Hello Harmonica Lovers!
I’m going to be talking about folk harmonica which is played in what is called the first position on a harmonica. This style of playing the harmonica is called straight harp and the harmonica is in the same key as the guitar or the song being played.
So, for example if the guitar or song is in the key of G the harmonica is also in the key of G. In first position or straight harp as it called in the harmonica world you blow most of notes and your home note or root note is hole 4 blow which can also be played as a chord. Blow note hole 4 is your home note that you use on the major diatonic scale and play do, re, me starting with blow hole 4 then you work around the home note to give the music some flare then go back to the home note blow 4 as you’re playing the melody.
The ten hole diatonic harmonica is used the most in folk music in North America and also found in Celtic and English music.
Some of the well known harmonica players that use this style are “Bob Dylan” and “Neil Young” which I’m sure you have probably heard of before. These two harmonica players are the most well known for first position playing.
They are other harmonica players that use this style as well but not as well known as the two I mentioned above. I wrote an earlier post on Bob Dylan that you can check out here>More Famous Harmonica Players
I stated earlier that folk harmonica is mostly blow notes but there are some draw notes involved as well. Some of the draw notes are also called bent notes because you bend the tuning of the reed down to the lower pitched reed. This is done by lowering your jaw and relaxing your mouth which brings the pitch down and is usually done on what is called the higher register of the harmonica holes 7-10 in first position playing.
I wrote an earlier post on bending which you can check out here>Harmonica Bending! WOW!
Here’s a video of Bob dylan in 1963′ he’s using a harmonica holder around his neck so he can have his hands free to play the guitar and the harmonica at the same time this is used quite a bit in folk music.
Here’s another video of “Neil Young” using the harmonica holder around his neck also like Bob dylan in the first video playing a folk song that’s called “She Rides a Harley Davidson” 1993′ on the Jay leno show.
Some of the harmonicas used in this style of playing are the suzuki folkmaster , Hohner Marine band, Hohner Special 20 and the hohner crossover are just a few of the harmonicas offered for folk harmonica.
Here’s a instruction video on playing in the first position on a harmonica for folk music.
I hope I’ve helped you to understand a little bit more about folk harmonica and straight harp or first position playing on the harmonica.
Have you ever heard of folk harmonica?
Have you ever heard of straight harp?
Have you ever heard of first position on a harmonica?
Have you ever heard of Bob dylan?
Have you ever used a harmonica holder to play the guitar and the harmonica at the same time?
Have you ever heard of Neil Young?
Have you used this style of playing?
I would love to get your feedback on this please leave any comments or questions below and I will reply as soon as possible.
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Have a blessed day!