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Thread: Mouth harp won't blow!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
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    Default Mouth harp won't blow!

    Hey, I have two mouth harps (harmonicas) that I cannot blow a note from certain holes. I can draw, but no blow.
    I'm a rank beginner, could I be doing something wrong?
    Could it be bent or warped reeds? I heard that reeds can be changed, but I have no idea where to order new ones. One of the harps is less than 2 months old....
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Default

    Reeds can get stuck in their slots because the rivet holding it is loose or a burr, etc. Sometimes a bit sharper blow will unstick it. Sometimes you might have to remove the cover and muck around a bit - unless the covers are nailed on, in which case you're mostly out of luck. What's the brand?
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, C Lava
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Kala KA-GL-Koa, G EFS, O Warm/Worth B

    Jim's Blog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    3,353

    Default

    If you remove the covers, make sure the reeds are directly over the slots. You can push them a bit (not hard) to reposition them. Also you can carefully push them into the slot to check their fit. Also look for food particals (yuk!) or other nastiness gunking up the reeds. You should also rinse out your mouth before you play and slap the harp hole side down on your palm when you’re finished.

    I played and worked on them for years. I still play some of mine once in a while.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBE- Fingerstyle
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Lo F BbDF Fingerstyle
    Luna “Peace” concert - CGDA (5ths) Fingerstyle

    Kala tenor eight string - gGcCEEAA Strum
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-F BbDG Strum
    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B Strum

    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift)
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift

    Old age should rather be feared than death. - Juvenal
    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    Reeds can get stuck in their slots because the rivet holding it is loose or a burr, etc. Sometimes a bit sharper blow will unstick it. Sometimes you might have to remove the cover and muck around a bit - unless the covers are nailed on, in which case you're mostly out of luck. What's the brand?
    Jim, they are all Hohners. And they're all screwed together.

    Thanks D.U.D. I'll have to look into that!
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,268

    Default

    Definitely unscrew the covers and have a look around. Is there any pattern to the holes having trouble? Which holes and key of harp?
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, C Lava
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Kala KA-GL-Koa, G EFS, O Warm/Worth B

    Jim's Blog

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    5,744

    Default

    If your harps are diatonic (10 hole) & you have furry pets, it's likely a strand of fur is blocking it.

    If they are chromatic, the valves are likely stuck together (happens when you blow minute particles of spit that gets between the layers), & they will need cleaning carefully with a bit of damp paper between the layers.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

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