Originally posted Nov 2013
If you’ve been using my Tabs page, you may have noticed that I don’t always tell you which key harmonica to use.
For some songs, I don’t specify a key because there isn’t an “official” key for the song. It will work on any harp, and you can choose any key you’d like. As long as you’re playing solo, by yourself, it will always sound fine.
When you’re playing with someone else, or when you play along with a famous recording, I try to be more specific about key, because in THAT case, you’ll notice if you’re not playing in the same key.
Sometimes I make mistakes! In those cases, I’ve forgetten to list a key on a song where it matters, but in general, I only list keys for certain songs.
So, to conclude, you’ll always sound fine when you’re playing by yourself, and you get to choose which harp to use. But if you’re playing with a friend, or with a recording, it’s important to play in the compatible key.
I hope that helps clarify my approach!
This post was inspired by a question from a reader named Mauno. Thanks for writing in, Mauno!