beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > F harp issue
F harp issue
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Fil
392 posts
Aug 30, 2018
6:51 PM
I had a sluggish 6b on a SP20 F that I opened up to clean and gap. Now I have a 6 blow and 6 draw that for some reason give what sound like a double stop as I pass from 5 to 6 and 6 to 7. I pucker clean single notes pretty well and get a clean single 6 blow and draw right on the meproblem is just on the transition. No other holes on the harp do this. My other Fs don’t do this. So what did I do wrong on the gapping. I checked the shapes of the reeds, made sure the reeds are centered on the slots. The comb and plates look ok. I’ve been simple gapping for a while now. This is a first. Advice?
Thanks.
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Phil Pennington
SuperBee
5572 posts
Aug 30, 2018
11:43 PM
Man! This diagnosis at a distance is tricky.

When you say it sounds like a double stop, is it actually a double stop? Or just a noisy buzz?

The 6 blow was sluggish, so I imagine you closed it a little.

And it’s both blow and draw, but both play ok in isolation?

How about when you play with very light breath? Or hard breath? How is the bend? Can you sustain the bend?

There aren’t too many things can be responsible. It’s a Sp20, so are the plates seated properly? To my embarrassment, I once put them on the wrong way around! I’m sure you’d know if that was the case but there are more subtle things can happen when you take a harp apart. Maybe double check the comb is clean and nothing has got in there to minutely interfere with the reeds.

I’d mainly suspect a reed touching the slot as it is activated, perhaps a burr or a twist or a poorly seated plate distorting the slot. Or an off-centre reed. Or maybe you set the reeds up so they activate more easily than you’re used to and you haven’t adapted yet. It’s a long shot, but we do make almost unconscious adjustments to the way we play to deal with uneven response. Think about how it is when you go to play a reed and the harp is upside down, or you go for a bend but you’ve picked up a D harp instead of an A for instance. You expect one thing and without thinking, you make a whole lot of preparatory adjustments which don’t work. Long shot.
Fil
393 posts
Aug 31, 2018
5:59 PM
Thanks, SB. I’ll work thru this and report back.
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Phil Pennington
SuperBee
5578 posts
Sep 16, 2018
8:29 PM
How did you get on,Fil? any further insight to what was happening?
Fil
394 posts
Sep 17, 2018
5:41 PM
SB, thanks for the nudge. I've been away from harp for a bit. I fiddled with the F this afternoon. Flat sanded the plates, checked the reed alignment and reed shape again, re-gapped. It bends fine. It's a Special 20, so can't do much with the comb. Not much changed. But I did a compare with my other Fs...two other SP20s and a Crossover, and the A in my pocket. There's a bit of the same effect on the 6 reeds in those as well. I sure it's me and it's actually a double stop. Pretty much goes away when I forget about it and just play. I may send it off for some TLC as it's one of my first harps and has been around a long while.
I appreciated your comment about stage etiquette. I left a concert one time after a stage pundit interrupted his concert with some political 'observations'. I was generally in sync with him, but it wasn't what I paid to hear. I'd paid for some time away from that. If I'd been in a bar, I wouldn't have left until I finished the drink I paid for, tho.


Phil Pennington
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Phil Pennington
SuperBee
5582 posts
Sep 18, 2018
4:14 AM
Right. Maybe you just made the harp more sensitive/responsive than it had been.

Yes, i think there is a time and place. Fair enough if the audience knows what to expect but i thought it was uncalled for in that circumstance.

That’s quite a few F harps you have.
Fil
395 posts
Sep 18, 2018
5:39 PM
"...quite a few F harps...." Yes, for no good reason. I blew out a reed on one early on and bought a new one to replace it, then learned I could get the reed repaired. So I did. Oh, and the Crossover is actually a MB Delux. CRS. I like that harp very much. Still too many Fs. But I like that key.

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Phil Pennington


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