Playing in First Position

Playing in ‘First Position’ is the way the harmonica was designed to be played (before the blues came along!) and is great for playing major scale type tunes (widely used in classical melodies, sea shanties, folk, nursery rhymes, kids songs, etc).

When you play in first position you’ll be in the same key as the key of your harp and the root note will be on holes 1-blow, 4-blow, 7-blow and 10-blow. You’ll be able to get a full major scale from holes 4 to 7, this is the middle register . The whole harmonica can cover three octaves but you’ll find that certain notes are missing on the low and high register – these notes can be got using bending, which I’ll explain later.

The Middle Register

So for example if you’ve got a C-Harp, you’ll be able to play the C Major scale in the middle register like this:

 

Where:
Letters = the note
Arrows Up = blow and  Down = draw
Number = harp hole number

The High Register

The high register has almost a whole major scale available, all except one note – the high B. You’ll find that the blow / draw pattern is different on all registers! Here’s the tab for the major scale from holes 7 to 10:

 

The Low Register 

The Low register has 2 notes missing the F and A, also notice that the G can be played by either a 2 draw or 3 blow:

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