Tricks and Fixes

Hi Bob @HarpinBobbyMcB,

I have never attempted to replace a reed. Unless you can even get a replacement reed for that harp (and have the appropriate tools :hammer_and_wrench: for doing the work), I would do as Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63 suggested. R.I.P.

Looking at the disassembled harp, I am impressed by what appears to be fine quality. I may have to order an East Top 008K harp to give it a run !! :musical_note: :notes:

Regards,
– Slim

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Hello @Slim, @HarpinBobbyMcB, I see it the same way you do, Slim. Maybe you remember the problems with my new G harp and the reed. It never really worked. At first I thought it would be up to me. After consultation with the service of our well-known music shop, the harp was exchanged. The reed was definitely defective. Actually, I also wanted to replace the reed, which I was strongly advised not to do, as it is not easy to set it up correctly. They often do not even exist in the price ranges. I just say: “Shoemaker stick to your last”. :wink: Many greetings from Astrid

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Good advice @Slim and @AstridHandbikebee63

Now I am faced with choice of getting 1 or 2 better quality (more expensive) harps, or to get a set of several and play around with different keys.

I have been pretty happy with my Easttop 008k. Mine lasted 5 months and probably about 300 hours of playing before she threw a rod and the last few weeks I’ve been testing her pretty hard with draws in the Blues Scale, so I’m pleased with how she has performed. The same company has a pretty cool set of 7 with different colors for each key for about $100, though the harps don’t seem to be exactly the same as I have now.

Fender Blues Deluxe, which @Luke seems to like, has a set of 7 for about $70…

Or I could get a couple of good better brand name harps probably for about $100 as well.

I’m kinda thinking of going with the set of Easttop, which look bad ass with the different colors, particularly now while I’m learning. That way if one goes bad, I’ll always have another and learn to play in different keys. :wink:

Two of harps of supposedly higher quality to hone my skills, or a set of 7 to keep in rhythm…? :thinking:

That is the question… :thought_balloon:

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Hi @HarpinBobbyMcB,

Yes, that is a tough question to answer – and ultimately only you can answer …

My thinking is that a set of 7 harps in different keys sounds interesting, but really only if you play in a band.

With two harps of better quality you can still play in several different keys that are popular in rock/blues music (e.g. a C harp and an A harp: with the C harp you can play along with most rock or blues tunes that are in the keys of G/G-minor, D minor, E minor and A minor besides C; and with the A harp you can play along with tunes in the keys of E/E-minor, B minor and A). Other possibilities are also there with these 2 harps but require either more advanced techniques or are for songs in less common keys, such as C# minor using the A harp.

In place of the A harp, other popular harp keys are the G harp (for music in G, D/D-minor, A minor, B minor, and E minor) or the Bb harp (music in Bb, F/F-minor, C minor, D minor and G minor).

Another thing to consider: If the more expensive harps have stainless steel reeds then they typically last much longer than simple brass reeds.

A tough question, indeed … :thinking:

Have fun,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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@Slim great advice!

I think you are right :point_right:

The additional harmonicas en the Easttop package of 7, might look nice in their pretty colors and all, but I’m thinking they may not be quite the quality of my 008k… I found a set of 7 Easttop 008k’s for about $150, so I’m thinking the other harps in the colored version called “Free Blues” are not same quality.

Looking at the specs, the 008k has 1.2mm reeds and the Free Blues has 1 mm reeds while individual prices are about $25 and $20 respectively.

After checking what @Luke has to say and taking into consideration your thoughts I’m thinking about getting:

Hohner Special 20 in Key of C
Lee Oskar in Key of A

Couple of questions for all y’all…

  1. Does anyone know whether thicker reeds are better? (seems to me they might be stiffer and more difficult to bend, using common sense. I think I read Lee Oskar’s are 0.9 mm)

  2. In major keys, I’m guessing A and B are lower than C and D, E & F higher than C… Is this right?

If so, I’m thinking I would get little use on the D, E, F and G, since it seems to me that the higher octave on C harp is already too high…

Interested on your thoughts :thought_balloon:

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Hello @HarpinBobbyMcB,
https://harmonicarocks.com/blog/mundharmonika-tonarten
You can translate this page into English at the top right under the 3 points. Have fun while reading. :grin:

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I used to have a Suzuki Folkmaster (that was one of the only brands the store sold) in the key of F, and I agree with everyone who says it’s very shrill.
But I also bought a G and that quickly became my favourite key

Now that I’ve switched to Lee Oskars I got the C, and another G, and a D which is a tone higher than the C, and it doesn’t sound unpleasant at all, as for getting a few F, I’m going to prefer the low F for now

It’s interesting if reed thickness affect the bending, I personally thought LOs were easier to learn bends on than SFs, but that’s just me

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Hi @HarpinBobbyMcB,

In case you have not yet translated the blog given by Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63, the standard sequence for 10-hole diatonic harmonica tunings is, from low to high:

G, Ab, A, Bb, B, C, Db, D, Eb, E, F

Any good harp company that makes a harp that is tuned lower than the G will list it as “Low F” or “Low E” or “Low Eb” etc. In the same way they will list the harps that are tuned higher than the F as “High G” or whatever. Sometimes I have seen F# and High F# listed, but I think that they are both the same, but since that tuning is not very common I cannot say for sure.

