Wiping Your Harps

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Wiping Your Harps

Postby bosco » Mon Dec 23, 2002 12:17 am

Wiping your harps off after playing is an important part of harmonica maintenance as well as a hygenic plus. Use a soft cotton, lint free cloth to remove saliva residue, skin cells and fingerprints. While some may find the sound of this gross, it is even more so to leave all of that matter there! If you breathe on the harp covers before wiping, it will aid in removing stubborn matter. This also prevents oxidization which will eventually stain the covers if left unattended.

While this may seem like a no brainer, you would be surprised how many folks just throw 'em back into a lunch sack after the jam session. There are guitar players who wipe and maintain their axes, and there are guitar players who just stand 'em back in the corner.
Harps are no different. As we all know, equipment just lasts longer and performs better when it is taken care of.

To make an excellent wiping cloth for harp maintenance, make one of these hand mitts;

Take a 7" W X by 12" L piece of lint free cotton cloth. Fold it in half to 7" X 6" configuration. Sew it up the side and across the top to make a mitt that you can put your whole hand into. Now you can hold a diatonic by each end with your opposite hand while wiping both sides at once and not leaving any fresh pingerprints. The mitt can be tossed into the laundry to keep it fresh.

keep on harpin'...

Bosco
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby slidnslim » Mon Dec 23, 2002 2:38 am

Bosco, I'm going to get my two kids to read the first
paragraph of your post!Thanks.

Kenny.
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby srvlives » Mon Dec 23, 2002 2:51 am

>Take a 7" W X by 12" L piece of lint free cotton cloth. Fold
>it in half to 7" X 6" configuration. Sew it up the side and
>across the top to make a mitt that you can put your whole
>hand into. >keep on harpin'...
>
>Bosco

Now where are you gonna find a harp player who can sew?......

'Forget all about that macho #####,
and learn how to play guitar'
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby bosco » Mon Dec 23, 2002 5:15 am

>Now where are you gonna find a harp player who can
>sew?......

That's where the missus or yer Mum comes in. Convince 'em you'll purchase fewer harps as they'll last longer and it's a done deal! Actually, I was lucky enough to find some pre-made. A hotel where I stay on business trips puts them in the rooms as a courtesy to touch up your shoe shine.

"Fact...is stranger than truth!" Grandpa Jones
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby jellyroll baker » Mon Dec 23, 2002 11:59 am

I present as evidence for the amount of gunk that gets caught in harps:
EXHIBIT A: The fact that my harps tasted a hell of a lot better after I quit smoking.
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby bosco » Mon Dec 23, 2002 2:32 pm

>I present as evidence for the amount of gunk that gets
>caught in harps:
>EXHIBIT A: The fact that my harps tasted a hell of a lot
>better after I quit smoking.

JRB- Amen to that. Although I have never smoked, I spend a lot of time in smokey bars with my band or following blues. Years ago, I switched to plastic comb harps because of their projection and playability. I immediately noticed that they didn't reek afterwards like the wooden comb harps that had absorbed all that smoke. An unforeseen bonus!

I still have a couple wood comb Hohner Blues harps that I use as backups and I hate to have to play 'em for that very reason.

keep on harpin'...

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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby ricochet » Tue Dec 24, 2002 12:37 am

OTOH, keeping your harps unwiped could keep blowhards like the one that showed up at your recent gig from picking them up and honking on them.

I have a coffee cup at the office that I never wash, and I can always find it. Once in a while one of the nurses decides it's got to be washed (the last time was a couple of years or so ago), and it takes a while to redevelop the proper seasoning. It's kind of like the "cake" in a pipe bowl.
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby bosco » Tue Dec 24, 2002 5:09 am

>OTOH, keeping your harps unwiped could keep blowhards like
>the one that showed up at your recent gig from picking them
>up and honking on them.

RIC- I like your reasoning, but he had brought his own harps. They were as worn out as his tale about playing with B.B.; mismatched brands with plenty of crust and dented covers. He didn't have his keys marked either,(see my other post in this conference) and was having a hell of a time squinting at them in the dim light. Evidently his eyes weren't any better than his ears.

BTW - Twenty years ago I would have lent someone a harp to play and never given it a second thought! Strictly a no-no in today's social climate. Nobody plays my harps but the Boss-co.

PS- The dirty coffee cup a/o crusty harp theory works great though...folks will sure think twice about borrowing them! ;-)

"Instead of the cross, the Albatros, about his neck was hung."
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby hashtaff » Wed Dec 25, 2002 4:59 am

Contrary to popular docrtrine I occasionaly soak my harps, but I use pure alcohol (distilled by a friend of mine) you would be amazed at :
1. how much better they sound afterwards and...
2. the gunk that drops out of them!!!


"Blues don't know where you're going,
they don't care where you been.
Looks like blues done got me again "
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby ricochet » Wed Dec 25, 2002 5:28 pm

I'd be careful doing that with wood-comb ones, as it may take the finish off. LONG soaking of some plastics can be harmful, too, but a short soak won't hurt.

Hey, maybe I should ask Lovat to help me find the right sort of alcohol to soak my coffee cup, from the inside of course.
:7
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby hashtaff » Wed Dec 25, 2002 9:14 pm

>I'd be careful doing that with wood-comb ones, as it may
>take the finish off. LONG soaking of some plastics can be
>harmful, too, but a short soak won't hurt.
>
Hey, I might be Welsh but I'm not that thick but for the unitiated your point is a good one i.e. don't ever soak a wood combed harp (do they still make those?)unless you want to kiss goodbye to your lips.
btw as one medico to another pure (not absolute) alcohol being hydrophylic really seems to suck of the dried gunk (you know what I mean) from the reeds. Seems to work much better than just water but then I'm biased, towards alcohol that is.....

"Blues don't know where you're going,
they don't care where you been.
Looks like blues done got me again "
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby ricochet » Thu Dec 26, 2002 3:41 am

>Hey, I might be Welsh but I'm not that thick but for the
>unitiated your point is a good one i.e. don't ever soak a
>wood combed harp (do they still make those?)unless you want
>to kiss goodbye to your lips.

I know YOU know better, HashTaff. Never know who reads these things, though!

>btw as one medico to another pure (not absolute) alcohol
>being hydrophylic really seems to suck of the dried gunk
>(you know what I mean) from the reeds. Seems to work much
>better than just water but then I'm biased, towards alcohol
>that is.....

There are probably some lipid substances in the gunk (a technical term, gunk) that alcohol will dissolve but water won't.
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby bosco » Fri Dec 27, 2002 6:24 pm

>>Hey, I might be Welsh but I'm not that thick but for the
>>unitiated your point is a good one i.e. don't ever soak a
>>wood combed harp (do they still make those?)unless you want
>>to kiss goodbye to your lips.

This may be news to you medico types, but seeing as virtually all wooden comb harps are assembled with screws instead of nails these days, it would be very easy to disassemble the harp and soak only the reed plates in the alcohol thereby facilitating said maintenance procedure while omitting damage to the wood comb. :D

I know, your focus was on the alcohol...

"The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby hashtaff » Fri Dec 27, 2002 10:49 pm

Good point, Bosco.

"Blues don't know where you're going,
they don't care where you been.
Looks like blues done got me again "
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RE: Wiping Your Harps

Postby ricochet » Sat Dec 28, 2002 1:40 am

>I know, your focus was on the alcohol...

Y'could shay that. (hic)
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