Special 20 Extra Screw Holes

I took my SP20 apart to clean it. When I did I noticed it has two screw holes without screws. Does anyone know if this is on purpose or if they forgot them? I’m guessing they aren’t there on purpose, but I have no way of being certain right now. Here is a picture.

You’re correcto mundo, G-man!

It’s on purpose.

Hohner’s downside and dirtly little secret is they manage to find ways to cut corners.

And has been doing so for decades.

Richard Sleigh sent me a box of old beater harps to learn maintenance on.

One of them was a Spec20 D with a missing 2 Draw reed.

Well, I haven’t gotten into reed replacement yet; however, I did scavenge the reed plate screws from this and filled out three more harps.

It does make a difference.

At the same time, Doc Antaki of TurboHarp, does the same thing - meaning he fills out the holes when he customizes the Spec20s as well.

Besides raping old beater harps for parts, there is another solution I’ve been working on the past several weeks; I’m just waiting on certain results before I discuss them further.

Stay tuned…

Keep on Harpin’!

I always wondered why they had those two screw holes with no screws. So, they just leave it to the customizers to fill them? Why? I mean, it’s such a trivial thing. Two little screws wouldn’t add much to the cost of the special 20 either. I don’t get it.

Anyway, if it really does improve performance, I’m definitely going to try it! :slight_smile:

I am going to get a special 20. I think the holes are there so you attach options like microphones, and effects like how Bob Dyaln got it for his guitar.

Um, if that works for you, will be happy to see how, Chrome! Hehehe!

But on my Spec20s, the extra holes with the ‘missing screws’ are on the reed plates and comb inside the covers. Harp holders and mics are external. Nothing to do with the actual instrument itself.

But again, you may’ve discovered something new!

Keep us posted!

Rock on, yo!

Hi Chrome, Hey Just curious about what you mean exactly :o ???

Don’t exactly understand.

Any one know what he means ???

Are you talking about what I’m wearing around my neck, see pic to the left above. :smiley:

I just use the alias Joe so nobody knows who I really am.

Harp On!!

Yo, Alias!!

Methinks he was merely being facetious; no need to put 'em on the spot to make it even more outrageous…hehehehe!!

Laters, whoever you are!! ::slight_smile:

Yeah, I saw one of those microscopic microphones that would fit in a screw hole on Mission Impossible, but they work better fitted in a tooth cavity.
I couldn’t help it.


Not to drag this out or take sides but I have seen a microphone in a youtube clip that was mounted to a harp. There are also cutouts in the cover plate that line up with those screw holes. I can’t find an example of anyone selling it, but in theory you could have 4 metal fingers with holes in them that would slip through those cut outs and mount on those holes. I haven’t been able to find the youtube clip again because I don’t remember what I was searching for when I cam across it in the first place.

Hey Grego!
I’m sure there are many cool “hangers on” of which I have no knowlege.
But I’m just having some fun. Really though, I would imagine putting screws through the cover and the comb in such a manner could degrade or enhance the tone quality. Like the post inside a fiddle? What do you think? I’d rather have an “unhooked” mic, I think.
It’s like that really expensive watch a friend showed me once; I told him that when the watch breaks, he’ll have a very expensive, very ugly bracelet.


I have a Special 20 that I got from one of my friends at church, he’s an older fellow and has been playing harmonica for about 40 years. He gave me a Special 20 that he didn’t use otfen, and I looked inside after I saw this thread and it had those screw holes filled in. I asked him if he did any cumstomization and he said no, so my question is, do older Special 20s already have those holse filled in?

I heard tell the ‘newer’ ones were filled in…Only 5 screws total.

Since I’m playing with last year’s model that I filled out with extra screws –

Since I haven’t opened up any newer ones, I couldn’t rightly say though…

If anybody else has, feel free to ‘fill’ us in!

Keep On Harpin’!

Well I’m pretty sure it’s about 20 years old (Or more).

So; please excuse my denseness, but am I to affirm that filling these screw holes makes a positive, audible difference? If so; could the amount of torque make a difference, as well? I have an SP 20 on the way; and would like to know for my own benefit. I can use every little help I can get!..Walboy

I dunno, wallboy if i was you I’d just leave it alone and play if it’s not broke then lets not try an fix it.

But that’s just comin from me one who hates to take the cover plate off his harps.

Harp On!!

Yes, I believe torque matters, to much and you warp the plates or strip them out. Either way you’ll have leaks worse than before. And I agree with Joe, as a beginner my self, I have harps that I bought just because I thought the other was broke. Now they are broke because I tried to fix ‘em.
Now that I have just a little bit more experiance, I’ve since brought one back to life. And a couple others when I get a few more broken ones to rob parts off of. ;D
Happy Harpin’!

P.S. But hey, do what ever floats your boat! Peace!

Thanks Joe & Ty; after being a Quality engineer for 30 years, I can’t help but believe y’alls advice is worthy. If it ain’t broke… & so on. So far, I love this forum! It’s great to come here for help & get it…and, quickly!
Anyway; from what I’ve been seein’ on the web, the harpsters that have the talent & experience are probably the ones that would have a need to tweak a harp to their own styles, 'Ya know? I’m far from needing to tweak to a style I’ve not yet formed. Do I hear an Amen?! Thanks again…Walboy

(does) filling these screw holes makes a positive, audible difference? If so; could the amount of torque make a difference, as well?
It's not that filling in screw holes makes any audible differences, per se. It makes for better 'air tighteness' -- between reed plates and comb. This then makes for facilitating responsiveness and easier play.

From my experiences, on rare occasions, I’ve found OOBs that have had raised screws on the reed plates and had to be tightened down. It is the nature of the beast.

Yet too, I’m also of the belief that once you open the harmonica, you change it forever. Meaning, (and save for all customizer harps aside) you take it from how a factory did it, to your own way of doing it now.

Hopefully, it will always be better after you work on it.

If you’ve never worked on harps before, and are unsure of what/how to do it – This might help here:


At the same time, when re-affixing the screws from reed plates to covers, do not tighten them down as say you would lugnuts on your tires.

Screws should be firm, not ‘tight’!

I’ve actually tested this. Meaning, if I tightened the cover plates too tight – although on either end - the middle 6, 7 and 8 holes will not play correctly because there’s an ever-so-slight imperceptible 'warping in the assembly itself.

So I make sure the screws/bolts are snug, then back each screw off a 1/4 turn. Everything then is fine from there.

Yet still, you’ll have to develop your own ‘touches’ for all this.

Hope it helps!

Rock on, yo!

I have tried to buy new screws to fill in the extra holes twice now. Both times the wrong size. Does anyone know the correct size screws for the special 20’s?

I wrote to Hohner about extra screws. this was the response:

Hi, thanks for contacting Hohner. We do offer hardware for various models of harmonicas. If you would like to place an order, please give us a call here at 804 591 3745. Thanks!