beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Flat Sanding The Draw Plate
Flat Sanding The Draw Plate
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138 posts
Dec 07, 2017
6:34 PM
This is for a Manji. I haven't done this procedure before but i've heard people on one hand claim the difference it makes is huge to people saying it's a waste of time. I love the tone of these Manji's and wonder if flat sanding would improve it further. What grade of paper is best?
162 posts
Dec 08, 2017
1:39 AM
All of my Manji plates (and combs) have been pretty darn great out of the box. But, I check/flatten the draw plate when I check/flatten the comb.

I like to have a slight downward bow in the plate then flex it flat using light pressure near the ends. I use carbide grit paper tapped to ¼” glass plates for this work.

For reed plates: I start by wet sanding with 400 grit then follow up with 600 to 1500.

I can’t say the effort changes the tone. But I do feel the combination of flattening the plate and comb creates a more air tight, sensitive, responsive…harp.

Just be sure to tape the sand paper to a flat surface and sand with care. Apply light even pressure across the top of the plate or comb. Find a good sanding pattern and check your progress to see that you are sanding evenly.

Flattening is not as effective as gapping. Is it a waste of time? Not IMO but I like working on harps. I will admit that I have become picky about how airtight my harps are. I tweak all my harps, some need it more than others, and I need all the help I can get.

It's about time I got around to this.
4 posts
Dec 08, 2017
1:46 AM
I have one Manji (key of C) and for the most part I thought it was okay. You have to pull a little bit harder on the draw bends, Jason Ricci in a video said it's like playing a guitar with 12 gauge strings whereas your other harps are like playing with 9's. Anyway, I bought an Andrew Zajac "Dark Comb," flat sanded the draw plate, etc. and now it plays ways better, more responsive, more airtight.
5115 posts
Dec 08, 2017
2:24 AM
I’ll be interested in your findings.
My mind does funny things. I don’t trust it. Just last week I found a local brewery we’re packaging some of their product in the old fashioned livery of my youth.
I bought some, and when I tried it I declared it even tasted like the first beer I’d ever tasted. I was happy about that because I’d disliked their product ever since the relaunch some years ago when it became decidedly floral-hop flavoured.
I wrote to them and asked if they would consider making this ‘old recipe’ ongoing.
They replied that it was the same beer they’d been making for some time, only the package was different.
Long way to say, I don’t know what to think about Reedplate sanding.
It’s definitely necessary at times, for instance if you are replacing a comb and the new one has no relief for the rivets, you need to sand the plate so the rivets are flush with the plate. But otherwise I don’t know that you can really make enough difference to make any difference. Some say it’s very noticeable. So I’ll be interested in what you find.
I just took my Sleigh custom C apart. Definitely no sanding has occurred with this harp and it’s almost too airtight.
139 posts
Dec 08, 2017
5:52 AM
Kerry; That's what i've been finding. I love the harp and the tone but dislike the #3D bend tone and action. It feels as if i really have to exert more breath force and i don't like that. It's gapped, embossed pretty tightly so i don't know what else to try and am sort of coming round to the idea that that's just the way Manji's are.

Adam: For god sake get rid of that code thing before posting! It drives me crazy and no other site has it. It's silly.
6 posts
Dec 08, 2017
12:37 PM
That's just how the Manji's are, yes. Try putting a Dark Comb on it, it'll make a bit of a difference.
141 posts
Dec 20, 2017
8:38 AM
So i flat sanded the Manji draw plate and i certainly notice a difference. Particularly in the area that was annoying me, the #3D. It was airy to me and taking too much effort compared to the other draw notes on the harp. After doing this i notice a big improvement in the amount of air it takes to bend the reed and i have more control over it.

I didn't do the increasing grade of paper the way dchurch says i just used 320 grade and it feels good. I was too lazy too change paper!

Should i do the comb as well? If so is there anything i need to watch out for? I don't know about Manji combs are they ok usually SOTB or do you need to sand them as well?
5130 posts
Dec 20, 2017
1:50 PM
Did you see any obvious high spots as you were sanding?
Raised areas around the drilling holes for instance?
If you flatten a surface and then mate it to a non flat surface, it’s unlikely to be airtight. But your comb may be quite ok.
The only really flat commercially available aftermarket combs I know of are made in Canada.
62 posts
Dec 20, 2017
2:08 PM
Interesting, I have several Manjis and they all play really good no air loss except for two, a C and a Bb, and the only time I notice it is when I slide from one draw note to another I find I need more air than i should.
It's surprising to think that a small bump on the draw plate could cause that.
142 posts
Dec 20, 2017
6:37 PM
No Bee i never noticed that. The latest one i did it with was a low Eb. It has helped the bends in #3.

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