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Squealing on a D harp

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May 04, 2009 6:08 PM GMT

I've got a Suzuki Promaster in D, and when practicing my 3 draw bends, I can get the three steps, but on the deepest bend I sometimes get an earpiercing squeal, and it doesn't really go away until I release the bend completely. What causes this? I have a feeling the reed might not be alligned in the slot, but I thought I would ask the experts.



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Comments (5)

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May 04, 2009 6:18 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

You cannot realign the reed in the slot because unlike other harp makers, their reeds are spot welded rather than riveted and unless you're good a precision welding with a specialized torch (not one you'd borrow from a plumber which would be disastrous). There are a couple of things happening here. First of all, the breath force needs to be cut waaaaay back in a big way, and number two, the reed may need to be both regapped as well as rearced and this is not going to be a fast process, especially the latter. Gon and check out and check out Dave Payne's videos on the subjects and also get a copy of Rupert Oysler's 2-DVD set as well. Right off the back, you need to be using much less breath force.

May 04, 2009 8:29 PM GMT
Philosofy Replied:

Thanks! I was going to get Rupert's videos, and also get a professionally tuned harp to compare my efforts against.

May 05, 2009 6:29 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

BTW, I should also add that you may need to do this for both reeds in that hole because in a diatonic harp, they work together as a pair, especially in the bending process. In holes 1-6, when doing draw bends, it's actually the blow reed doing the bending, and in holes 7-10 when doing blow reed bends, it's the draw reed doing the bending. To check this out, take both cover plates off and then bend, for example, 3 draw, and then when you start to bend, place a finger over 3 blow, and you'll notice that the bend stops.

This fix is likely gonna take more time and more patience because with the squeal, it takes tons of work and time to get it just right and anyone who thinks this is gonna be a 5 or 10 minute fix, forget it.

May 05, 2009 9:11 PM GMT
Elk River Replied:

I think the best retification would be adjusting technique as Bob says. BUt, if there is a problem... you can correct an alignment problem if there is one... you'll know from the sound of the plink compared to the adjavent reeds.... easiest would be see if Suzuki would do something. The Dave Payne way would be to hold it to the light, see where the reed is scraping against the slot, put a shim behind the reed and scrape the side of the reed so it slips past. A misalignment correction like that on a reed that plays, albeit poorly, is very slight... even a fraction of a hair on a gnat's rear is the difference between strike out and home run in that case.

That said, Bob's probably right.

May 06, 2009 4:22 AM GMT
Philosofy Replied:

I don't even know how to gap a harp yet, let alone allign reeds. I'll wait until I get Rupert's video (and get a customized Seydel Silver in A and find someone to restore my family heirloom pre WWII Marine Band. hint hint, someone here needs to check emails. :) )

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