cool appreciate the response.
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#10
Bikewer a fourth up and a fifth down are equivalent when correcting for octave.
#11
NeoMvsEu

True but the mechanical arrangement of the diatonic harp necessitates that the desired notes fall out on the draw holes. As long as that happens...Should work.