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How to play harmonica: learn faster with two major scales

Are you surfing the net because you want to know how to play harmonica? Is there a way to speed up the study process? Yes! In this free lesson I’m going to teach you two basic scales that will expand your harmonica knowledge in minutes. We will talk about C major and F major keys.

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Let’s start defining the relationship between a harmonica playing position and a scale: If we are playing in 1st position, our reference scale can be the C major or the C minor. In this lesson we will use the C major scale.

In position 12th, we can play on an F major or on an F minor key. We’ll use the F major pentatonic scale for this lesson. Don’t worry about positions now, this is not the topic I want to teach you today, just let’s focus on notes.

The C major scale is formed of the notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B.

The F major pentatonic scale is formed of the notes F, G, A, C and D.

Observing these scales, can you find anything interesting? They share the same notes! This means that on a C harmonica and the same set of notes you can play on C major and on F major keys. Two different positions with just the notes of the C major scale! 1st, 12th positions can be played, and this is exactly what you’re going to do in this lesson.

For this tutorial we are going to use a C harmonica, and In the video below on this page I played my Hohner special 20. Read the tabs and download the backing tracks.

Lesson analysis:

Playing difficulty level: Beginner harmonica players.

Note bending skills: No bending required for this lesson.

Lesson focus: Understanding playing positions and scales relationship, playing in 1st and 12th position, to perform major tunes.

How to read the video lesson tab:

How to read the video lesson tabs:

One plus symbol means to blow the harmonica hole.

An apostrophe means to bend the note of a half-tone.

A double apostrophe means to bend the note of a whole-tone.

A triple apostrophe means to bend the note of three steps.

A dot before the notes means to use tongue blocking articulations.

^ means playing the note with a ‘dip’ bending.

R before a note means reaching that note with a glissando effect.

Sh means ‘Shake playing’ or ‘Warble’.

Ft means ’Flutter tongue’ techinque.

P means ‘Pull technique’.

V means ‘Vibrato effect’

Tr means ‘Tremolo effect’.

Following the lesson tabs:

C Major tabs.

4+ 4 5+, 5+ 6+ 4

4+ 4 5+ 4 tr5+

4+ 4 5+ 6+ tr4

4 4+, 3 tr4+

4+ 4 5+ 6+ 6 6+

4+ 4 5+ 6+ tr5+

5+ 6+ 5+ 6+ 4

4 5+ 5 5+ tr4+

4+ 4 5+ 5 6+ 6 7 7+

7+ 7 6 6+ 5 5+ 4 4+

F Major tabs.

5 6+ 6 7+ 8 9

9 8 7+ 6 6+ 5

5 6+ 6 tr7+, 8 7+ 8 tr7+

5 6+ 6 tr6+, 6+ 5 6+ tr6

8 7+ 6 6+ 7+ 6

6 6+ 5 6+ 5

4+ 4 5 6+ 6+ tr6

4+ 4 5, tr5

Download the C major Backing Track.

Download the F major Backing Track.

Today I taught your how to play harmonica in two different position using some major scales. If you want to improve your playing skills, enroll for free in my online school and have a look at the harmonica courses here.

Keep Harpin’ and I’ll see you soon in a new lesson!

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