Max from North Carolina

Hi there! My name is Max, I’m in North Carolina, originally from New Jersey. I just picked up a beginners Harmonica Set a couple of days ago. I’d figure I need an outlet. I love it, I’m learning new things everyday.

However, I realized my Swan Diatonic Harmonica’s second hole wasn’t working too good. So after going online and reading about how to clean reads, I promptly yet gently began to disassemble my harmonica. I then gently cleaned the reeds and comb with a toothbrush and after putting it back together, it doesn’t work. Like, I can’t even draw anymore and it won’t make a sound.

I’m assuming the draw reed goes on the bottom and the blow reed goes on top (at least that’s from what I read) but so far, even with this, I can’t get it work.

Once again, hello, I’m glad to introduce myself. Please help a struggling, aspiring, harmonicist. :slight_smile:

Howdy Max, and welcome!
I’m in South Carolina near Greenville (sort of).
You are correct in that the blow reed plate is on top of the comb.
The blow plate has the reeds to the inside of the plate (comb side)
while the draw plate has the reeds on the outside.
Did you get this orientation on your harmonica?
You may have lodged some debris between the reeds and plate,
or pieces of brush (still debris, huh?).
There is always the possibility that if you brushed too aggressively,
you may have changed the gapping of your reeds (like bending them
just a bit). If there is no sound at all and no air flow through the
harmonica, check to see that the reed plate is installed correctly
as I mentioned earlier. I don’t know if screw placement will allow
installing the plates backward (not upside down, but pointing in the
wrong direction), but you might check for this. I don’t play Swans,
so I can’t say for sure about this last item, but it’s worth a look.
When it’s all said and done, get yourself a Hohner Special 20 in C.
This is a great starter harmonica.
Let me know how things are going.


To be honest, I’ve been worried about messing with it further. I’ve managed to find a harmonica that was in the attic from the previous owners. It reads BluesBand Hohner International. It’s definitely diatonic.

Now I’m wanting to know how to clean this one without opening it. Is this possible?

Thanks in advance!

P.S. I’m still going to try to fix the other one that I’ve been having problems with since I now have a working one. :slight_smile:

Max, please get a good harmonica like a Special 20.
Go ahead and spend $30-$40 for a decent instrument on which you can learn
to play. There’s no telling what may be growing in that left behind harp.
A blues band isn’t much harp anyway, and you will soon be frustrated trying to
bend notes on it.


Okay, thanks. Sounds good. I’ll be sure to get one as soon as can. Thanks for the help!