Two questions...

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

Two questions...

Postby flatpaul » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:55 am

I haven't had a lot of time for playing the harp since the new year but I'm currently very sick and playing it all of the time. I've made a lot of progress over the past couple of weeks and am now pretty comfortable in 3rd position and have got a few new bends.

I think I've blown out a couple of my harps. One's a bluesharp in A - the 5 draw is dead. I think that I did it learning a slide up to 6 draw bend. It sounded like a cross between a 3 draw and a mosquito for a bit then it died completely.

The other's an Oskar in C - the 4 draw is dead.

Q1) Am I drawing too hard?


I've got a brand new Oskar in G and the 9 draw sounds 'mosquito like'. Sorry - I'm a beginner and that's the best that I can come up with description wise.

Q2) How do I fix this problem?

Thanks guys,

Paul
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Postby t bone bruce » Wed Jul 04, 2007 5:22 pm

To answer your questions:
1) Probably. Chances are you using too much air- blowing and drawing too hard. Barbecue Bob will confirm that it's the cause of a lot of problems for beginners. 2 draw and 4 draw go most commonly in my experience. They can be re-tuned but it takes practice. Lee Oskars, love them or hate them, are tough harps, I've had some for years, and only ever blown out 2- A&D harps, my two most used keys, which I retuned and I keep at work for practice.
2) -the complicated question: The reed might not be set square in its slot and be vibrating against the reedplate, or might not be gapped properly. Take off the covers and check there is no stuff caught in the reed for the 9 draw, and look to see if it is squarely set over it's cut out in the reedplate. if it's not gently square it up. The tip of the reed should be around it's own thickness above the hole, and can be pushed up or down slightly.(search for articles about gapping and reed alignment for more information). If none of that works contact Lee Oskar, and tell them. A good company likes to get feedback about it's product, good or bad and will want to keep you as a customer. IIRC Lee is very passionate about his product, and will probably come up with a solution. Hohner were very helpful to me last year when I emailed them.
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Postby thebluesbox » Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:18 pm

I blew out plenty when I was just starting and that was why, you get excited by the new dending and sounds your starting to make and you over do it. Just keep playing and the more you learn and the more you blow them out and buy more the more you will progress into not blowing them out as much.
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Postby barbequebob » Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:33 pm

t bone bruce wrote:To answer your questions:
1) Probably. Chances are you using too much air- blowing and drawing too hard. Barbecue Bob will confirm that it's the cause of a lot of problems for beginners. 2 draw and 4 draw go most commonly in my experience. They can be re-tuned but it takes practice. Lee Oskars, love them or hate them, are tough harps, I've had some for years, and only ever blown out 2- A&D harps, my two most used keys, which I retuned and I keep at work for practice.
2) -the complicated question: The reed might not be set square in its slot and be vibrating against the reedplate, or might not be gapped properly. Take off the covers and check there is no stuff caught in the reed for the 9 draw, and look to see if it is squarely set over it's cut out in the reedplate. if it's not gently square it up. The tip of the reed should be around it's own thickness above the hole, and can be pushed up or down slightly.(search for articles about gapping and reed alignment for more information). If none of that works contact Lee Oskar, and tell them. A good company likes to get feedback about it's product, good or bad and will want to keep you as a customer. IIRC Lee is very passionate about his product, and will probably come up with a solution. Hohner were very helpful to me last year when I emailed them.


I'm no fan of Lee Oskars, as I'm a more traditonal players, so I don't care for their bright sound and 12TET tuning, but they do last quite a while and if you've blown out a LO in a few months, I'm willing to bet the farm that you're clearly guilty of the begining and intermediate player's cardinal sin of using excessive breath force, ESPECIALLY when bending notes, which not only ruins harps fast, but also hurts your agility, and gives you really crappy tone!!!
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Postby flatpaul » Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:28 am

barbequebob wrote:I'm no fan of Lee Oskars, as I'm a more traditonal players, so I don't care for their bright sound and 12TET tuning, but they do last quite a while and if you've blown out a LO in a few months, I'm willing to bet the farm that you're clearly guilty of the begining and intermediate player's cardinal sin of using excessive breath force, ESPECIALLY when bending notes, which not only ruins harps fast, but also hurts your agility, and gives you really crappy tone!!!


Thanks for the tips - I'll try to work on my bends more and take it easy.

I prefer how a Marine Band sounds over an Oskar. Chords sound so much richer - even to the untrained ear. I'm thinking more about what's economical for me to play in order to earn my stripes. I don't want to wreck good/expensive harps.

The LO that I blew out is a pretty old one that somebody gave me. I don't know how old exactly but the bottom cover plate is the same depth as the top one and the case looks slightly different - the Oskar that I bought a couple of weeks ago where the bottom cover plate is thick. It's definitely my fault. Sometimes I get too excited when I'm trying to play something up beat. The more I play 3rd the more I begin to appreciate the subtle differences and relax when I'm bending.

I'll let you know how I go.

Thanks,

Paul
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Postby t bone bruce » Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:16 pm

I'm heading toward Sp20's more because of the tuning. About 2 years ago I started to tongue block, and I noticed the 12ET tuning more than I had when I was puckering. But I'm going to wait until I wear my existing harps out and gradually replace the LO's with Sp20's. Can't afford to do it any other way!
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