Re: Sorry for the annoyance ...

On Wed, 29 Sep 1993, Marc Dashevsky wrote:
> Regarding soaking harps:  When I experimented with soaking mine
> (about 20 years ago) I found that the old Marine Bands sounded louder
> for a short time, but that the wood swelled and irritated my lips.
> Nowadays, I'm enamored of the Lee Oskar harps which I find to be nice
> and loud and bright.  I suspect that soaking may have been used by
> those playing unamplified in order to get more volume out of the harp.
> Marc

Soaking harps did start out to get more sound but also more control. Since
I do play wood comb harps about half of the time, I've found soaking them
to be critical. My blues harps and so on don't really need it that much
but my Marine Band requires so much air to bend the 3draw when it hasn't
been soaked that I couldn't dream of playing it through an entire
show. Without being soaked (especially my Marine Band in A) the sound is
just awful on the bends, however, after a brief soaking it screams!

About the wood swelling up and irritating the lips, I have had the same
problem, however, many harp players including myself have adopted the
technique of using a knife to cut off the protruding wood after it has
swelled so it no longer irritates your lips. I got the idea of cutting off
the protruding wood from an old book called blues harp. As long as you
don't get wood shavings inside the harmonica and start inhaling them it
seems to work pretty well. I've heard it shortens harp life, but I haven't
noticed any difference, except that my Marine bands last longer than my
more sensitive plastic comb harps regardless of the fact that I soak them.
I'm sure others have had worse experiences than I have though with soaking.


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