Country Tuning

Country tuning is easily one of the most useful and versatile alternate tunings for the diatonic harmonica. Hardly limited to country music, it derives its name because the great country harp player Charlie McCoy used it on so many Nashville recordings. It comes in handy when a player needs to play a melodic or major sounding musical phrase and is probably just as suited to jazz standards, hymns, and common folk songs as country music.

Although in 2nd position (Cross Harp), the player has access to a rage of useful notes, the major 7th can only be played using an overblow at hole #5. Try playing the major scale from 2 draw to 6 blow and it becomes much more obvious. The workaround is called Country Tuning and is accomplished by simply tuning the 5 draw up 1/2 step. This one very minor change brings a huge number of melodies within reach of the 2nd position/cross harp player.

The Country Tuning layout for a (C) harmonica would be as follows:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

C E G C E G C E G C BLOW (Top Plate)

D G B D F# A B D F A DRAW (Bottom Plate)

In the video below, I demonstrate Country Tuning by playing parts of the country classic Crazy on both a Standard Tuned diatonic, as well as a Country Tuned diatonic. For more information on Country Tuning or to purchase a Country Tuned Seydel diatonic harmonica, contact me at greg@1623customharmonicas.com

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