Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Blues harp replacement reeds
Blues harp replacement reeds
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Blowin Owen
2 posts
Feb 11, 2019
7:02 AM
Found a couple of old Blues harps the other day in a drawer out in the shop, 4th draw blown (surprise) so I started looking for replacement reed sets, Hohner has them for 28 bucks a pop, a couple of other sites found a little over 30 bucks, for not much more can buy the whole harp, so I was wondering if anybody out there knows of a more economical solution, would like to get new reeds and maybe a non-wooden comb, thinking about a Big River comb. guess I could buy the individual reeds and try installing them, have never done that before though, hate to toss them worth trying to bring back to life.
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Blowin Owen
Bilzharp
181 posts
Feb 11, 2019
7:39 AM
Unless something has changed, the individual reeds that Hohner sells aren't for Master Series harmonicas. I guess your only option would be reed plates or stealing the reeds from other MS harps. Now if you're talking about the smaller, 20th century Blues Harp (essentially a Marine Band with a different cover), then the individual reeds they sell will work.
florida-trader
1419 posts
Feb 11, 2019
10:21 AM
Blowin' Owen - when you say "old Blues Harps" can you clarify what you mean? Since the 70's the Blues Harp has been a member of the MS-Series family of harmonicas which includes the Big River, Cross Harp and many others. Prior to then, the Blues Harp was essentially a Marine Band with different covers. The easist way to tell is this. Are the covers secured via one screw on either side or are they fastened with two nails on each side? If they are nailed, your harps are pre-MS. If they are screwed, then it is a MS-Series Blues Harp. This is important information beacuse they have different size reeds. If it is a pre-MS Blues Harp you can use reeds off Marine Band reed plates. If it is a MS-Series harp, you have to use MS-Series reeds. That's if you plan to go hunting for replacement reeds.

The simplist solution would be to send it to Mike Peace in Tulsa. Here's his contact info.

http://mpr66ch.blogspot.com/2010/05/mike-peace-route-66-custom-harmonicas.html

Mike will replace a blown out reed, clean and tune your harp for a whopping $15.00. And he has replacement reeds for both the pre-MS and the MS-Series Blues Harps.

If you are looking for a non-wood replacement comb, you can get one from me or from Andrew Zajac who is a prominant member of this group. We both make custom combs for the MS-Series and - pre-MS Blues Harps.
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Tom Halchak
Blue Moon Harmonicas
Blue Moon Harmonicas
SuperBee
5815 posts
Feb 11, 2019
11:54 AM
That’s all good info above, just a small typo which could potentially be confusing; Tom’s post should say ‘since the 90s (ie NOT ‘the 70s’) the Blues Harp has been a member of the MS-series ...”
dougharps
1905 posts
Feb 11, 2019
11:55 AM
Tom, in the early to mid '70s I played the smaller Blues Harps which were essentially a Marine Band comb and plates with different covers that were not as open. I still have one old small Blues Harp cover in my junk box, but can't find the other cover. Everything was nailed on those Blues Harps, just like the Marine Band. I threw a lot out that I wish I had kept.

While playing in that band I held some Blues Harp covers on with rubber bands on the ends because the cover nails got too loose after repeated maintenance. I had figured out how to raise the pitch on a flat reed via physics. There were no guides to repair back then. Oh, those Blues Harps and my Marine Bands also had been soaked, per Tony Glover book suggestion, so there were a number of negative factors impacting my harps beyond playing too hard. Comb swelling and shrinking and loose nails was the result of repeatedly soaking the unsealed wood comb. What a dumb idea! Momentarily improved playing while ruining harps...

I used the small Blues Harps up through playing in a band during '75 and '76. I did not see any MS harps available in Midwest USA music stores at that time. I was not even aware of their existence. They might have been available in Europe. After the band broke up in '76 I played less frequently and did not buy harps for quiet a while, so they might have arrived after that.

I didn't hear of MS (Modular System) Hohners until around 1990 when I had resumed playing. I bought and used Special 20s for a while, and then switched to Lee Oskars because they seemed to last longer and replacement reed plates were available. Until your post mentioned an earlier date for MS harps I had always thought that MS harps were Hohner's response to Lee Oskar harps having replaceable reed plates.

Doug S.
SuperBee
5816 posts
Feb 11, 2019
1:10 PM
I was wondering if I’d been too pedantic in pointing out that glitch, but there you go.
I’m not sure of the exact year the MS were introduced, I’m pretty sure they were testing market reaction in 91 before official release. I’ve got ‘92 in mind but I can’t say for sure without looking it up
90s though.
florida-trader
1420 posts
Feb 11, 2019
1:11 PM
I stand corrected. The MS-Series was introduced in the 90s, not the 70s as I stated in my post. Thanks for the correction.
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Tom Halchak
Blue Moon Harmonicas
Blue Moon Harmonicas
Blowin Owen
3 posts
Feb 11, 2019
1:42 PM
yeah Tom, they are MS-Series, I found the reed plates on the Hohner site and thought they were a little expensive, to get both my Blues Harps repaired for the price of one set of reeds sounds like a good deal, thanks. Also I have seen some of your work and I am very impressed did not know you had combs for the Blues Harp though
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Blowin Owen
SuperBee
5818 posts
Feb 12, 2019
12:29 AM
I used to play MS Blues Harps as my harp of choice from not long after I committed to learning, around 97, until around 2010.
I still have quite a few from back then plus a few more acquired since I began repairing.
The older ones (edit: I mean the early years of the MS harps) have rivets with large heads which I always found were a pill to remove. And they are tricky to find single reeds for but there are 3 different slot size templates used across the range of keys so there’s a chance you can find good used reeds if you keep a good stock of old reedplates in as many keys as you can find.

I have a Bb somewhere which has a bamboo comb from Hetrick. It was already a good harp but the new comb did seem to lift it a notch. If nothing else, it was nicer to play with the lacquer and rounded tines.

10 years ago my LMS didn’t carry Marine Bands, and I did all my harp shopping locally. It was either Lee Oskar, Blues Harps or Sp20, or some of the Suzuki lines, mainly Blues Master. And the cheaper models. I’d bought a Sp20 in the mid 90s and over here at that time they were MS harps too. I just assumed that’s what they were and I really did not like the one I’d bought, so I never tried another.
The Lee Oskar cost $5 more than the Blues Harp and I had some bug in my heAd about plastic combs, so Blues Harps were it.
I thought I might like the pre-MS model so I tried one. It was a crummy harp. MP fixed it up for me with a new corian comb and put Marine Band covers on it. I agree with him that it was much improved. I tried the improved harp retrofitted with the original covers. I’ve never been curious to play that configuration again.

Last Edited by SuperBee on Feb 12, 2019 12:30 AM
florida-trader
1421 posts
Feb 12, 2019
7:36 AM
Thanks for your kind words Owen. I make combs for all the 10-hole diatonic harps made by Hohner, Suzuki, Seydel and Lee Oskar. I am also an Authorized Hohner Dealer and a Suzuki Dealer.
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Tom Halchak
Blue Moon Harmonicas
Blue Moon Harmonicas


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