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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Sharp edges on Horner Crossover
Sharp edges on Horner Crossover
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1 post
Feb 06, 2020
6:11 PM
I’m new to harp and have been using either Lee Oskar or Hohner Rocket harps. I decided to try a wooden comb model since so many use them, and bought a Crossover. While the sound is nice, the covers have sharper edges than either the Rocket or Lee Oskar, and is uncomfortable to cup. Is this normal? The Crossover is supposed to be a pretty decent harp, and I’m surprised at this.
3126 posts
Feb 06, 2020
7:56 PM
First, welcome to a good joint for harp stuff. Lots of good counsel here.
45+ years since I got my first harp.

I like wood or composite comb harps mostly although I have some plastic combs as well.
What you describe I have not encountered since I don't use Crossovers. I like Deluxes and have not found any sharp edges. Is it the reed plate edges? Corners? You can deal with it using sandpaper. If it's the front edge of the reed plate you will likely need to disassemble the harp and deburr the front edge. If it's sharp corners or ends you may still want to deburr the ends. about 3 grades of sandpaper from say 180 grit to 400 grit should be a help. Of course after sanding you will want to clean thoroughly.

Question for you: How hard are you pushing the harp into your lips? And how harp are you holding it? Possibly if you use less pressure on the harp yet keep a good seal. To me this is an instrument I address a certain way.

I have a lot of various brand/model harps in my kit. Stock MB, Custom MB, MB Deluxe, a couple of Seydel 1847, a SP20, a Deuce and a Half, an Eastop, several Suzuki Manji's, a Suzuki Pure harp, a Suzuki Hammond, a couple of Hohner Big Rivers. Probably more. My thing is, I try to adapt to the harp in its stock form if possible.

Ask more questions! Plenty of answers to be had. It's a great trip to be on.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.



2068 posts
Feb 06, 2020
8:08 PM

Is it the back corners of the open cover plates that seem sharp on your hands? Some of mine seem sharp back there...

Or is it where the groove at the front of the reed plate ends at the side of the plate near the front of the harp? I recently encountered this and used a small diamond file (bought many years ago at Radio Shack) to smooth the corners.

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Feb 06, 2020 8:15 PM
2 posts
Feb 06, 2020
8:35 PM
Jbone, thank for your reply. It isn’t the reed plates or comb that’s a problem. It is the reed covers. The reed plate covers have corners (the part that is in your hand) are not folded over, but are just edges. The Rockets and Lee Oskars are folded over and not just the edge of the metal. I can smooth them out no problem, but for a updated harp, one would think that it would be better finished.

I have found great advice here already in my brief journey into harp. I am a long time guitarist (going on 52 years) and in the interests of learning something new decided to take up the harp.
3 posts
Feb 06, 2020
8:38 PM
dougharps, thanks for your reply. It is the back corners of the open cover plates. The part that actually goes in my mouth is fine. Different from the basic Special 20 design followed by the Rocket, but OK. I like the recessed plates in the LO and Rockets, but so many people swear by Marine Band that I wanted to check them out. One of the books I’m using specifically recommended the Crossover.
6473 posts
Feb 07, 2020
2:41 AM
Hi Hamerman, yeah the Crossovers I have we’re purchased back in 2011 or 2012, and back then as I recall I thought the front (mouthwards) part of the covers was finished more nicely than the standard marine band. The rear corner though is pretty much the same as the 1896 except perhaps not quite as flared.
Now, I don’t know if the crossover covers are still getting the same attention as they used to.
It’s pretty clear they’re stamped out of the same shapes. So I think there’s just an extra process on the crossover/deluxe/thunderbird covers. But not on the rear corners.

I think I did once find that annoying but I haven’t really noticed it since long ago. I expect I either got used to it or adapted my grip. Actually I think that is what I do, just shift the harp so it’s not totally jammed into that angle between thumb and finger.
316 posts
Feb 07, 2020
4:11 AM
I did purchase a crossover awhile ago. Though it sounds and plays okay I found it wasn't that comfortable for me to play. Harp seemed smaller and the cover plate sharp.

There are so many harps to play these days I just went over to other harps that had a nice feel to them.
198 posts
Feb 07, 2020
5:12 AM
I’ve been playing sp20s for 15 years and they are comfortable. I love the responsiveness of the crossover but I agree that the protruding reedplates cause some discomfort. The corners of my mouth get pretty chewed up by them because I like to play with the harp deep in my mouth. You may want to try a custom sp20 to get the responsiveness of the crossover in a more comfortable package.
4 posts
Feb 07, 2020
5:42 AM
Thank you all for your answers to my question. It seems that this is the nature of the Marine Band style of cover. It looks like I may have to do a little modification on mine. But trying out a different style harp was the point. I am quite comfortable with my Rockets (which is a customized SP20) and Lee Oskars. It seems like the covers on those harps are more finished all around. I also like the recessed reed plates. The Crossover has a mellower sound, which I expected from the wooden comb. I didn't have a problem with the sandwich style reed plates, but I can see where that could be a problem. I wonder if a recessed sealed pearwood comb is made? Like a SP20 with a wooded vs ABS comb. The general conclusion for me is that the SP20-Rocket and LO harps work for me!
3127 posts
Feb 07, 2020
7:14 AM
There are a couple of pretty big after market comb makers. I have yet to see a recessed wood comb like on a SP20.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.



199 posts
Feb 07, 2020
7:25 AM
The rocket is not a customized version of the sp20. The reedplates are the same as the sp20 (but they seem to be gapped higher on the rocket). and no special reedwork is done by a customizer. Hohner does open up the backs of the cover plates. As a special 20 player I was massively disappointed when Hohner released the Rocket. I was hoping they would do a deluxe version of the sp20 to match their deluxe marine band with more attention put into the reed gapping and profiles. My guess is the LOs play equally to the Rocket. You could save a boatload of cash by just playing the LOs, especially if you don’t mind equal tuning.

Last Edited by sonvolt13 on Feb 07, 2020 7:27 AM
5 posts
Feb 09, 2020
10:32 PM
I didn’t realize that customized meant that the reeds were tweaked up by a tech. All I was saying is that the Rocket has different structural features to a Special 20, supposedly making it a superior harp. I like the rounded comb and holes. It is very comfortable to play. I was able to get several when Guitar Center ran a discount, so it was worth it to invest in a better grade instrument than the LO. But I like the LO.

I’m in an interesting position as a budding harp play, having played blues, rock and jazz guitar and bass for decades. I know the music theory from that end, so the challenge is actually learning the new instrument. And getting used to bends that go down rather than up. The journey is proving to be a lot of fun. It is also wonderful all the help that is given. Thank you all.
Caitlin P
15 posts
Feb 17, 2020
11:24 AM
If you haven't fixed this yet, the method is just plain old sandpaper and then aluminum polish. Go from 120ish to 1000ish in 3 or 4 steps, then finish with some $4 mothers polish from Walmart. It'll look like new and be smooth.

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