Soaking Harps In Water

Back in the day, when I used to play… and we’re talking starting in 1970… somewhere I learned that soaking a harp in water made it easier… more fluid. I found this true and became addicted to this.

Was there any valid theory behind this? Did it merely wash away dried spit and debris that interfered with the reeds?

Robb, soaking was meant for swelling pearwood combs
like on the Marine Band and some others.
DO NOT do this. You may get away with it for a long time,
but soaking can cause over-swelling and splitting of the comb.
This is just not a good practice for harmonicas.
You won’t get any benefit from soaking a non-wooden comb.
In fact, if you soak it and try to play it, loosened debris could
impede your reeds.
Hey…rhyme.
The humidity from your breath will give plenty moisture.
Warming your wooden comb harmonica to near body
temperature (put it under your arm or carry it in your shirt
pocket at least) will cause it to play much better.

thebugleboy

[quote=“thebugleboy, post:2, topic:3720”]
Robb, soaking was meant for swelling pearwood combs
like on the Marine Band and some others.
DO NOT do this.
[/quote]Greetings BB… I probably should not have used the term “soaked”… I would typically soak in water for perhaps 15 seconds. Maybe it made the harp more airtight… but it did something to make these old Marine Band and Blues Harps play much easier. I was just wondering what the theory might be.

Wait a minute there guys, although I agree, it’s not a good idea to soak a wood comb harp due to the swelling and cracking issue, a good soak in warm to hot water can help to clean off the sticky stuff from the reeds of all my plastic comb harps. Even from time to time I share a drink with them of good clean whiskey. Plastic combs yes, it does some good and no harm. Wood combs does some good but the risk is not worth it. Metal combs, the jury is still out on that one, I don’t use them so I have not researched it.

Be good to your harp today, buy it a drink ;D

Bought my first new harp in 40 years… a Special 20. This harp is so easy to play… The plastic combs may seem cheap compared to the work that had to go into older wooden combs, but they just make the harp so much more air tight.