problem with 3 blow on Harmonica

Should getting a good sound from hole 3 on a key of A harp be harder than getting a good sound from hole 2 on a key of C harp?

I have a Bushman Delta frost in the key of A and I can’t get a decent 3 blow on it to save my life. If the problem is with me then I don’t want to go messing with the harp, but it feels like the reed is fighting me. I can get every hole on my SP20 in C to sound great. Is the 3 hole the difficult one on a key of A harp, or is there just something wrong with this thing. I’m not afraid to open it up if the problem is with the harp, but I hate to do that if the problem is with me.

I need the average of an answer from SPD (open it up) and Joe Feeney (buy a new one, don’t go in there) ;D

Just messing with you guys. Any advice on how differently the different keys should play is most welcome.

Well, I’ll suspect the harp and here is why…3 blow on every harp I own sounds just great. Sometimes though a reed can be a little out of whack. So, I would check it out ever so carefully. On the other side of the coin…I bought an F Seydel Blues Session and the draw 6 (-6) would not respond correctly. It just had to be the cheap harp (only around 30 bucks.) So I saved my pennies and bought a Seydel 1847 Silver, 90 bucks. Guess what? …-6 still would not respond correctly. So, that rules out the harp… -6 on my F is starting to get better. ;D Could be the harp is starting to loosen up or my aumbiture is getting better. Either way, you may have to get another harp. You need more than 1 anyway! ;D
Happy Harpin’!

P.S. I know, I didn’t really help, did I?

OK fine then open it up mess with it for an hour and 1/2 put it all back together again and find out it still sounds the
same >:(

Throw it away and say hey good experience and buy a new one ;D ;D

Seriously it’s a good thing if you can repair/tweak your own harps, I just haven’t
had any luck yet. But I do believe a tool kit is in my future. ( harmonica tool kit that is) ;D

Just too busy to find time to mess around inside the harp :wink:

One day it will happen though ;D

Now what was your question again ???

Oh yeah, My guess is there’s something wrong with the 3B reed,

Open that sucker up and re-gap that son of a gun :-\

Harp on!!

I’m definitely going to mess with it. Of course I’ll let you know how it goes. And now I goes to bed because I am going to see my friends band play tomorrow night, and I am far from a night owl.

Well G-Man:

Is the 3 hole the difficult one on a key of A harp, or is there just something wrong with this thing?

Well methinks it was asked and then answered by Tyson. Yeppers, definitely something wrong with that thing there. Time to open it up and see what’s what!

Now as far as this goes:

Any advice on how differently the different keys should play is most welcome.

Methinks it’d be kind of hard for anyone to put an answer into words exactly.

A nice gent from the UK was over in the chat room the other night; he could only type but he could see/listen…

Said he only had a C harp, but was waiting for a whole set of Hohner MS Blue Harps to arrive.

He asked the same question, as in what’s the difference in sounds of the keys?

I could only pick up a couple of harps, play the same little tune, and let him hear each.

Even demonstrated the difference of sounds in various C harps from Spec20 to Lee Oskar to a Golden Melody!

He said he heard and understood everything from there. Cool beans!!

Thing is, I’m not knocking the question. Far from it…

Actually, it’s a very good question.

People I meet on the street ask me the same thing. So I just pull out two different keys and show/play them so they can hear it for themselves!

In addition, if you’re just simply asking what key is better used to play what kind of music etc. – Well just click on the various B-Radicals and you can find this out easily enough:

Hope this helps!

Rock on, yo!!

I have the same problem with my A, I cleaned it and the rest of the holes sound better but the 3 doesn’t. I have no idea what to do?

Howdy NL…

Kindly let us know what style/make of instrument you have…And our fine members here can chime in to help you out!


Keep On Harpin’!

it is a Hohner Blues harp MS

Being that you have a good harp to start with…How does the 3 Blow hold you back?

Is it gapping/spacing or just doesn’t work?

If the former, a little maintenance helps. If the latter, well, um, is it still under warranty from the original place you acquired it?

Just wondering…

SPD Pulling For Ya! 8)

3- just doesnt work.

The way you test a reed is:

A) Open up the instrument and remove the plates from the comb.

B) Whether Top/Blow Reeds or Bottom/Draw Reeds – Using a fine tool (paper clip tip, or anything else) “pluck” the reed a few times. If you hear a ‘ping’ pitch, regardless of high or low, the reed is okay. If you hear a ‘plunk’ sound…either the reed is offset on the plate (which needs to be re-set) and/or it is bad.

Try these…

Good luck!

And keep us posted!

PS: Since it is a MS series instrument…My money is on that the reed is sitting off the plate and needs to be re-centered…

However, I could be in err…

But all options must be explored before deciding it is a bad cracked reed at that!

Keep On Harpin’!


I now have a special 20 in the key of A and it plays great. I did get to where I could get a good sound out of the Delta Frost 3 hole, but with the sp20 it just works. The adjustment I think had more to do with the brand of the harp than the key. I still think it could use a tweak, but I dropped it in the garage and broke the comb so I may never get the chance to adjust it now.