Don’t Sit This Song Out


It happens all the time.

You fish through your gear to find the right harmonica for the next song but you just don’t have it.  The song is in a minor key.  You can’t join in.

Actually you can.

HOHNER offers both natural and harmonic minor harmonicas in the Marine Band series.  You can play these harmonicas the traditional way — in common 1st and 2nd positions — the way most players do.  There are no new positions or special techniques to learn.  The design, imitating the notation of standard 10-hole major harps, makes these models easily adaptable to guitar accompaniment or solo playing.

Stay in the gig.  Pick up your minor harp at a reduced price at while supplies last.  If the key you need is not available you can special order it through the custom shop by phone 800-446-6010 or email

Two Types of Marine Band Minor

Marine Band Harmonic Minor harmonicas have a raised seventh note or leading tone, giving you a minor root chord and a major V chord.  Play this harmonicas straight (1st position) just as you would any 10-hole harmonica.

Marine Band Natural Minor is played in both natural and dorian minor (more on dorian later in this post).  Played straight (1st position), this harmonica produces a dorian scale.  In cross position (2nd position) you get a natural minor scale.  For instance a natural minor harmonica in Am plays Am dorian and Em natural minor.

More on minor scales here.

Third Position Minor

To get their minor scale, some harmonica players will take a regular major tuned harp and play it in 3rd position.  This position uses the four draw as the base (or tonic) note.  For instance, a standard Marine Band tuned to C major will play in D minor.  It can do this because C major and D minor share the same notes.

The minor scale you get by playing in 3rd position is called dorian.  Dorian minor differs from natural minor because the sixth degree of the scale — in the case of D dorian the B note — is major instead of minor as it relates to the root.

Third position dorian minor has a bluesy feel and mostly works when playing single notes.

Learn more at

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