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Special 20 mods

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Nov 17, 2009 3:36 AM GMT

A few days ago I opened up the cover plates on my special 20 and took the excess plastic in between the slots out, then lightly filed it smooth. To me the tone sounds so much more full, I love the way it sounds. Even if it's just a subtile change in tone. So what about the middle plastic sticking up in the middle can or should it be removed? Will it do anything at all? The only problem I can see is I tend to squeeze it the harp when I bend notes, and use diferent effects.

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Comments (6)

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Nov 17, 2009 9:26 AM GMT
Tuggy B Replied:

Hi J, Yes I removed the top and bottom tabs, also, I carefully peend the covers as to open up the back of the harp, as a result the harp is louder, alittle more brasshy sounding which you may or may not like, I did not really care for the more brasshy sound but.. I then took the reed plates and totally reworked them, I first lowered the reeds into the slotat the rivet end almost flush with the reed plate, then I embossed all the slots including the free end of the slots. I then straightend the reeds (remove arc). I then tip scooped the slots (a little goes a long way) I then regapped all reeds and tuned the harp, now.. I ended up with a harp that can be played with alight breath which makes it sound alittlewarmer with enhanced dynamics which is just awesome!!! The darn thing almost plays itself lol. These mods take hours and hours to do and allot of study if you dont know the procedures. I bought a full set of Merano harps just to learn how to do this stuff on and I didnt mod any of my SP20s until I got a Merano fully cherry'd and playing great!!!(I went though a few before got it lol)Rupert Oysler has an excellent2 dvd set on allot of these mods (worth every penny)and is an awesome site packed full of good info on modding diatonicharps, utube has some good stuff too. By peening the back of the covers it makes them pretty strong so if you dont really squeeze to much you should be ok, even if youjust cut the tabs without peening the covers.I dont really reef down as I find for myself that a lighter hold allows me to hit my holes up and down the harp with more accuracy but everybody is different. You can learn to peen the covers at this link while your there go to their back issues and start reading all the workbench articles, a wealth of info. Good luck J.

Nov 18, 2009 3:39 AM GMT
J Replied:

Thanks for the info. Who would have known I would get this addicted, I never realized how much I could make a harmonica "my harp."

Nov 19, 2009 11:57 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

I found SP20's really responded well to micropore gaskets. It's kind of gone out of fashion now with the emphasis on embossing but if you have the dexterity and a sharp blade and are willing to put up with a bit of tape mess it's a cheap way to super charge a harp.

Not sure if chopping out or filing the plastic is such a good idea.


Nov 20, 2009 1:15 AM GMT
Not a Replied:

Hi J. I would definitely open up the back covers. It's one of the first thing I do to any new harp. It makes it alot louder and it projects better. I just use pliers to bend the coverplate "hangover" so it's tucked up inside. I think Dave Pane has a video on this (in addition to the link provided by Tuggy B). I don't really care too much if I scratch the covers, but if your worried about that, Ithink people take a nylon-head mallet and use that with good success. As for the plastic tab, I'm not sure that I would remove it if I were you. It's there for support so you don't crush the covers. When you oepn up the covers with this mod, they get A LOT more crushable. I think the harp makers leave the backs so closed becasue it makes the covers more stable (at the detriment of the tone). I don't think that tab blocks too much sound or alters the projection at all, so I don't think it's worth it.

Nov 20, 2009 1:15 AM GMT
Not a Replied:

BlueMoose: I've moved away from micropore becasue it just creates more problems than it solves. The adhesive inevitably works its way to the reed slots and your reeds start sticking. Once it's on, it's one tough mother to get it off. Soaking in mineral spirts and all that. IMO, making sure that the reedplates are straigh (plumb, level, and true) is the BEST method to ensure no air leaks. This is done by 1) laying down the reedplates on a truly flat surface (a mirror works, so does a desktop), and identifying if and how they are not true. Then slowly using light hand pressure, I start to unbend any warped areas. I go in small increments and check my work often. Once i'm confident that the reed plates are un warped, I sand the back of the draw reedplate to make it truly flat. I do this on a large sheet of sandpaper fixed to a flat board with light pressure until there are no high spots left. Then I cleana nd reattach the reedplates using very light torque on the screws. That's the best way to make a good fit.

Nov 20, 2009 2:48 AM GMT
J Replied:

BlueMoose thanks for advice, and I'm pretty fond of Guiness my self. I'm going to try what Isaac said about the reedplates first.

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