reed plates

Didn’t want to do this but Ashish’s post earlier about regapping so he could get overblows challenged me.

Took the cover plate off of my spec 20 marine band before i go any further I am looking down at the reed plates.

Question now if the reed’s are inside are they blow or draw.

I’ll leave it at that for now.

Harp on

Okay JF!

Good question!

The plate with the reeds sticking up that you can see is the Draw Side; the plate with the reeds on the inside you can’t see is the Blow Side.

Usually, when we take the covers off - Since the screws are on the top with the numbers - Well, we automatically flip everything over to get to the nuts or bolts on the other side. Know what I mean?

When the covers comes off, this might throw us into a panic because “Oh shit, what goes where?” comes into play.

However, even if you managed to “mess” up by reversing the covers and putting them on “backwards” - You’d know it soon enough when you went to play it. As you’d have to turn the harmonica around.

And it’s only natural to do this occasionally - as I’ve done it by accident and on purpose too!

Now though also - If you are going to take the plates off the comb, just prior get yourself a fine line white opaque paint marker from an art store. Write on each plate “Blow” and “Draw” and/or “B” and “D” or something you’ll recognize and know, respectively.

This way, when you go back to put everything together - You’ll see exactly where everything fits.

OH BTW - One thing you must do - And I strongly suggest you take note is:

When putting the screws back into the comb - They are not bi-directional. Meaning, the screws will only go into the holes from the Blow side reed plate first. That’s how they’re drilled and made.

I learned this the hard way when I opened up my Piedmont. And I inadvertently tried screwing in the plates from the Draw side. The screw got stuck and I had a hell of a time removing it. It finally worked out okay - But now I know better not to do that ever again!

However too - I must add as well: Golden Melodys and customized harps aren’t always like this though. Meaning, if you look at GMs they have screws on both sides.

Well, this means you have to be extra careful not to put the screw(s) into the smaller side hole(s), lest it/they’ll get stuck and then you’re <<<what rhymes with “stucked”>>> Yeah, you got it!

So Slow. Steady. Easy does it. And you’ll get there and be able to do everything in no time too!

Good luck!

Keep us posted!

Ask away anytime!

Keep on harpin’!

Since we’re on the subject of handling reed plates too, here’s some other learned tips and suggestions I can offer:

Even for myself after all this time - With covers off, I still handle everything with kid gloves.

Meaning, the sense that you’re touching the exposed Draw reeds and you might mishandle them somehow is a real one.

However, it’s only by developing your confidence and ability to handle them properly that helps you to overcome it. Most certainly always as much as possible grasp the reed plates, attached to the comb or not, at their ends. Usually for me it’s between my thumb and middle finger. I’m right handed here; so the reed plate is in my left.

Whatever works for you/anyone though.

With experience, you’ll learn how to hold the reed plate at their rivet ends and work on them from there. But don’t concern yourself with that for now; don’t bite off more than you can chew; and except to familiarize yourself with handling everything don’t go beyond your comfort levels because here it’s really not necessary to do so.

Yet though, with plates off the comb, after you’ve say embossed and gapped or whatever - Your hand will definitely have to touch the Draw plate itself.

Me, I start with the Blow plate lined up into the comb; flip it over then put on the Draw Plate; flip it over again and let it all rest on the palm of my hand lengthwise. Using fingers and such holding it all in place while I get the first one or two screws started.

Once you do that, you can go back to holding the whole unit by the ends again.

Additionally, just like changing a tire on a vehicle with lugnuts - The old rule is to never tighten the bolts down fully until all are in place. Same goes here too.

I put my screws back in with criss-cross patterns {and/or top and bottom on the Golden Melodys}; then when all are in place, start tightening them down the same way.

From there, it’s additional tweaking and gapping if necessary; but we’re getting way ahead of ourseves now to be sure.

Again though regardless, it all comes down to practicing/learning on these innerworks and gaining confidence in yourself by/from doing it.

So hope this helps as well!


Keep on harpin’!

Thanks, You know my problem is i am always in a rush,
looking at this and how dirty this is and the gapping it needs
being my first time i have to force myself to slow down.

I’ll let you know how I make out.

Harp on!!

Honestly, truthfully - That ‘always in a rush’ feeling is real, especially in doing your first ever maintenance! Maybe more!

Am sure though you’ve read through enough if not all of everyone’s posts here to know you’re not alone; and you can do it too!

