A questin about reed gapping...

Hi guys,

I’m a novice player and am working on getting my single note playing down at the moment. I feel I have been making steady enough progress and my accuracy over the first 4 holes is definitely improving.

However, I often have trouble getting the hole 1 blow note to sound (the draw seems to sound much easier). I have tried attacking the blow with a “k” at the start which seems to help, but does not entirely sort the problem. It seems to take a while to get the reed to vibrate and the note to sound at which point it becomes easy to maintain/manipulate.

I haven’t had this problem on any other hole (bearing in mind that I haven’t really moved past number 4 yet) and was wondering if it is possible that I need to take the cover plate off and increase the gap between the reed and the plate?

Of course it could just be poor technique on my part.

Thanks in advance,


I went back through your other posts, didn’t see any mention of what harmonica(s) you have. But sounds like you’re going to have to do something about that 1 hole, if not others.

So here’s a good start with Jimmy to learn about gapping:

Jim’s DIY Harp Workshop 1 - Gapping

Good luck!

Keep us posted!

Keep on harpin’!

Many thanks SPD! Much appreciated.

I thought as much but figured I’d better check here first, just in case.

For the record it’s a Suzuki Bluesmaster that I’m using.

Goes in search of tiny screw driver


I just answered Ace’s questions here:


As I know nothing of Suzikis - Seems for 10-hole diatonics, a harp is a harp at least when you take its clothes (covers) off…But puhleeze don’t quote me on that! mwuahahahaha!

Good luck!

Keep us posted!

Keep on harpin’!

Be very careful!! You can…I have messed up one real bad. probly will have to send to a professional. Drats.

Howdy Ty-Man!

Be very careful!!

I agree with you 1000%

And it’s interesting because I knew I had to get over my jitters from actually doing it, so this is what I did:

  1. I got my table/work area all ready. Nice and clean, no distractions.

  2. I unscrewed and opened up the covers, being very careful where I placed everything. Then:

  3. I stood up and walked away!

Yes, that’s right!

I’ve never been that mechanically-oriented; but I knew I had to learn this out of want and neccessity. But I didn’t want to mess either. So I wasn’t in hurry or big rush. Or rather/better I had to train myself not to be!

So to make sure of this, after every move on the harp I made, I got up and walked away.

With covers off - I took a white marker and marked the top plate and bottom plates with “Blow” and “Draw;” got up and walked away.

I tore everything down: screws, comb, reed plates. Once done, got up and walked away.

Came back; worked on one reed plate at a time; and - well you get the idea, until it was all back together again.

Now I have no trouble or jitters about opening them up and working on them. And I take my time. And yes, I do admit Oops! WTF?! I’ve messed up a reed or two in the process. We all do! Shtuff happens!

Yet by shaking it off; walking it off; and coming back to look at what I did - Well, I’ve been able to sit and figure things out without completely trashing the harp. Lucky? Maybe. But experience is experience! And in for a penny, in for a pound.

As I always say too: A litte knowledge in harmonica is a lot of knowledge in harmonica!

Again, good luck!

Keep us posted!

Rock on, yo!

A trick I learned in Gunsmithing is to use the photo on your phone and take a picture of each step if your real nervous about taking something apart.

Is that before or after you shoot yourself in the foot… :stuck_out_tongue:

Just curious… ::slight_smile:

Well, for me, since maintenance, mechanic, electrician, garbage man, plumber, … you get the idea. Taking apart and putting back together was never the issue. It’s the delicacies that are at issue. Seems like I now remember a c— hair aint that much, ya know? Any ways, I looked at it again this afternoon, well I maybe able to save it.

Gotta read that stuff more closely next time. ;D

Harmonica for Dummies.

Warning practice on a junk harp before you start dissecting a good harp

Yeppers, Ty-Man!

In my rookie days of backing up, them C-hairs were razor-thin and closer than this! :stuck_out_tongue:

Took me years to know the ins and out of the docks, but eventually they became as wide as a mile; and/or non-existent, even better!! :wink:

Yeppers, I’m glad I’m where I’m at now! ;D


Read on, yo! :slight_smile:


If you are just getting single notes down I wouldn’t open that harmonica up yet. I’m guessing there isn’t anything wrong with your suzuki. Also you may want to start your single notes on the major scale from 4 to 7 which are much more forgiving than the second position 1-4 holes.

Wow! More cool words of advice!

Thanks G-Man!

Yeah, if you don’t have to open your harp just yet, don’t do it! {Feel better about all this now, JF?! hehehehehe!!}

Like I’ve mentioned - oh in this forum, in some other forum, oh hell I forget where now - I’ve had my Lee Oskar Harmonica Minor in A since early this year, to learn JPs Gyspsy Harmonica from the extra bonus track he had on his dvd now full blown course!

And I have yet to open it once.

But never say never, as eventually I will. {That’s the way this harpster rolls, JF! heheheehe!}

Rock on, yo!

I’m just scared every time I’ve tried to fix one I make it worse…You know but I think I will try again soon and follow along with a video.

Harp on

I'm just scared every time I've tried to fix one I make it worse

Honestly, truthfully: Being scared is half the fun!

It’s our own harmonicas; we invested in them; and yet what if/when we open it up, and just a little something something happens here and oops! we just fucked the shit out of it?! Know what I mean?!

Then we’re really fucked, and got no harp left to show for it!

Yeah, I know those feelings all too well! As well as all those epitaphs/curses to boot!

That’s why it can’t be said enough and too many times: Get a harp you don’t give a friggin flying crap about. If you don’t have one, find one - Like the made in China Internationals Blues whatever Hohners.

Take it easy! Take it slow! Even if you just open it up and get the experience of only putting it back together again, at least you can feel confident in doing that.

And when you’re comfortable with yourself and what you’ve accomplished - Well, I know you’re the type of person that tells yourself: Yeah, I’m ready to try a little bit more.

Slow. Easy. Steady. One step at a time, bro. One step at a time!

Good luck whenever it happens for you too!

Keep us posted!

Keep on harpin’!

So after initially intending to take the harp apart, I decided that for the time being it was best to follow this advice. I did as you said and worked on holes 4 to 7 for a while, then when I went back down to hole 1 I found I could hit it much better! So thanks for that gregmatic!

Thanks also to everyone who offered advice, when I do eventually decide to take this thing apart, I am sure it will prove invaluable…