Friday, July 24, 2009

Harmonica Maintenance for the Complete Moron (ME!)

So, I've been making it a habit to sit down every week to work on my gig harps. Nothing fancy: I take them apart, clean them, and gap the reeds. If I hear a buzz in the reed I scrape the slot sides to be-burr. If the reed is not properly responsive or seems "airy" I do a tiny bit of embossing on the reed plate.. That's it... nothing fancy. I haven't even tried tuning a reed yet.

The result is my harps sound better and last longer. I doubt that is entirely because of my feeble attempts at harp maintenance... more likely I am playing less hard (high volume and excessive bends) because I'm working on my harps now. I used to toss a harp just because it had a buzz or sticky reed that could not be fixed with a quick rinse.

Winslow's book -- Harmonica For Dummies -- got me started. I bought the Lee Oskar tools (excellent kit) which also comes with a good set of instructions. Maybe one day soon I'll buy a tuner and actually make my harps play in tune. Wouldn't that be something!

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