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I used my B harp!!!

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Apr 15, 2010 7:39 PM GMT

Got tossed up on stage at the jam last Tuesday to accompany a solo acoustic guitar player/singer on what turned out to be a few Stones/Dylan/Cash tunes.

Somewhere in there he capo'd up and hesitantly called out "F#?".


Had to dive for my handy-dandy Rupert Oysler laminated circle of fifths card and came up with second pos - B harp! AND I even had one waaaaaaayyyyy in the bottom of my case.

I was expecting to suck out dust bunnies and all sorts of crap but it was ok. I was very surprised.

How many carry a B harp, just in case? I figure I use it a jams maybe once every two years.

ain't busted but I'm badly bent

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Comments (15)

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Apr 16, 2010 12:28 AM GMT
HarpMan Freeman Replied:

I have an LO in B that I've used maybe 10 times in the past 10 years.

It certainly is an uncommon key.

Apr 16, 2010 2:16 AM GMT
sgsax Replied:

Now you need to find an excuse to use that Db. :)

Apr 16, 2010 3:03 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

I made a list a while back that is still fairly current ... and no B!

Apr 16, 2010 3:46 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

I usually carry all twelve keys. But B, E, Db, F# are often pretty useless. But sometimes I play with bluesband which tune guitars down halfstep and main keys are Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B and I have to use Ab, Db, LowF#, B, E harps respectively.

Apr 16, 2010 6:51 PM GMT
walterharp Replied:

i use my b harp, but for practice mostly... it is a nice range.. kind of why people like to play Bb harps i think

Apr 18, 2010 4:28 AM GMT
Tony W Replied:

I use my B harp a lot. B is a very bluesy key and I love playing in first position on it. I also like the occasional Blues in C# (born under a bad sign) Third position on the B harp. Don't forget about the other positions, they will broaden your playing and also screws with guitar players cause they can call out D, A, and E for example and you don't have to change harps. It drives them crazy. I only do 1st 2nd and 3rd positions but seems to work for me. Oh and just one more note... Guitar players (that I have met) will often call out F# to get you off the stage. So BlueMoose, I am giving you 2 thumbs up man!

keep it in your mouth

Apr 18, 2010 5:58 AM GMT
Chris C Replied:

My B is one of my fav sounding harp. I sometimes ask my band to do songs normaly in G in F# so I can use it. I like singing F# for some songs as well. I think it may drive them crazy at times.

Apr 18, 2010 11:22 PM GMT
Chris C Replied:

I had a guitarist/singer/harp playerat a jam I had not been to before ask me over the microphone 'What Key do you want to play in?'. When I said whatever he liked he turned to the audience and said 'Well we've got a live one here. What about F# minor?' Now I didnt have a B harp but I had a E so he nealy fell off the stage when I said "Ok whats the song?" and of course he didnt have a song to play in a F# minor and changedhis mind to a song in G.

Apr 19, 2010 1:17 AM GMT
John P Replied:

Well, i use my Db for F natural minor in 5th position and for Ab in 2d position which are keys that get called--not regularly, but not rarely, either. I use my E in 2d position for B which is a key rock bands will use more often than blues bands and also for Ab natural minor in 5th position which is a key that gets called if you are playing with horns.

My F# i use mostly for Bb natural minor in 5th position which gets called in jazz from time to time.

I rarely use my B harp--I used it the other night at a jam playing some tune in F#. I wind up using it 2 or 3 times a year at most and i play out a lot. I do carry one, though.

Btw, you can play F# minor on a D harp in 5th position.

I carry a full set of all 12 keys and a spare set of the 8 most used keys. Sometimes i also carry a high G.

Apr 21, 2010 3:05 AM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

My guitar player complains. My keyboard player just hits the transpose button. When I play sax I suffer. But I carry harps in every key, plus low versions. I will never be caught without options - especially when a harp dies mid-solo!!!!

Apr 21, 2010 8:20 AM GMT
John P Replied:

Yes--carrying a full set as well as spare harps in the 7, 8 or 9 most used keys is a very prudent practice.

Apr 22, 2010 2:24 PM GMT
Andrew T Replied:

I keep one. Haven't used it at a jam or gig yet. I've heard some players get into C#minor stuff that sounds eerie and haunting and disturbed and gorgeous. I've practiced some of that on 3rd pos B harp and I have anticipated getting into it at jams (more so than I expect someone to call out an F# Blues) but it has yet to happen. Better safe than sorry. The only key I have never even owned is F# haha It just never came up.

Apr 23, 2010 3:39 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

I think of my set as "full" but I don't have a B, and probably insufficient backup harps. Glad they don't cost as much as a guitar!

Apr 23, 2010 6:49 PM GMT
John P Replied:

You can play C# minor in 5th position on an A harp.

Apr 23, 2010 6:52 PM GMT
John P Replied:

Btw, I used my F# harp the other night at a jam with a guitar player who was playing in C , but put a capo on the first fret.

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