Since it sounds like cleaning through your harps is going to be taking place (and no pics ala Ashish please!) - might want to give David T’s denture tabs cleaning method a go at it.

Whatever happens though, good luck!

Keep us posted, JF!

Laters, yo…

Hey Joe!

Regapping reeds is generally a very simple and safe little mod…so don’t fret! :slight_smile:

I do this basic mod on almost every new harmonica that I get. Most out of the box harps don’t have consistent reed gaps…and you have to adjust them a little to suit your playing style. Proper reed gapping makes a harmonica play infinitely better.

Do you have a harmonica which has a difficult to bend reed? For example, a difficult to bend 2 or 3 draw? This would be the perfect harmonica to hone your gapping skills on!

Just be careful, and go really slow.

Good luck!

[i]Well the spec 20 I was trying to re gap recondition and clean. Made it back alive well sort of ::slight_smile:

A customer of mine gave it to me, he had it sitting in his glove box for years :’(

When I got it, it was in bad shape. The reed plate covers were bent and rusty.

The inside was pretty nasty and rusty also. It wouldn’t play at all when I got it :’(

So took my time with it, and was able to clean really well and did some playing around
with the gapping and tried to straighten the plate covers the best I could :frowning:

About three hours of time and I got it all back together and it can play, but it is real
leaky ???[/i]

[b]Now I’m thinking why did I waste 3 hours on this piece of crap rather than just
go to the store any buy a new one for 30 bucks :-[/b]

Harp on!!

Because, Joe you are like me and need the…PRACTICE!!! MUAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

I agree with Ty-Man 1000%!

I’m just curious as to how bent and whacked out of shape a Spec20 gets sitting in a glove compartment. Must’ve been in there with lots of spare pocket change…hehehehe!

Yet too, am going to soon be calling you “NSJF!” <<< “Never Satisfied Joe Feeney!”>>>

Me, I’d’ve come back and said something like:

“Holy shit, guys! A friend gave me an old beater Spec20 harp. I got up my cahones to finally work on it - And I did! Only thing is, the reed plates were warped; and I straightened them out as best I could. It sounds okay, but it’s still kind of leaky - Any suggestions?”

Well now JF, I can offer several here. To wit:

First, congratulations on finally losing your harmonica maintenance cherry! Yee haw! Am proud of ya, big guy! Mwuahahahahaha!!

But yeah, just from your description, and without even looking at it, I can tell you it’s leaky because it’s already a few screws loose! Meaning, many out the box Hohners, save the Golden Melodys, come with a few missing screws in the reed plates already.

So unless you had some extra screws to fill all the holes up, that’s one reason why this old harp would be a bit leaky.

Then because it was so much fun doing it - I would want to use my new-found skills and unshakey hands to work on the following:

And this: - harmonica customization - Embossing

After a little more tighter regapping and such, you can see just how successful you were in making this old harp like new again or possibly better!

Sure sounds and is helluva lot better than: [u]"Waaaah! I just spent three hours learning something new and I ain’t satisfied! Sniff, sniff!


So good luck on your next round, eh?

Keep us posted!

Rock on, yo!

I got a truck full of tools I’ll fix this harp you wait and see :o :o :o

Nice video SPD just comes with practice…

Harp On!!

Just instead of bitching, moaning, and groaning – Promise and/or assure me you’ll be smiling and having fun when you do it! ;D


Rock on, yo!!

Oh I’ll have fun all right a tweek here a tweek there oops all broken


Harp on!!


Good! Now you’re learning!

Reminds me though of a story a little senorita told me way back when:

Gringo goes to a fancy restaurant and orders up a big meal.

Waiter comes over and asks how everything is.

Gringo says, “Okay, but I see that guy over there had some really gigantic things on his plate. What’s that all about?”

Waiter says: “Ah, senor, that’s from the bullfight earlier today. That’s how you say - ‘juevones el toro!’ You know, the bull’s balls.”

Gringo asks how he can get some. Waiter says he has to put his name on the list; and return for next month’s bullfight. Gringo agrees.

Next month, Gringo comes in for his dinner.

Afterwards, waiter asks how everything was. Gringo says, “Okay, but I notice my plate was smaller than the last time I was in with the other guy. What gives?”

Waiter shrugs: “Ah, so sorry, senor. Sometimes the bull wins, eh?!”

Rock on, yo!!

You kill me. SPD where do you come up with all this stuff ;D

Harp ON!!

Um, ah, well, er…if you told me - then we’d both know!