Re: Lee Oscar Maintenance

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Posted by Stan Besaw on March 20, 2001 at 16:26:49:

In Reply to: Lee Oscar Maintenance posted by Bluzharper on March 19, 2001 at 05:21:09:


Gapping is always a good thing, but I don't think that is what solved the problem. Nothing in depth has been written about replacing reed plates at this site (or by the Lee Oskar Co. for that matter), but there is definitely an art to replacing reed plates on a Lee Oskar harmonica so that it plays as well as it originally did.

The trick is in how the reed plates are seated before the reed plate screws are put in. You need to slide the plates around between your fingers so that they are snuggly fitted (seated) on the comb. ONce this is done, hold them securely between the fingers of one hand while adding the reed plate screws with the other. Don't over or under tighten these screws. Too tight makes the plates buckle and leak air. "Just snug" is all you want. In other words, looser is better than tighter because the cover plates are going to hold them in place anyway.

When screwing the cover plates back on, make sure they are also seated directly on the reed plates. Once again, don't over tighten these screws, it doesn't help. In fact, in messing around with reed plate replacement over the years, I've found that many times tightening the 'high end' screw a bit more than the 'low end' screw actually makes the the low end play better (louder). Experiment with the cover plate screw tension and use what works best.

Good luck,

: One of the Lee Oscars Ive changed reed plates on became somewhat hard to play. I first ran warm water thru the harp and gently tapped it into the palm of my hand to remove the water, thus cleaning it. I removed the cover plates and noticed some of the reed gaps were out of adjustment. I take one hole at a time and using a tooth pick or a very small metal tool press on the reed about in the middle to set the gap to where it plays easily. I hold the cover plates in place and blow and draw each hole and see how it plays. When I get the feel I want I move to the next reed. I first tried this on an old cheap harp to get use to how much pressure it would take to change a reed setting. I set the reed on the old harp to both extremes to feel what it would be like to have too big a gap and then too little a gap and then just right. After all the reeds are set bolt the cover plates back on and youre in business. For the record I have very little if any trouble with Lee Oscars, they are excellent harps. Good Luck..Darol

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