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Just can't get the 1, 2 and 3 holes right

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Apr 15, 2010 2:12 PM GMT

I've got a few Promasters, and I really like them a lot. But, I've got a G that just gives me fits, especially on the 3 draw. I've cracked it open a few times and gapped it, cleaned it, given it the stink eye, everything I can think of, but it's still not working for me.

It seems extremely touchy too. The 1, 2 just don't want to fire right. I've had to tweak them several times, and they don't seem to stay fixed. Either a delay in the note, or a lot of pressure required. Just the tiniest adjustment and they work, but they go bad again pretty soon.

The 3 draw has a noticable 'dullness' to the sound. Not flat, just dull. And, it won't bend at all -- I just get that sickly ringing. I replaced the reed plates once, and they seemed great at first, but quickly started the same stuff I had with the originals. I don't see any obstructions or cracks in the reed.

I'm realtively new, but I really love my other Promasters and can get them to do what I want. For whatever reason, my C just feels and sounds great. Bends are easy and controllable. I've got an A and D too that are not really used enough to judge at this point.

So here's some questions?

- Should I drop another 20 bucks and get new reed plates, 'cause I've killed these?

- Could I have blown out the 3 draw trying to get the damn thing to bend?

- Does one or two gentle pokes on a reed really nudge them enough to make such a huge difference in the response?

- Should I take up the kazoo instead?

Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.


John Nesselrode

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Comments (8)

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Apr 15, 2010 5:24 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

Sounds like the reed is out of alignment or there is a burr or something catching the reed.

You can pull the thin metal strip out of those white cd security stick on things and use it as a feeler gauge. Stick it down inbetween the reed and plate slot and move it back and forth right up to the rivet. You will feel if something is catching. This strip can also remove any small burrs.

You should be able to get a bright, ringing plick out of the reed (lift the tip with a small probe and release) if everything is free and aligned. You can gently push reeds from the side to straighten them in the slot.

If it's still a dull thud the reed may be failing.

ain't busted but I'm badly bent

Apr 15, 2010 5:25 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

You also may need to be a bit firmer in your gapping, Open them a bit more. Plink it several times to let it settle and you can see/test how much it's opened.

ain't busted but I'm badly bent

Apr 15, 2010 5:48 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

When you do the gapping, you often need to do both reeds in the hole so that they properly work together as a pair.

Apr 18, 2010 2:57 AM GMT
Joe Replied:

Bad reed curves, I got it straightened out. You're going to like it now-


Apr 18, 2010 3:51 AM GMT
John P Replied:

Are you opening your throat when you bend? I do not wish to sound disrespectful, but you say you are relatively new. It is not uncommon for inexperienced players to complain about "bad" reeds on the 1, 2 & 3 holes of G (and A) harps because bending the lower notes on low tuned harps requires different technique and a somewhat softer attack.

Anyway, delay and need for extreme air pressure may mean you are gapped too high. Stalling (delay) can mean too low of a gap, but if hard pressure "cures" the delay, the gap is too high. And, as BBQ Bob said, the gapping on the blow and draw have to be "balanced." Since Suzkis have welded reeds, a it's not possible for a reed to be out of alignment w/the slot.

That being said, is the color of the reeds on your G the same as on your other Promasters? The current Suzuki reeds have a reddish bronze color. Older reeds were more yellow. The reddish ones sound and respond better. If your G has yellow reeds, it may be a good idea to spend $20 and get a relacement set from Rockin' Ron's who, I believe, has all new stock.

Apr 18, 2010 8:56 PM GMT
John N Replied:

Hey Joe -- looking forward to seeing and hearing it.

Thanks for all the input, guys.

Apr 20, 2010 8:16 PM GMT
ness Replied:

Joe -- got her back today, and tried it out over lunch. Man, I can't believe that's the same harp. I thought there was a decent chance you'd tell me the 3 draw was toast and I was outta luck. I'm gonna crack it open tonight and see what I can. Thanks for your help on it.

John Nesselrode

Apr 21, 2010 12:21 AM GMT
Joe Replied:

You're welcome John!

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