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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > gapping and bending
gapping and bending
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331 posts
Jul 25, 2018
5:55 PM
I'm having difficulty on a C harp getting the 2" and 3"' bends. They're almost there but not quite. I don't have that problem with my A harp and I've tried with a couple different C harps with the same result so I'm assuming the problem lies with me. However, I'm wondering if slightly increasing or decreasing the gap width of the 2 and 3 draw reeds would make it easier.
5507 posts
Jul 25, 2018
8:47 PM
first establish whether the harp is ok or not.

if you have the same problem on C harps generally id say quite likely its your approach

you're OK with an A so how about a Bb? if you have a Bb, practice with that. if you are good with a Bb, try a B, if you have one.

how about the 1 whole draw bend on the C. is that OK? what about the 4 draw?

how does the harp play when you don't try to bend?
if you play those holes, both draw and blow, very lightly is there any hesitation? does it take a moment for the reed to sound when you use the lightest breath? How does that compare to your other harps, other reeds on your harp?

if you decide the harp is problematic:

it could be that your gaps are too wide. but id think unlikely they are too close unless your experience is that the harp 'chokes out' when you bend. i'm assuming your experience is just that you cant get the note down to the right pitch but if the harp just cuts out or starts to buzz that's a different problem

it could be gapping would improve things. you could take the harp apart and give it a visual inspection. if your eyesight is relatively normal you should be able to see whether the gaps are too wide or close. id suspect the blow reed could be too high and the draw too tight perhaps but id really have to see the harp.

Gaps aren't the whole story though. if the gaps seem ok, the issue may be the shape of the reed as it enters the slot. this can have a couple of aspects. considered end to end, the reed might dive in nose first, or possibly it goes in belly first. this is usually not too hard to adjust, with careful observation and use of pressure/counter-pressure to adjust the shape. more difficult is where the reed goes in with a twist

both these conditions can be fixed but in the case of steel reeds with a twist i usually throw them away and install a new reed because that is a 10 minute operation whereas correcting the twisted reed can take much longer and even though Seydel reeds cost about $2 each its much cheaper and less annoying

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