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1st Position (Straight Harp)

The songs and instruction on this website are samples and exerpts from Harmonica Lessons.com. Our "Harmonica Playing Overview" section is an introductory primer on the two most important types of harmonicas, which harmonica to get, and the 1st and 2nd playing positions.



SAMPLE VIDEO:  How to Play Harmonica for Beginners
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A simple playing tip to speed up your movement and add accuracy in single notes.
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Dave gives a general overview of what you can obtain from both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas in regards to harmonica chords.
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In this excerpt, Dave discusses some of the reasons for playing in either 1st Position or 2nd Position.

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  • 1st Position or "Straight Harp" - These two terms mean precisely the same thing. We tend to use the more modern term 1st Position here, but both are correct and interchangeable. Most beginners will start with simple songs played in the 1st Position.

  • "C" Harmonica blows a "C" chord- You'll notice if you blow anywhere on the key of "C" harmonica you will get a C chord (C, E, and G notes). Other key diatonic harmonicas are layed out exactly the same, so if you blow into a key of "A" harmonica you will get an A chord (A, C#, and E notes). Exact note layouts for all 12 keys of major diatonic harmonicas are available in the Theory section at Harmonicalessons.com.

  • 1st Position puts you in the natural key of the harmonica- When you play mostly blow notes on your key of "C" harmonica you will be in the key of "C". If you have a diatonic harmonica in the key of "A", your 1st Position playing would then be in the key of "A". This style of playing is called 1st Position or "Straight Harp".

  • Simple melodies and folk rock style- 1st Position is typically used for simple melodies like "Oh Sussanah" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and widely used in a folk rock context, a la Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen (and many other singer-songwriters).

  • "1st Position" jamming, emphasize blow notes- If you take any song in a major key and use the same keyed major harmonica (i.e. key of "C" for both), you can instantly jam along with it if you stay in the middle of the harmonica and primarily, but not exclusively stick to the blow notes (Bob Dylan songs, with or without harmonica, are a great place to try this out). Resolution to the key of the music can be found on holes 4 and 7 blow. Remember, chose the diatonic harmonica that is in the same key as the key of the CD or "live" song, or it just won't sound right. If you play only by yourself, the key of harmonica is not important.




SAMPLE VIDEO:  Advanced Harmonica Tips
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Dave explains how the concept of "Follow Through", as found in many sports, also applies directly to your breathing and airflow.
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Dave explains the value of not just learning a scale up and down, but dividing it into smaller "bite-size" chunks, which can then be used as blues riffs.
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Dave demonstrates how you can use the "Tonguing" technique to create interesting sounds such as the "Chicken Call".

 - Over 45 Hours of Video Lessons -
 Attend up to 12 Live Classes per Month

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at
HarmonicaLessons.com


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 * Dave Gage - 30 Year Teaching Pro







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