Re: What's this about soaking harps?

> I've heard more than once on this list about the practice
> of soaking harps before playing in order to loosen the reeds
> so they'll bend easier.  (Correct me if I'm wrong)
> Anyway, can someone who has done this tell me something about
> the process?  Do you literally submerge the whole harp in
> a bucket of water?  For how long?

It doesn't take too much water to "loosen up" your reeds.  When I did
this I just held the harp under a running faucet for a few seconds
and found that it produced a noticeable change in ease of bending
notes.  This only works for wood-body harps, and will cause some
swelling of the wood.  It almost certainly shortens harp life, and I
no longer do it for that reason.

Another soaking method, reportedly used by Jimmy Reed among others,
was to dunk the harp in beer.  Haven't tried it but you might
consider this if image is important to you...

Eliot C. Williams
University of Wisconsin Medical School

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