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My first store bought harp!

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Reed Triller
Jul 24, 2009 3:27 AM GMT

This is old hat to a lot of you but a first so me,so hey :)

Today,after having been given a few used Special 20s,buying a couple used from a player who babied his,including my favorite,or maybe second favorite as of today,a GM key of C(Favorite because I like the way it feels in my hands and such as apposed to the SP`s,not necessarily because of the key) , I bought a brand spanking new GM key of G from an actual music shop near work.She was sitting among other brands-Lee Oskar,Hering,etc,,,(They don`t sell Suzuki,I was actually considering a FB)etc.,.....right above a Hohner Chromatics,the specific model I do not know but she was a beauty.

I walked in,knowing what I wanted but not really sure of the process of buying one.

When you buy a guitar,violin and suchat a music shop,you try it out firsI walked in,knowing what I wanted but not really sure of the process of buying one.t.

So,the thought went through my mind..........how do I know the reeds are ok,,,,,how do I know ,,,,,,,,,anything other than what it looks like?

Well,the salesman takes it out of the display case saying it was not only their last G but there last GM,period until they order more....and heads to the counter and says,,,,,ok let`s see how it works. I start thinkin,,,,,,,dont you dare lip my harp.

He gets to the registerbefore me as I had to go around some kids with band class instruments coming in for lessons.

I hear the sound of a harmonica being blown,all the reeds at once.I almost feel steam coming from my ears as I get to the register and see the coolest gadget! He has my harp in this gadget that operates like a fireplace bellows,It says Hohner Examina..........a harmonica tester.

Absolutely brilliant!

My near steaming blow up turned into "I want one of those!" in less than a heart beat.

Funny how such a little gadget can turn a guy into a kid again.

Today was the end of me buying used harps or harps outside of a music shop unless it is a collectible or one I plan on fixing up.

I couldn`t even wait until I got home to try it out.

This makes me wonder a little about my kay of C GM,though.

I barely blew on the G and it was so responsive and loud it actually almost startled me.

Much more responsive and a little louder than my C GM. I thought my C was very responsive and loud until today.

Unless the guy I got the GM from lied,he said he got it and hated it instantly because of how it felt in his hands and never played it beyond the first time he tried it.It is absolutely spotless inside and out which is why I believe him.But it makes me wonder why the G plays easier and has more volume than my C.


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Comments (4)

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Jul 24, 2009 4:42 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Well, first of all, you started out with a C, which is what nearly all instructors tell you to use because it's in a range that's the easiest for most newbies, as anything higher or lower can be a bear for a newbie. For some people, lower keys can be easier and for some, it's the opposite. Whenever you begin to play a different key harp, you often will need to make sublt adjustments inside of you to get yourself acclimated to its nuances and quirks because, in many ways, you almost have to treat them like a different instrument, since the way they respond is going to be different. Low F's, and even Low Low F's (F tuned 2 octaves lower than the standard issue) are usually gonna be very difficult for any newbie to play and you have to get used to them and make subtle adjustments to get the most out of them, much like if you get your hands on a high G or high A (both being an octave higher than the standard issue).

Most stock harps I've found over the years will need a breaking in period just to get them used to being played, and the reason it's been advised that you don't do any bending is because the way too many people play, when they bend notes, they often play them with a considerably harder breath force and they ROYALLY stress the crap out of the reeds, causing stress fractures, which weakens the reed considerably, and makes them more prone to blowout.

If you're more experienced, and don't use a lot of breath force all the time, you almost don't have to, whereas with a really hard blowing player, it's more of a necessity because their technique makes harps prone to blowout no matter what key or manufacturer.

With a custom, the break in period is really for the player to break himself to the instrument, rather than the other way around.

The reeds on a G are longer and heavier to begin with, but with stock harps, the slot tolerances aren't always going to be consistent from harp to harp, and neither will the gapping, wheras with a custom, they don't leave their workbenches until it is consistent all the way up and down. It's not unusual to find if you get 5 harps of the same model and key, they may play differently.

Just remember, in a brick and mortarstore, the people working there are gonna be 99% of the time, totally clueless about anything remotely related to harmonicas, so don't bother asking them anything.


Jul 25, 2009 2:47 AM GMT
walterharp Replied:

yup, one harp off the shelf varies from another. welcome to the adventure.... hundreds of harps later you still will be wondering what will come out of the box...sounds like you are having fun with it, trust yourself, a good playing harp is a good playing harp


Jul 25, 2009 3:32 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Oh,believe me I don`t rely on this store for information on anything. I like doing my own research.I just thought it was cool to have questions such as,how do you try out a new harp at the store,,,answered in such an interesting way(by seeing the Examina in action).

And yes,Bob, I am very careful with breath control.On this harp especially, my first blows were so light there wasn`t really a sound. I worked my way up lowing slightly harder until I got good volume and tone.

Even the bend I did was completely effortless,barely any breath at all was used.More like a light reverse sigh.


Aug 04, 2009 3:58 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Ok I had to buy another.Key of A this time.I tried to buy a Marine band but something kept pulling meback to the GM`s.

Are GMs(new ones) more known for consistancy?This new A, and the new G that got this post started play so easily and sound so nice.Hopefully it`s not just my newbie ears,lol.



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