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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Seydel low A
Seydel low A
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86 posts
Apr 27, 2019
7:25 AM
I have a Seydel low A which I bought in error and haven't really played, couldn't get on with it and assumed it was me. Got it out this afternoon it still didn't play very well and the nine hole blow doesn't play at all. So I took it apart and from what I can make out the reed doesn't fit in the slot in the reed plate, it seems to catch in the corner. Engraved on the reed plate at the end of the reed is U54 or V54. Any body know what it means? Also holes one and two appear to be valved, is that normal. It's a Seydel Blues favourite by the way.

Last Edited by knight66 on Apr 27, 2019 7:26 AM
5910 posts
Apr 27, 2019
8:09 AM
I expect the valves are probably standard on such a low harp.
The engraving is normal too, but I’m not sure what it means. It may be quality control

If the 9 reed is catching, it could be slightly off centre or misaligned.

You can make a reed wrench by finding a suitable thin piece of metal and cutting a suitable size slot.
Depends what tools you have available.
A feeler gauge can serve as stock, or a piece of old reed plate, maybe the top of a can

Cutting a slot can be done with grinder but I’ve used hacksaw and files in the past. Brass and aluminium are easy to get on with but may not last.

Reed alignment doesn’t put much stress on tools though.

You can sight through the slot, with light on the other side, maybe reflected light is best, bouncing off a white surface seems to work for me, and use a finger to operate thevreed while you observe what it looks like as it goes in. Harder to talk about than it is to do.

If it’s out of line, you need to realign it. Hence the reed wrench chat

If it’s a burr, these can be hard to see and once seen can also be hard to precisely locate. And on steel reeds they’re a bit harder to remove. If it’s on the slot, you can probably clear it with a shim, but take care not to cut new burrs with the shim.

Sounds like misalignment though.
Fairly common with steel reeds but less so on the high end.

Is there a warranty?
5911 posts
Apr 27, 2019
8:12 AM
Oh, is the favourite a brass harp? They always used to be.

Obviously I was thinking about steel.
87 posts
Apr 30, 2019
5:09 AM
yep it's brass, sadly with a cracked reed now. I'm going to have learn how to replace reeds I've now got three with broken reeds.Which begs a couple of questions.
Where do you buy reeds from
how do you tune a low harp
I've been looking at Andrew Zajac very good videos on how to replace reeds and looking on amazon for drill and tap sets.
The reason I ask about reeds is the only place i can find that sells them is the manufacturer. Well hohner anyway.
5922 posts
May 01, 2019
2:10 AM
Yeah you can buy direct from Seydel. I think they sell in packs of 3.
When a reed cracks, sometimes it twists and can at first glance appear like a misaligned reed, so I expect that’s what happened with yours.

When I asked on this site about replacing a brass reed on a Seydel, Greg Jones (who is the official repair person for Seydel in USA) told me to not be silly. He was incredulous at the thought I’d consider using a brass reed.
Andrew Zajac, on the other hand, has taken the position that you couldn’t possibly use a steel reed in s brass harp because the tone is too different.
I’ll let you make up your own mind (as if you would do anything else!) but fwiw I took Greg’s advice and have done so quite a few times. No one has ever complained or even hinted they could pick a difference. Personally I can’t either. But, setting up a new steel reed to feel exactly like it belongs in a brass harp (or just setting up a steel reed to play well) can be demanding. Sometimes they are easy and play nicely right off the bat. If they don’t though, they are not so easy to change.

I did not tackle steel reeds until I’d made a few repairs on brass, and I think I probably tried working on my own harps first. I have had to discard a few steel reeds in the course of learning what to do, and I won’t claim I never ruin them anymore. I’m quite capable of going too far and having to start over, more carefully. Mistakes are annoying but reeds are fairly cheap.
I am fortunate to have been given lots of used steel reedplates

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