Harmonica for minor tunes

Harmonica for minor tunes

Has any of you ever played minor harmonicas. I want to accompany people singing minor songs (such as Black is the Colour) or playing minor tunes (such as Lonesome Boatman) and I’m trying to figure out which minor harmonica to buy. Both of these are in Am so I know I can use my C major but will have to bend some notes. Looking at Lee Oskar natural minor harmonicas. But their chart states an A natural minor plays key of Am in 2nd position which is more bluesy. Their E natural minor plays key of Am in 1st position (and Em in 2nd position). So I’m not sure if best to buy A natural minor or E natural minor. Any thoughts?

Re: Harmonica for minor tunes

Gilbarry3, look up seydel all minor harmonica on youtube. It looks fascinating. I don’t know the price, but I suspect it’s fascinating too!
Alex.

Re: Harmonica for minor tunes

gilbarry3, you can get plenty of Amin or dorian tunes out of a G blues harp as well. In the same way, Em from a D harp, Bm from an A harp, Dm from a C harp etc.

Re: Harmonica for minor tunes

If you have to bend notes on your C harmonica, then surely you would still have to bend notes on an A natural minor harmonica, no?

Re: Harmonica for minor tunes

All you need is a Paddy Richter tuned harmonica and you practically don’t need to bend. For Amin grab C for Ador grab G

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Re: Harmonica for minor tunes

A D major, G major and C major diatonic harmonica can get you pretty much everywhere you need to go in Irish music without having to bend notes, and when the notes don’t fit, you can substitute. Cross-harping (or playing in scales that start on a different note than the base note of the harmonica’s key) can get you most of the minor or modal scales you need. And when accidentals crop up, cheat. For example, when a tune that otherwise uses a D major scale throws in a C natural, a G will usually fit. I find that too much bending pulls harmonicas out of tune permanently, and since I am a cheapskate, I try to avoid it.

Re: Harmonica for minor tunes

Paddy Richter tuned harps work for some minor keys also. For example the G PR harmonica plays the key of Em. But I also carry two PR harmonicas that have the 7th lowered - these are even better for many minor tunes. The one that was a D has the C# changed to C natural - it makes tunes in Em fit nicely. The one that was a G has the F# changed to F natural - it plays Am tunes well. The fact that these minor keys are played with important notes largely using draws seems to work well for minor tunes.

Re: Harmonica for minor tunes

Most of the above posts have it covered. For playing Irish tunes you need major-key harps in (in descending order) D, preferably low D, G, A and C. Don’t waste your money on minor-tuned harps. You don’t need them and, in fact, they can be very limiting.