Yay! Scored a Spec20! Wait, not yay!

Got an advance on some freelance work (I do art) and I went straight to a local shop and got a Special 20 for ~$30. Super stoked but I think my 2 draw/blow is messed up. Not sure if it needs to be exchanged or not. I’ve tried different amounts of pressure. If i blow steadily and go down the row that hole definitely stands out. At best I can make that hole squawk.


Am not saying you have any bad reeds on a brand new OOB Spec20 in C…

But you really shouldn’t…

So watch this vid; and work on the 2 hole –

If problems still persist, and they really shouldn’t…

Well…if you can exchange it, see what happens!

Good luck!

Keep On Harpin’!

What’s Wrong With My Harmonica? (Why Doesn’t the 2 Draw on My C Harp Work?)

Yeah…I figured it was me but was really hoping it wasn’t. I dont understand something; if the only way to get a proper note out of 2 draw is with the slightest of breaths, how does anyone do it at speed?

It isn’t really the slightness of your breath, it is getting the back of your tongue down. Also the deeper in your mouth you can get the harp the better off you’ll be. To test it try doing the two draw and then tilting your head back so you are looking at the ceiling. With practice you will get it.

In your own words [or as close as I can get to them (hehehe!)]: “Holy CrapShit Harpman!!”

Meaning, in order to understand about the tricky 2-hole, even 3-hole draw – You have to do your homework!!

Meaning, unlike us old, old timers who never had the benefit of this fang-dangled thing called the Internet, YOU do now –

YOU can actually find answers to YOUR questions about what happens when YOU can’t get the 2/3 hole draws!

Fortunately for you (and others who will read this thread) I’ll again offer the best lessons on those pesky 2/3 hole draws again:


Of course, before you even approach the bends, you’ll have to get to the single notes first…Which was presented here:


Bottom line: I really truly believe in YOU! I really truly believe YOU can be a cool harpist! However, it takes work! Real friggin, sweating from the brow work!

And while some are just getting there, many of us have been there and done that already!

Why and how? We did our homework!! And we continually do our homework to always learn something new and/or strengthen what we have already learned and hopefully know!

As I’ve said before and say again: “A little bit of knowledge is a large piece of knowledge when it comes to the vast & mighty Harmonica Universe!” It’s true; but only you or anyone will know that once they apply it! Anywhat…

I can’t play your harmonica for you…Lest I’ll just keep it! Hehehe!!!

But YOU can play YOUR harmonica just fine…

Have a little faith and lots of patience; and YOU will be there before YOU know it;

And certainly, most probably before the next ‘Hey, all you guys and gals, what do I do about this harp and the 2/3 hole draw?’ person shows up!


Have fun!


Keep On Harpin’!

Yeah, that’s what I’m doing here at this forum, my homework. Hehe. 3 draw is sweet and clean and smooth. 2 draw is my enemy. 1 draw pulls a “me too!” from time to time. Since my last post I’ve managed to squeeze some normal sounds out of 2 draw, so I know it can be done. Which brings me to a question, if you DO end up having a damaged or misaligned reed, will it misfire every time consistly or can it be itermitant?

Jess (my harmonica) says that if I just keep giving her sloppy kisses we will work it out. :-*

Yeah, that's what I'm doing here at this forum, my homework.
Well, Big Daddy, I'm glad somebody is! My hat's off to you on that!! [img]http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/personal/hi.gif[/img]

Okay, I did a little homework of my own to better see what’s what, albeit I can’t see anything. Hehehe! Nonetheless, to wit:

  1. Here’s another topic that may be the cause behind the ‘stuck’ reeds:


Truth be told, I was reminded of it myself when I went to play my Eb Spec20 as I was preparing my post here. The harp locked up on me. Opening it up, the reed plates were covered in condensation.

Regardless of the ambient temperatures, be it spring, summer, winter or fall – The inside reed plates are most likely going to be colder than the outside cover plates. Once hit with the warmer breath, it only takes a matter of seconds before physics takes over and you think your harp is ruined.

Following the remedies in the topic above, the harp will be returned to normal and life will become good again!

