The diatonic scale harmonicas are for us musical dummies. We don't have to know anything. But we do have to own a separate harmonica for each major key in which we plan to play. We could own as many as 12 harmonicas though I think you will find that 5 or 6 cover just about every song you will ever play. You can easily get by with just a C and a G harmonica if you are not going to be playing with a band.

The chromatic scale harmonicas require a little more knowledge about music theory. If you have ever played another music instrument before, you might find that the chromatic scale harmonica is for you. Even though they are more expensive, you will not need a separate harmonica for each key. There are also many songs that cannot be played on the diatonic scale harmonica, simply because there are missing notes on the diatonics. You will be able to play any song on the chromatic scale harmonicas.

A Word About Keys

It is important that you keep in mind that you can play any song, regardless of the key in which it was originally composed, on any diatonic scale harmonica. If the only harmonica you have is in the key of A, then every song you play will be in the key of A, even if was written originally in G or C. And if you pick up a harmonica in the key of D and play the same numbering system, you are playing the song in the key of D. You do not have to relearn a song when you change over to another harmonica.

If you are using these lessons in a class, then all the students should use the same keyed harmonica. I usually have them use the key of C because most of the cheaper harmonicas only come in the key of C. You have my permission to make copies of these lessons to distribute to a class or your friends.

100 Hymns for C Harmonica CD