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Stuck 5 Draw Reed

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Broke Leg J
Jul 27, 2010 12:44 AM GMT

I've had at least one Hohner Golden Melody and Special 20 end up with stuck 5 draw reeds (after playing for a few months). I've had another Special 20 with a stuck reed and I think it was the 5 draw. I've been playing for 9 months and am a little alarmed at trashing 3 harps. I took the recent Special 20 apart and used a thin sheet of paper to increase the gap slighty (based on a you tube video), but the reed is still mis-aligned with the slot and it still sticks. I suspect I'm using too much air (which I'm working on). Does anyone have any helpful suggestions? Are Suzuki Bluesmaster harps more durable?

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Comments (7)

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Jul 27, 2010 2:55 PM GMT
John P Replied:

Hohner reeds do sometimes do get misaligned. I'm no expert on this, but if you get a feeler gague you can very gently insert a thin feeler strip along the side of the reed that's binding and move it over very slightly. In fact, sometimes just sticking the feeler strip in there moves the reed enough to solve the problem. The strip you select can't be so thin that it's too flexible to move the reed, but it doessn't take a lot of force to algn the reed. You can also use the feeler gague to gap.

I like Suzuki Hammonds. Best out of the box harps i've ever played and EXTREMELY durable. Reeds are welded, so they CAN"T get misaligned. Great harps.

Btw, it's not just breath force that trashes harps--it's also HOW you create the breath pressure. Keeping an open and relaxed airway and oral resonance chamber and creating all air pressure FROM THE DIAPHRAGM is easier on the reeds even if you play hard, and creates superior tone. Creating air pressure with the mouth/lips is VERY hard on the reeds and if you play that way, you will blow out a lot of reeds quickly, especially if you play hard.

Jul 27, 2010 8:18 PM GMT
walterharp Replied:

you can wash them out with soap and water, just use some dish soap in the reed slots and rinse liberally with hot water, knock the extra water out of the harmonica with moderate force and let dry for a few hours. if that does not cure the problem, take of the cover plates, and gently use the thin metal thing you can cut out of a cd security tag (or similar plastic tag to keep people from walking out of the store with stuff), to slide up and down the sides between the reed and the slot in the reed plate. be careful not to get it caught and then pull and damage the reed. if you cannot get the reed to sound well after this, then it might be dead, or if you are more adventuresome, take the reed plate off the comb and look at a bright light behind it. Can you see where the reed is sticking, if so then try to get rid of that burr with the cd strip or a very small file. good luck

Jul 27, 2010 11:52 PM GMT
Broke Leg J Replied:

Thanks for the advice. I'll let you know how it goes. What size feeler guage do I need?

Aug 04, 2010 6:11 AM GMT
Eric S Replied:

Use a .002 feeler gauge, Hold the plate up to a light and you will be able to see how the reed slot is filled with the reed in it, and which way to move the reed. I us a razor and carefuly scape the edges of slot if you can see burrs. A little bit goes a long way, be careful. good luck

Eric S.

Aug 05, 2010 12:57 AM GMT
AirMojo (Ken H) Replied:

Make yourself a "reed wrench" from a thick feeler gauge... if you haven't already, go buy a set of autmotive feeler gauges that have various thicknesses.

You can make a variety of harp tools from them.

Strongly advise getting Rupert Oysler's DVD "Harmonica Repair and Modification". Lots of great information, and entertaining as well.

Every harp player should know how to tweak his harps and fix the little things that can go wrong.

Aug 05, 2010 2:40 AM GMT
Broke Leg J Replied:

Thanks guys

Sep 22, 2012 12:00 PM GMT
Chris S Replied:

I play mostly Lee Osar harps. They have replaceable reed plates which is a must have feature if you play a lot. The down side is the replacement red plates are around $25 a pair. I very rarely have to replace a reed plate. In most cases when I have a single note stick it is because of debris and muck. I tried several options to clean the reed plates. Most cleaned well but in some cases it did not clean well enough to fix the stuck reed. I bought some agricultural strength vinegar (20%). You can find it in the organic section at Lowe shareware. I dissemble the harp and soak the reed plats in the vinegar for an hour or so. (Vertically, in a narrow tall glass) I rinse with water, reassemble the harp and it fixed the problem 95% of the time. If this doesn’t work it is time to move on to a new replacement reed plate. I hope this helps you folks out there and saves you a few bucks.

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