Harmonica repair

My harmonica has some tuning issues on the lower notes. I’ve called a few local music stores and none repair harmonicas! I’m a loss of what to do! Any advice would be so appreciated.

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Hi @BoJoGlass

YouTube has numerous videos describing the tuning process. Paying someone to do it for you can easily cost as much or more than simply buying new reed plates or a new harp.

Only if you have an expensive harp (over $80 or so) can it make sense to pay an expert to do the work.

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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Hello @BoJoGlass ,

did you just start playing the harp? Is only the one harp in your possession? Which model?

Is the Harp clean, especially inside? You can find numerous tips for adjusting your harp here in the forum. But you have to open it to do this.
If you can’t find anything here in the forum, then search on YouTube. Enter “repair or adjustment” in the search function.

You will have to deal with this in the future. Every harp player should be able to and know the basics. Take the time and it will be beneficial.

Regards from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:

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@BoJoGlass welcome to the forum! @Slim’s advice is sage. @Boaz_Kim_Music tunes harps if you wanna proceed. The question is: will the price of shipping and tuning exceed the cost of the harp? If you’re harp is less than $80, it probably will.

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Thank you all for the helpful input! I got my harp earlier this year as a gift. It’s a Hohner and I think it was about $50. I opened it up and couldn’t see any visual blockage but the 2 spot sounds blocked and the 3 is the wrong note. I appreciate all the insights!

Thank you @Luke for all of your delightful content! I’ve been loving the harp and look forward to more happy playing ahead.

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Harps die. Get used to having a drawer full of broken harps. Play softly. Keep them clean. Make sure you check for debris on the reed plates when it sounds wrong. A hair caught in a reed can be a problem for example. Unfortunately, the usual way to overcome debris is to remove the cover plates. So keep jewelers screw drivers in your gig bag.

Oh and you can fix them yourself. You can file if it’s flat and add solder if it’s sharp. This is explained in The Harmonica According to Musselwhite. Use iStroboSoft to verify pitch.

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Hi. I’m a harmonica repair tech and customizer based in Pennsylvania, USA. Do you have any other harmonicas especially in the same key where you don’t have these issues? What key and model is the harmonica you’re writing about?

If your technique isn’t developed yet, it’s very easy for certain notes to not want to sound correctly. On a C harmonica, usually people have issues with the 2 draw, which I assume is the note you’re trying to play.

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Just curios. Being retired I like to dabble but how does one become a Harmonica Repair Tech? Is there any certification involved? Thanks

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I feels like there is a need! :wink:

It’s a G - and its on the 2 draw and blow.

Hi @BoJoGlass

You also said that hole 3 has the wrong note. Which hole 3 note is wrong? Blow 3 or Draw 3? And which tone does this currently produce?

– Slim :sunglasses:

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I don’t know how one gains the certification, but Hohner and Seydel do have certified repair/custom techs scattered around. I guess you just contact the company and enquire. Maybe Suzuki also, but there I am just guessing.

– Slim :sunglasses:

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Sorry @Slim - I mistyped :slight_smile: It was the 3 hole draw. But per the comments, I think I may be more of the issue! I was able to play my scales on holes 4-7 pretty quickly, so the sound I was producing particularly on holes 2 and 3 sounded off. When I draw on 2 it sounds flat to me, but I think I need to adjust how I am blowing. Same with 3 draw. It sounds flat and even blocked in a way the other holes don’t, but I think I just need more practice on those!

Can anyone share the notes. I know holes 1-10 blow are GBD repeating. What should the notes on draw be 1-10, with no bend? I think that will help me match pitches.

This already has been posted on this forum. Follow the link and find your G harmonica. F# (F sharp) is your 3 draw and also (an octave higher) your 7 draw.

– Slim :sunglasses:

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Reading through comments, I see that actually your main issue seems to be with 3 draw on the G harmonica, but also 2 draw is sounding a little off. This is actually pretty typical of beginning harmonica students. As long as your harmonica is a quality one, then likely it is a technique issue. Like other wind instruments, you have to gain the ability to play certain notes in particular, even though the harmonica has many of them built in with separate reeds. Sign up with a teacher to help diagnose the issue and fix it much faster. You signed up with Luke, right?

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Hi Craig. There are certification programs and also you can take lessons from a few techs like Richard Sleigh. You don’t necessarily need the certification programs unless you want to do it to a professional level. There are videos and forums online as well - - - just beware. It’ll drain your time (Haha) and also there’s a lot of not good advice. I will say don’t experiment on your good harmonicas especially if you don’t have a replacement handy.

So far I have about 10 (what?) years under my belt, and have been doing work internationally and just about every harmonica type including the rare Hohner Harmonetta.

Repair parts are sometimes hard to get and quite expensive. Most useable tools are not too much especially if you modify them or even make them yourself like I often do. Check out Richard Sleigh, Andrew Zajac, and JA Harmonicas’ tool sets or online material.

Boaz

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