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The harmonica is not associated in most people's minds with reggae, but there have, over the years, been many reggae and ska tunes that have utilised the blues harp. ''Rebel Music'' from Bob Marley and the Wailers, for instance, has blues harmonica played almost throughout the whole song. Prince Buster's 1964 recording 'I Go' also features extensive use of the harmonica, as do many early ska tunes.

Lee Oskar Melody Maker Harmonica
Lee Oskar Harmonicas

Lee Oskar Melody Maker Harmonica


6 Keys available

The Lee Oskar Melody Maker harmonica is designed for playing melodies in second position that would otherwise require bends or overblows on a standard Richter tuned harp. Melody Maker tuning raises the 3 hole blow note 1 tone and the 5 draw note 1 semitone, allowing for the complete major scale to be played without any special techniques. Lee Oskar Melody Maker harmonicas are part of the Lee Oskar range of modular diatonic harps, made in Japan by Tombo. All parts are interchangeable with other Lee Oskar harmonicas, and replacement reed plates are available for all keys and tunings. The Melody Maker tuning makes this harmonica perfect for reggae and country music, but it also works incredibly well for blues, where the modified note layout enables easy access to certain bends that are difficult to achieve on standard Richter tuned harp. Model: 1910MM - Blue Label Available in 6 Keys : Bb, C, D, E, G, A Manufactured by Tombo in Japan ... Read more
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Seydel Session Steel Harmonica - Melodic Maker Tuning
Seydel Harmonicas

Seydel Session Steel Harmonica - Melodic Maker Tuning


12 Keys available

Blues Harmonica with corrosion-free stainless steel reeds, ergonomic covers and plastic comb. The Melodic Maker tuning is the combination of Country and Paddy Richter tunings; compared to the Richter tuning the notes in channels 5 and 9 are raised for a semi-tone.In addition, the blow note in channel three is tuned two semi-tones higher. Many melodies normally only playable using bends or overblows become easily playable with the Melodic Maker tuning.Since the Melodic Maker is played mainly in 2nd postion the key label refers to the note in 2 draw! The SESSION STEEL model is presented with a bold new look and superior technical reliability, excellent playability and a fantastic sound.    ... Read more
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What Harmonica for Reggae?

Many early reggae songs feature fairly traditional blues harmonica arrangements, so any Richter tuned diatonic will work. For more modern tunes, we recommend the Melody Maker tuning, as this provides a full two octave range of major key notes - perfect for reggae style single note melodies.

The Melody Maker tuning is currently available only on two manufacturer's harps: Lee Oskar, which offers a single Melody Maker tuned harmonica in a range of keys; and Seydel, which offers the Melody Maker tuning as a cost option on many of its more expensive diatonic harps.

For minor key reggae, a natural minor harmonica is the obvious choice. There are options in this tuning from Seydel, Lee Oskar, Hohner and Suzuki. Players should generally avoid the harmonic minor for reggae, as it includes notes not normally found in the genre. This advice, of course, comes with the caveat that it is always worth experimenting if you have the time and opportunity.

Reggae Harmonica Tab

There are countless pages of free tab available on the internet covering reggae tunes. A good resource for this is Learn the Harmonica, which features a range of free reggae and ska tabs, including several from Bob Marley's repertoire.

Combining Rhythmic Guitar and Harmonica for Reggae

It is possible, with a natural minor harmonica and electric guitar to create some interesting reggae style rhythmic patterns, as demonstrated by Lee Oskar Harmonicas.

Chromatic Reggae Harmonica

The chromatic harmonica is less common on reggae tunes, but it can still be used in place of guitar or even horns lines. 16 hole chromatics will provide the necessary range for this type of playing, so something like the Super 64, Seydel Symphony 64 or Suzuki SCX-64 will fit the bill.

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