Harmonica "break in" ?

I have played chromatic and diatonic harmonicas off and on for 40 years, mostly off, and mainly at home alone. However I just started playing more frequently and with others. I first started playing again with my diatonics, then last week I got out my oldest chromatic (purchased in Germany in 1970) the Hohner 280, 64 chromatic. I found it much easier and more enjoyable to play than in the past. When I switched to my Hohner 270, key of G only 5 years old, it has been played very little, it seemed a little more difficult to get the same lively sound. Then I switched to the Hohner 270, key of D even newer and almost unused, it was the least lively.

Question: does the harmonica that is played the most, play easier because it takes awhile to “break in” the reeds, or is that my imagination? If there is a break in time, what is the best way to do so?

Enjoying the harp again. Your comments would be appreciated.


Well I’m no expert but I think the obvious answer is correct.

I agree with you.

There is a break in time for harps and I think the best way to break them
in is playing them. Probably just take them out and play a few scales up
and down as fast as you can.

Continuing on till all the reeds are working and sounding good.

harp On!!

From my reading, not experience, the breaking-in referred to new harps and the owner is to be easy on bending in the week or so the metal in the reeds has a chance to respond to their new job of vibrating or flexing back and forth. If a PRO were to take a new harp and play a jamm with a lot of hard bends the first night the metal fatigue would ruin the harp rite off the bat. Many Pros support this and many say it is poopoo.
I have 2 Special 20’s about 7 years old and 5 more about 9 months old. I find they are all a little different to play. Like when I bend the 2 draw on my C harp, My throat and tongue position are in different positions on each of the other harps. The more I play each harp the better the sound seems. I think it is more my technique improving more than the harp breaking-in.
I am no pro either. My story is much like yours.

thanks for your comments


I’d say yes, especially for bending!

But thats me!