First problem with one of my harmonicas. I noticed earlier today a problem with my Special 20. After some investigation I’ve narrowed down the issue to no sound from hole 5. Any idea what might cause this and what the solution might be? I’ve done the usual checks to see if clearing moisture might fix it but no go. Thank you.
Remove the cover plates. If 5 draw is the problem, its reed is exposed on the bottom side of the harp. Compare the gap at the free end of that reed with the 4 draw & 6 draw reeds on either side of it. The gap should be no smaller than the 4 draw reed gap & no larger than the 6 draw reed gap.
You can change the gap using (for example) a toothpick to gently press the reed end down or to raise it up. Test each little change by drawing on hole 5.
If the problem is the 5 blow reed then you will need to reply here for more assistance.
OK thanks. The problem is blowing not drawing. But will take a look.
I had a similar issue on my C Golden Melody. It might be stuck. First try to plink the reed with a piece of paper or your fingernail. If it makes a sound, then you fixed it.
OK, @jeffw, then when the covers have been removed you can see (on the top side of the harp) the blow reeds (that are actually inside of the hole chambers). This makes it difficult or impossible to accurately see the size of the gaps at the free ends of the reeds. So the safest method to work on the blow reeds means that you need to remove that top reed plate from the comb (doing so will also permit removing the draw reeds’ plate, but that is not what we need to do – just be cautious that it does not drop out onto the floor or the reeds might get damaged).
With the draw reeds’ plate removed, you can turn it over to see the free ends of the reeds more clearly. Do as I said in my last post to you – only now do it for the 5 blow reed and compare its gap with the gaps of the 4 blow & 6 blow reeds. Again, the gap should be no smaller than the gap of the 4 blow and no larger than the gap of the 6 blow. Use the toothpick method as I described (or first try plinking the 5 draw as @KeroroRinChou suggested – that might be all you need to do if the problem is dirt blocking the 5 draw reed’s motion).
Let us know how it works – or doesn’t work.
OK thanks. Will give it a try. Or get a new Special 20!
Well … just had a look through the hole and could not see anything obvious. And it now seems to work fine! It has happened before and I assumed then it might be a build up of moisture. Anyway thanks for the help which I’ll keep for future reference. I don’t seem to have this type of problem with any of the other harmonicas - but it happens from time to time with this one. Maybe it doesn’t like Neil Young
That is a possibility, @jeffw – or it could also have simply been a dirt particle that fell out during your fiddling around with the harp … Sometimes when the reeds have very small gaps a few drops of condensation can cause the reed to no longer vibrate – and this happens more frequently when the ambient temperature is low.
Good that it is now working, whatever the reason happens to be !!
Come on, how could it not like Neil Young Jeff? Yeah, first step is always run it under the tap, vigorous stream of hot water, both sides, tapping against palm, and that allow to dry. If that don’t work, then it’s time to open her up…
Thank you. Yep. Not liking Neil Young would defy all logic!
I bought a Hohner Special 20 a couple of months ago. Initially it had a great bright sound but in just in the last couple of days the 4 draw has really closed and it is hard to get any air through it, producing a squawk at best. It does seem to warm up a bit with playing. I wondered if this was a cleaning issue? I have played most days. I have looked online and would really like to avoid having to open the harmonica if possible as that is very much not my skillset. Grateful for any advice,
Hi Roger @Roger1
The first thing to do is the cleaning method described by Luke @Luke that is given two or three posts (above) pevious to this one.
If that doesn’t solve the issue then opening the harp is about your only other option.
Get back to us if you need assistance/tips concerning what to do.
Hi @Roger1 big welcome to the forum brother
Many thanks for the advice - and the welcome. Very much appreciated. Will see how I get on! Thanks.
Hey @Roger1 - sorry for the long delay. I’ve been on paternity leave. How’s it going?
I would start by running hot tap water as you can handle both directions and tapping on palm back and forth several times and then tap and blow/draw until dry (and let dry thoroughly before putting in case.)
That should help if there is some substance that is impinging it.
Let us know how it goes…
How long should a harp like a Lee Oskar last a beginner learning bends?
That is similar to “What is the life expectancy of a 16 year old motorcyclist?”
@Slim gets to the point ! My first C Harp threw in the towel at holes 2 and 3 after about 3 months!
But since I have some idea of technology, together with a magnifying glass, light and patience I got the harp ready to play again. I’m very fond of my other harps now… I’m out of the storm and stress period and only play with feeling and relaxation.
Greetings from Astrid
I believe the question is more like how long will a 150 Susuki motorcycle in Texas run for a 16 year old who keeps it in the red and uses conventional oil.
Thanks for the answer. Are you saying your harp reeds don’t break, and if they do you fix them or somehow repair /replace single reed?