Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Stuck reed in Crossover
Stuck reed in Crossover
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FastFourier
79 posts
Nov 15, 2018
9:03 PM
I mainly play Special 20s, but about a month ago I bought a Crossover just to see what it was like. At first it played fine, but today I discovered that the 1 hole blow reed is stuck - it won't play. I've never had a similar problem with any of my Special 20s (or any other harmonica that I've had less than a month). So I've learned my lesson, and will stick to SPs (which I'm perfectly happy with) in future.

Meanwhile, I'd like to at least get the 1 hole blow reed in the Crossover to play. I've taken it apart, looked for foreign matter in the reed slot, and fiddled with the reed, without any improvement. Here's my question: should I be trying to push the blow reed up into the slot, or down away from the slot? Does the former decrease the gap, while the latter increases it?

I can try to clean the reed plates, but having had the harp for so short a time, it doesn't seem like that would be the problem.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Last Edited by FastFourier on Nov 15, 2018 9:04 PM
jbone
2744 posts
Nov 15, 2018
9:22 PM
That new a harp, I'd send it to the US rep for Hohner and get it fixed or replaced. I would not touch it further but send it for warranty work Someone on here knows who the Hohner guy is.
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HarveyHarp
774 posts
Nov 15, 2018
9:33 PM
Since you already have it apart, take a toothpick, push the reed gently away from the slot. Make the gap just about like the 2 blow. Then plink it with a knife or something thin. Does it ring. If not hole the blow plate up to the light and see if the reed is centered. If now, then you have to center the reed.
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SuperBee
5651 posts
Nov 16, 2018
3:21 AM
FF, I’m not quite sure what you’re seeing.
Does the reed pass through the slot? If you lift it away from the slot a little, then release it so it springs back toward the slot, does it sound like the other reeds (generally. Of course it will have different pitch, but does it continue to vibrate or does it just go ‘plunk’ with a kind of dead sound)?

The long reeds are the most prone to alignment problems but they can also be a bit bent out of shape. Have you dropped the harp? Sometimes a dropped harp will develop a problem with the longer reeds, especially the lower keys. Seydel steel reeds are particularly susceptible.
If you find it’s misaligned, use a reed wrench to fix it. You may have to make one by cutting out a chunk from some flat shim stock or such. Something as thick as the metal used in a beer can is probably about as thin as you can use.

True story: I had a reed go out of alignment in a Key of C Crossover and I tried to straighten it up using a table fork for a reed wrench. I broke a reed thanks to this clumsy effort and as a direct result I made a decision to equip myself and learn to replace reeds. That has saved me so much money.
FastFourier
80 posts
Nov 16, 2018
6:44 PM
SB, yes the reed does pass through the slot. I didn't try plinking the reed. I'll take the harp apart again and take another look.

What is "flat shim stock"? I assume you mean a very thin piece metal. And to use it, so you mean push on the side of the reed to slightly rotate it, in case the reed isn't centered over the slot? I can give that a try.

Thanks.
jbone
2745 posts
Nov 16, 2018
6:51 PM
Usually you put a reed wrench over the riveted end of the reed and turn it ever so slightly. I've done that much a time or two. I modded a small metric end wrench to suit.
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SuperBee
5652 posts
Nov 16, 2018
7:38 PM
Yeah a relatively thin piece of metal, with a section removed so it can be used like jbone said, as a wrench.

I have heard of people using a just a shim and using it as a lever to push the reed across but I don’t really like that approach

What size gap do you have at the free end of the reed? If it’s too close sometimes they choke and won’t play. In that case you’d need to open it up a little. That seems more likely the case than set too wide.
It’s not exactly common for this to happen but it ‘can’ happen.
I’m sure you can find some good video demo on setting gaps if that is required

When a reed stops responding though ime it’s usually either some foreign matter blocking it, or bad alignment, or set too close.
Thievin' Heathen
1079 posts
Nov 16, 2018
9:46 PM
A reed that is gapped too tight could qualify as a "STUCK REED" If it plinks (rings) without a dead thud (hitting the side of the slot) it's probably gapped way too tight. Adam has a video out there on UTube using a business card to ever-so-gently tweak the reed gap open. And, on the 1 reed the thickness of a business card is just about the correct gap. A razor blade makes pretty good shim stock. I can't advocate using any kind of side pressure to push a reed to center in the slot. If it works, your reed is probably too loose at the rivet end and the reed is going to float/vibrate off center again soon anyway. If the rivet isn't loose, that kind of side load can permanently twist the reed.
SuperBee
5653 posts
Nov 17, 2018
1:52 AM
^+1
hvyj
3644 posts
Nov 17, 2018
3:25 AM
Rockin Ron sells a Seydel feeler gauge for $5. I’m no harp tech, but when I think a reed is misaligned or stuck and none of the other good suggestions made above work, I use the very thinnest blade of the feeler gauge and, first, VERY GENTLY slide it under the reed to the base in order to free up any possible debris. If the reed is still stuck, I then VERY GENTLY put the thinnest blade of the feeler gauge between the side of the reed and the reed slot and then VERY GENTLY run the tip of the blade along each side of the reed (first one side and then the other) slowly and gently moving it back and forth between the reed and the side of the slot from the tip of the reed to the base 2 or 3 times.

This will free up any debris that may be binding the reed and will also align the reed in the slot. It even works on welded Suzuki reeds. I’ve never caused any damage to a reed by doing this. I don’t even own a reed wrench. FWIW.

Last Edited by hvyj on Nov 17, 2018 3:32 AM
ridge
748 posts
Nov 17, 2018
5:36 AM
Check this out. In case you're unfamiliar with plinking or what a reed should look like or sound like when plinked.



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Thievin' Heathen
1080 posts
Nov 17, 2018
7:54 AM
The Suzuki "Welded Reed" thing is a bit of a misnomer. It may be some kind of automated spot welded manufacturing process but those reeds will move at the base.
FastFourier
81 posts
Nov 17, 2018
10:55 AM
Thanks for all your suggestions!


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