Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chops Workshop: First Position

- What is a position? Think of a position as being a starting point on your harmonica. By changing your starting position, you can play a single diatonic harmonica in several different keys.
- Today, we'll discuss first position.
- First position is the actual key of the harmonica. If you are holding a harmonica in the key of C, first position will be the key of C. Your root note in first position (meaning C on a C harmonica) is in 1-blow, 4-blow, and 7-blow.
- The diatonic harmonica covers three octaves. The most common octave used for first position playing is the middle octave, which starts on hole 4.
- Remember when reading tabs: 2 means hole two-blow, -2 means hole two-draw, -2* means two-draw bent a half step, -2** means two-draw bent a whole step. Practice this scale forwards and backwards.
4 -4 5 -5 6 -6 -7 7

- For the more advanced players, here is the first position scale on the bottom octave. You need to be able to bend in order to do this., but once you learn it, it can add a great new sound to some simple songs you already know.
1 -1 2 -2** -2 3** -3 4

- And here is the first position scale for the top octave.

7 -8 8 -9 9 -10 10** 10

- If you're just starting out, you might find this post a bit overwheling. Don't worry. For now, you just need to worry about the middle octave. That will cover you for quite a while.

Remember that if you are struggling with two-draw, you can substitute 3-blow. They are the same note.

- As an exercise, figure out "when the Saint Go Marching In". Now try to play it in the other two octaves!

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