Harp durabillity

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Harp durabillity

Postby paulw » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:48 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-17-06 AT 11:50 PM (EST)]What kind of reed life do you get with your harps? I know this is a tricky question, that dependes a lot on each players breath control.
I play mainly Delta frosts and I seem to get around 7 months from the two out of 7 I had go out on me. Which I think I can do better as I work on consistant breath control.
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RE: Harp durabillity

Postby bosco » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:39 am

depends on each players breath control

and how often they play...and how loud they play...and what type of music they play.

There are a miriad of factors involved. 7-8 months seems to in the ballpark for me. That's gigging 4-6 times a month, band rehearsal weekly and practice in between on my own. I don't blow out any E and F harps as the songs we play in B and C are limited. This shows a direct correlation between accumulated playing hours and reed failure.

I've posted many times that harps are not designed for blues, that they were intended to be "mouth organs". That is why the 4 and 5 draw are commonly the first to go, because the harmonica was not designed to have bent notes played on it.

I've still got a Hohner Hot Metal harp that is playable that I bought over 20 years ago. It was the first plastic combed harp I ever owned, and I've only jammed acoustically with it...never played it amplified with the band.

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RE: Harp durabillity

Postby qtheblues » Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:08 pm

Harps suck best.



I guess that the harps that'blow out' most are those keys that I sing in, mostly. D,C,Eb,A. I've had a set of real cheap AXL practice harps which I use most days for around 2 hours, and They're still as good as the day I got them (which isn't saying much - 'cos they weren't much to start with), but hey, they're 2 years old and going strong!
However, though I love the tone and response of the Suzuki ProMaster, their robustness is suspect. Even being VERY carefull and not over-blowing, I'm lucky to get a month of gigging from them, and so I've consigned them to the trash.
I think that for general purpose use, you can't go far wrong with the Lee Oskar or Hohner Special 20. Easy to get replacement reeds too.
I'm curious about the Bushman. Anyone got anything good to say about them?
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RE: Harp durabillity

Postby yjm_rules » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:42 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-18-06 AT 04:43 PM (EST)]I love the Bushmans playability but the tone seems a bit shrill to me. Also they have a problem with the lower keys. The reeds kind of keep buzzing after you've played the note. I can't attest for durability as I've only had them a couple of months.

Some people absolutely love these harps though so I guess its a case of trying one to see.

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RE: Harp durabillity

Postby the lips » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:57 pm

I tend to play Big Rivers, the durability of which seems to depend on the key. My C ones tend to blow out in about 3 months, but the ones in D last much longer. I also play Lee Oscars, which last okay, because they make a really horrible sound if you play em too loud, so there's barely ever any risk of blowing them out quickly.

Barclay's Harmonicas, whilst looking (and being) cheap, last for over a year.
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RE: Harp durabillity

Postby barbequebob » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:31 pm

The first two sentences in Bosco's post hits the nail on the head. Harps will last a long time if you do not EVER play them very hard and 80% of blues players tend to play too hard (excessive breath force), ESPECIALLY beginning and intermediate players, and this is EXTREMELY noticeable when they play their bent notes, and they tend to play those even harder when bending, which leads to the other way harps can last longer, and that's not bending a note at all.

The more you play them, in terms of gigs per month, NOT jams (unless you're guilty of the cardinal sin of playing with excessive force, which leads to playing with a wet mouth, which ultimately leads to quick harp blowout), and the amount of breath force being used all the time.

I've said this numerous times previously, but those two factors, ESPECIALLY poor breath control kills more harps and causes FAR more playing problems than defective harps ever does by a good 75% is often what kills harps quick. The other things are the way they're made, with things such as either harder or softer brass, reed plate thickness, the stiffness of the metal, and a whole variety of factors, but poor breath control, ESPECIALLY in the note bending process tends to be the primary cause for quick harp blowout more than anything else, which falls under the category of basically very poor playing technique.
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RE: Harp durabillity

Postby barbequebob » Tue May 09, 2006 8:33 pm

The MS series replacement reed plates are the Cross Harp reedplates and our host Coast To Coast Music most certainly does stock them. It is highly unlikely that you will EVER find a brick and mortar retail m,usic store that even has a clue about them, let alone knowledge of harmonicas, period.
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RE: Harp durabillity

Postby gogs » Wed May 10, 2006 2:06 am

The Rockshop and Canterbury Music,in Christchurch,NZ,know about them and sell a lot of harps,mostly Hohner.One even has a wee bellows so you can hear before you buy.
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