When to buy a new harp?

I have been playing combo (guitar/harp) for pay for about 1 yr now. I was under the impression that when my Special 20’s (really the best model I have found) go out of tune on a reed or two that it was time to buy a new harp. Man, with practicing and playing that gets expensive real fast. Is there a tell-tail sign that I need to buy a new one? I have never tried any maintenance so I have no tools but have been thinking I need to get some. Any feedback would be very much appreciated.

Have you thought about just replacing the reed plates and not the whole harp?

yes, but for special 20’s I can’t seem to find plates. Only for much more expensive harps. (I think).

You can find replacement reed plates for the special 20’s but they cost close to the same amount as a new harmonica, around $20. Blue Moon Harmonica has them. Your problem could be more technique. I play mostly SP20’s also and they usually last me 1 to 1.5 years. If they go out of tune it could be your air pressure, you really do not have to use alot of air pressure it get volume. Volume comes from your diaphragm. Get a little tuner from a music store or they also sell them on Harmonica.com. I picked one up for $10. If it is just a little out you can make adjustments to bring it back if its a bad reed you can replace a reed. There are You Tube videos. Good luck.

Thanks for the reply. Very informative and instructional. Working on my technique. Single reeds can be replaced? I thought just whole reed plates. Yes I have a tuner. I like my Snark. So how do u know when it is time to pitch it? What special tools are critical to have to be able to adjust the reed? I have precision screwdrivers. Not too interested in buying a ‘harmonica’ toll kit; rather, the remaining tools I need. I am an engineer so I have stuff.

I am a carpenter/gunsmith, I just use the tools I have and improvise. Your an engineer, you should be able to do the same. Look at what is in those harmonica tool kits, not really much to them that can’t be improvised.