Re: break in

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Posted by Stan Besaw on May 06, 2001 at 23:10:15:

In Reply to: break in posted by David on May 05, 2001 at 17:23:14:


I don't mean to gang up on you, but Brian is right. There are a number of myths surrounding the harmonica that are left over from the 60's and 70's. Most of them pertain to the fact that back then the only harmonicas available were wooden-combed Hohner Marine Bands.

Breaking in made sense, doesn't now.
Soaking them made sense, doesn't now.
(Oh yeah, and Hohner Blues Harps are not better for playing the blues because some guy in marketing decided to call it a "Blues Harp").

I play Lee Oskars almost exclusively. When I get new ones the first thing I do is "gap" them and tune them up the way I like to hear them (especially the octaves).

They will not play any better than on the first day. The more you play them, the "mushier" the reeds get. They don't respond as nicely as they get old (just like guitar strings). If you have a "leaky" harmonica or have trouble bending, it may seem to get better as it gets older, but with a quality harmonica and good technique, that point becomes moot.

Good Luck,

: One thing I haven't come across in this site is mention of the importance of breaking in a new harp. This can be a vital contribution to the longevity of your harp. I start by sounding 3 or 4 holes at a time w/ just enough breath to vibrate the reeds, up and down the harp. If one reed isn't sounding don't try to force it, it will probably loosen up after a few passes. After a couple of hours of this I start doing gentle bends still using just enough breath to get the bend. Since I've been doing this my harps have been lasting longer,or so it seems. Can anyone offer any other break in techniques or comments?

: My daughter knows how to play the harmonica.

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