Cleaning a harp

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

Cleaning a harp

Postby Pastor Harmonica » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:42 am

What's the best way to clean a harp? Plastic comb and wood comb.
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Re: Cleaning a harp

Postby jeffl » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:52 pm

I've played harp for 45 years and all I've ever done is rinse 'em about once a year with water and smack the crap out of 'em 'til they're dry. However, I do think it depends on how full of junk you get your harps. I NEVER eat before playing harp, and never during the gig either. I've totally passed up buffets with great food many,many times. I make sure that I don't eat at least 2-3 hours before I play... even just jams. If one is in the habit of blowing food through a harp then maybe vinegar water or somethin' is called for. BTW, I don't even blow up a harp a year anymore (and I play every week) and I don't get stuck reeds ( And I play stock harps; no gapping or bevelling) . If harpers have trouble with harps performing well, imo the problem is in the initial end of harp care, not the terminal end.

I've always thought that plastic combed harps might be more sanitary than unsealed wood combs. Sealed wood combs might be a different story.
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Re: Cleaning a harp

Postby bottleneck » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:06 pm

i use alcohol and a Q-tip.

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Re: Cleaning a harp

Postby jeffl » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:51 pm

Oh yeah. Me too. I use alcohol when I jam. :lol:
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Re: Cleaning a harp

Postby jbone1 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:27 pm

i use alcohol- 91%, the strong stuff. i pop the covers and plates off, soak the reed plates in the alcohol, and then use a lint free cloth- like for cleaning eyeglasses with- and also i will run a very thin strip of metal under the reeds and around the reed slots, and rinse again. the mag strips you find in those little white things on a cd are ideal for this. there are 3 or 4 in a pack, you just slit open the little plastic sleeve to get them out.

personally, i guess i am sometimes a "wet" player, so when saliva dries onto reeds for long enough, it will flatten the reed's pitch. noticeably. for a long time i just set those harps aside, not realizing that a good cleanup would put them back in tune.

in a pinch i will use warm water, gently running it into the harp. letting it sit a minute and then tapping the water out. care must be taken to get ALL the water out or you risk damaging a reed!

if you carry a harp in your pocket with no case you are asking for problems. single harps belong in a box or pouch, multiple harps in a gig case. protected from lint and all the other foreign object that will find their way into a harp. when i was a little kid, after my gramps had passed, i was snooping in an end table drawer and ran across 3 or 4 old hohner chromatics- all with hearing aid batteries stuck under the covers! of course the acid in the batteries had ruined the reed plates. i always remembered that and never just stuck a harp in a drawer or pocket without protecting it.
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Re: Cleaning a harp

Postby OldWailer » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:10 am

This is my favorite method--except I use Gordon's Dry Gin for the last rinse because the flavor is better after you're done. . .

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