Buy or repair?

I bought a Blues Harp ms about 25 years ago. I’m just starting to learn to play it. Although never really played, a few of the higher notes are unresponsive. Is it smarter to fix it, which will cost about $25, or just get a new Lee Oscar or Special 20?

Hey Jake - welcome to the forum. I’d first try to run it under the faucet and then gently tap it against your palm, rinse and repeat a few times, tap it both sides for awhile, and then trying blowing on the holes back and forth as fast as possible and see if they come loose. For me personally, if it’s 25 years old, and it’s $25 to fix, I’d spend the extra $20 to get a brand new Lee Oskar or Special 20 which is gonna be more comfy and highly likely to be easier to bend if you start working on bends. That’s my 2 cents.

Unless you LOVE that harmonica and it’s got some kind of MOJO for you, I’d move on. Again, that’s just how I roll.

I’d be interested to hear @Slim 's opinion on this.

Rock on,

Thanks for the advise, Luke. I washed it out, and yup, it’s more responsive. I have no special feeling for the harp, and still might opt to try either a 20 or an Oscar. I have to figure out if I’m just looking for the magic that doesn’t exist, or will an improvement really show.

Hi @Jake07712,

Sorry to reply so late (I was out hiking for the last 6 days and had no internet during that time).

In my opinion, you should look at moving on to a newer harp since they almost all have improved in quality in the last 25 years – what I mean here is the quality of the reeds and manufacturing tolerances.

I don’t know for sure if this is true, but my opinion is that (especially for brass reeds) unless they are played fairly regularly they eventually become brittle/stiff (perhaps from some chemical process such as oxidation) – and I mean not being played for like 5-10 years. If true, then new reeds or a new harp would definitely be worth the expense. :point_left:

Give us more info about what make and model the harp is – it might be possible to just buy new reed plates that will fit it without too much work beyond removing the screws and popping out the old plates, dropping in the new ones and screwing it all back together.

– Slim

Hi Luke … I have a Horner Blues Harp ms key of C. I bought it so long ago, that I think I spent less than $20 for it. I too am leaning to getting a new instrument, and am torn between the Special 20 and the Lee Oscar. By the way, do they come with a case?
I am really anxious to learn how to play, keep eying your course, but need something a little more spread out to get closer to my monthly budget. After loosing most of my sight, I can no longer drive. I spend about 2 hours a day between my guitar, and recently added in the harmonica.

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Right on Jake! Yeah, they both come with plastic boxes.

Also, since the budget is tight, you might consider the Fender Blues Deluxe. Best budget harp on the market by FAR in my opinion. $10 - can’t go wrong! (and it also comes with a box)

(That way you could save up faster for Beginner to Boss. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

Otherwise, you’ll be really happy with a Special 20 or Lee Oskar - those are really professional harmonicas.

Glad to see that @Slim agrees about the money being better spent on a new harp. He brings up a great point that brass oxidizes, so 25 years guarantee you’ve got some hindrances in there and you’re gonna notice a significant improvement. His point about harps coming setup better from the factory now, I also agree with 100%.

Ok, hope that helps!

Rock on,

I have a Fender Blues Deluxe, it’s always in my little watch pocket in my jeans. Nice sound , easy to use in a minute. It’s one of my favorite Go To harps, especially when stuck in traffic!

Take care …


Ah, blowing away the stuck-in-traffic blues. Man after my own heart.
Rock on,

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