Joel's FullSet Irish tuning


4000:- Swedish Kronor

We offer a simple only retuned Hohner Discovery with an updated mouthpiece or Chromonica 270 for people who are interested in trying out the tuning. You can of course order a custom chromatic with this tuning as well.

  • Play 80% of all Irish tunes on one harmonica
  • Simple layout, basically 2 diatonic harmonicas in one
  • Play in D major, D mixolydian, E minor, A mixolydian, G major, A minor, A major

Click on the picture for a bigger version


And if you like to play with a lot of chords you now have D major, G major, E minor & A minor in one harmonica!

Key Change

When I play Irish music I tend to change harmonica whenever theres a key change. So if the tune is in G I use a G harmonica and if the tune is in D I use a D harmonica etc. This tuning makes life so much easier as most Irish music is in D/G major E/A minor & D mixolydian, and now we have all these keys in one harmonica!

This set of tunes is played on a FullSet harmonica. The first tune is in the key of D major, second one in G major and the third one is back to D major for the A part and there's a D mixolydian section in the B part.

Joel's FullSet Irish tuning

- Two harmonicas in one, allowing you to play most Irish tunes -

With Joel's FullSet Irish tuning you can play 80% of all the Irish tunes on one harmonica. At a first glance it might look a bit complicated but it's not, so let’s break it down. 

The simplest way of playing it is to look at it as 2 harmonicas in one, D Easy Third diatonic & G Easy Third diatonic. From there you can start to explore the possibilities of using notes between the two scales, I’ll explain it more in detail further down.


When the button is in it’s neutral position the harmonica is tuned to D Easy Third with two extra holes on the top. Suitable for D major, E minor and some A mixolydian & A major tunes. When you push the button in the harmonica becomes a G Easy Third with two extra holes at the bottom. Suitable for G major, A minor and D mixolydian tunes.

So basically it is two diatonic harmonicas in one. What’s so unique and useful with this tuning is how the two tunings are offset to each other.

Octaves & missing notes

The Easy Third tuning is great for playing octaves. On a normal richter tuned diatonic you can't get an octave on hole 2-5, 3-6 draw, but with the Easy Third tuning you can! The thing that I always missed with the Easy Third tuning is to be able to play octaves in the lower octave while playing in G or A minor, which of course is not possible because there are no more holes in the lower end. This is now possible with this tuning, because we now have 2 extra holes below our normal hole 1. This means we can play with octaves 99% of the time while playing a tune in G major or A minor. So now you can play octaves from hole 2 and upwards. And sometimes when playing on a Low-D you are missing a note up in the top octave, on this D harp you have 2 extra holes in the top octave so we are gaining 4 extra notes at the top. It is also great if you want to play a tune in G major/A minor one octave lower than normal, we now have most of the notes.


Using notes between the scales

I find that the Easy Third tuning is far superior to any other tuning when it comes to Irish music, partly because you can play more octaves but you are also getting some great chords, the only drawback with it is that you don’t have the 7th note in the lower octave. For example you are missing your F# if you are playing in the key of G. Depending on the tune this note is either not important or extremely important, with this tuning however this is not an issue anymore! If you play in G (that means you are holding the slide pushed in) and you play the note G, hole 6 blow, then you can now release the button and play hole 5 blow to get the missing F#, so we are using the F# from the D major scale. 

In Irish music there are a lot of Mixolydian tunes, and they use the C instead of C#. Playing in D, button in it’s neutral position, playing hole 7 draw will give you the note C#, if you now want the C you can simply push the button in and voila now we are using the C note from the G major scale.

No need for tongue switching

Irish music is mainly fiddle music, and of course it’s written by fiddle players for fiddle players. For us harmonica players this crates a little bit of a challenge with certain tunes, a fiddle player can easily do larger jumps between notes for example going from hole 4 draw E up to 6 draw B. The only way for us harmonica players to play these phrases with a good flow is to use tongue switching, which is an extremely hard technique. With this tuning we can work around this technique most of the time. Let’s take the first phrase of the classic E minor tune Cooley’s reel as an example. Keep the button in it’s neutral position, (playing on the D harmonica) Normally here we would have to play 4 draw E then tongue switch up to hole 6 draw B. With the FullSet tuning we can use the E note from the G harmonica, 5 draw button pushed in, then we don’t need tongue switching anymore as we are going from hole 5 to 6.