  1. Being that you have children around the house, it may be a good bet that the missus has what kids like to use to drink their go-go juice with – And that’s straws.

If you have none now…Well, the next time you’re picking up dinner at your local Mickey Dees Whopper Burger World, whether you’re getting the Coke-Pepsi-Fanta-Hawaiian Punch-Aide refreshments or not, still grab a couple of extra straws on your way out. {It’s okay, they’re free! Hehehehe!}

With a straw and pair of scissors in hand, cut a 2-3 inch piece of straw off one end.

With harmonica in hand, take one end of the short straw and push it slightly into either Hole #1 or #2. {Surprisingly, since most straws are standard, therefore if you have the right diameter of straw, it should fit exactly and snugly into the hole. But you only want it to “sit” in the hole itself, not be jammed into it. As you’ll see why next.}

From the open end, gently blow and draw through it. If all is done correctly, the notes/reeds will sound properly.

Although the straw will fit all the holes…Generally, it will usually only ‘sound’ the 1-6 holes easily enough. Since the 7-10 are higher pitched/shorter reeds, it may take a little more breath to get them to work. Experiment and you’ll see for yourself.

{BTW - This “Using-A-Straw-To-Check-The-Holes” method is one of my mini Aha-Eureka moments from way back when. It works on most every diatonic harp I have. Yet too, the reason you only want the end to sit in the hole and not be pushed down into it is because one of the sides might ‘catch’ a draw reed; and when that happens, the note(s) won’t sound at all. But again, experiment and you’ll see for yourself.}

Okay, by using all the tools and suggestions above, that 2 hole should work. If it does, then you know it’s not the harmonica, it’s um: YOU! Your lips. Your mouth. Your embouchure. Your breath! Or more specifically, the way you’re breathing into hole 2!

And these methods are the easiest and fastest way to check the harmonica from the outside. Meaning, before having to open it up and see what’s going on in the inside.
To get to those lessons requires more homework on your part. And we don’t want to go there just yet if we don’t have to.

If we have to, well then we have to.

However, just to answer your question about a bad reed: If the reed is bad, or broken, it won’t or most likely shouldn’t sound at all.

And the only way you’re going to find that out is by opening up the harp and testing it. But again, we don’t want to do that just yet. Especially not with a Special20; as they are some of the most maintenance-free harps on the market.

More than likely you’re only suffering from the “I-Just-Got-This-Brand-New-Harp-And-Can’t-Get-The-2nd-Hole-To-Play-Right-What’s-Wrong-With-It?” Beginner’s Syndrome!

Believe me I/we hear this a lot. Up next to and followed by all the “How Do I Bend?” tons of beginners’ scenarios on that subject, thinking they’re the only ones it happens to; and none do their homework to find out the answers for themselves in the first place either. Mwuahahahaha!!

Not to worry though. As this and those are only temporary conditions. And it/they will pass. But only if you give yourself TIME to learn and accomplish these things with/on the harmonica.

Again for now, do all of the above first. If/when it works out for you – Great!

If you’re still having difficulties, then we’ll work on you taking a look inside the harp to see what’s what. Just know that once you open up the harp for the very first time, you change it forever! Whether that’s good or bad…Well…

Thanks for reading!

Good luck!

Keep Us Posted!

Keep On Harpin’!

PS: In regards to giving Jess them sloppy kisses of yours – Okay if they’re on the sides. (And whatever happens in your house, stays in your house…I guess; am just saying…Mwuahahaha!!! But er um, yeah…)

Might be a good time to re-read your own topic thread on that. More importantly Reply #5:

Laters…Rock on, yo! 8)

Thanks SPD. You should turn your post into a sticky. :slight_smile:

Er um which one might that be, Big Daddy? :o

With all the others I have made sticky, and all the posts I make – If I made them all sticky, then I’d have to go a long long way to ever read your most enjoyable prose! ;D


And er uh: You’re welcome! :slight_smile:

Hope it all helps you too! :wink:

“Have Harp, Will Travel!”

It would be very unlikely to get a bad special 20.