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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Thanks @AstridHandbikebee63, @Vibe and @Slim

The article in German is amazing!

Amazing how modern technology can translate it in a heartbeat!

I am beginning to see the light… I love how the article goes into the different uses and applications for the different keys.

Since I’m not thinking of playing with a band anytime soon, I think I’ll stick with trying a couple of upgraded harps.

Meanwhile my Blue Blazer will have to pick up the slack until I can get them :wink:

I’m actually finding it challenging to find workarounds to fill the space of the missing 4 draw on certain songs and going up or down an octave is proving to be good practice when my workarounds don’t work :joy:

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Does anyone know if the LO reeds are thinner?

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I’d take a LO over a SF any day.

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I’m thinking standard lowest key is F#. The High F# and High G are higher than I really enjoy playing. The F harp can be very satisfying though. As in Take the Long Way Home by Supertramp.

Rock on,
Luke

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You are probably correct, Luke @Luke – I have never looked into the offerings for any F# harmonicas. :grinning: I doubt that I will ever have the need to get/use one. :musical_note:

Ciao,
– Slim

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Same here, @Luke they just feel better to play on

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Hi Luke @Luke,

I guess the reason I stated that the lowest "standard" key is G is based on my reading about the Seydel 1847 harps. They list an F# as the highest of their "low range" of offerings, where the G tuning that is a half step higher is listed as the lowest of their "standard range" of offerings. So it all boils down to definitions: and one company’s "standard" is not necessarily another company’s "standard" range. In other words: we are both right about this one !! :crazy_face:

I know you don’t enjoy playing blues harps in high keys (and I don’t either), although – as you mentioned – there are some exceptions. But just to present some more data on what is out there from established harp companies, I have just discovered that Seydel actually produces the 1847 Classic model blues harp in 31 different keys, from the world’s lowest tuned harp (LLE = Low Low E) to the world’s highest tuned harp (HBb = high Bb) !! :exploding_head: (ouch! My ears hurt just thinking about that high end).

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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In other words: we are both right about this one !! :crazy_face:

Great post @Slim! Thanks for sharing. After I’d written that I kept going back in forth in my head about it, lol.

Still hoping to see a post from you detailing your process how you clean your harps. (With pictures, pretty please?) :sunglasses: :grinning::pray:t3:

Rock on,
Luke

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OK, folks, here are two pictures made while cleaning my Seydel Session Steel harp.

Picture #1 (below) shows the disassembled harp (I don’t bother cleaning the screws). Everything will be put into the ultrasonic jewelry cleaner (which we also use to clean our reading glasses & bifocal glasses as well). I never put wood or bamboo combs into the water (better safe than sorry). For those combs I use a soft toothbrush to brush off any deposits and then spray a light coating of disinfectant spray (e.g. Lysol) and after a few seconds I wipe that off with paper towels or a light-weight clean cloth. For nasty deposits I very carefully scrape them off with a pocket knife blade, avoiding scraping off any varnish or wood.

Picture #1:

Picture #2 (below) shows the ultrasonic cleaner with sufficient warm water to cover all of the parts and with 3-4 drops of dishwashing detergent in the water. On the front side you see the control panel for turning the cleaner On/Off and for adjusting the time it will run until automatically turning itself Off. On this model the maximum time is 8 minutes and it counts down in seconds until the time has expired. As you see there is no soap foam. This is not necessary as the 3 or drops of detergent are sufficient.

Picture #2:

After the cleaner turns itself off, I then simply rinse off all parts in warm water and set them out to dry (similar to what you see in the first picture). When everything is dry, re-assemble and you are ready to rock & roll !! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

If anyone wants more info or other pictures then let me know.

Have fun,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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Wow! So cool. Thank you so much for sharing, @Slim!

Aloha,
Luke

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Slim,
I use a similar ultrasonic cleaner. I put a good squeeze lemon juice in mine - any residual left after rinsing tastes better than dishwashing liquid!

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Same but for a quick clean between ‘deep cleaning’ l use Polydent tablets. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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