Re: Reed plate swap-outs

Scorcher wrote:
> Is there any way to "make-up" Low-Octave Golden Melody's? I love my
> GMs, and I love Low D, E, & F keys....
> Can an MS or HM reedplate be subbed in there - maybe by cutting down
> the outer dimensions?
> That is to say: Are there readily available Low-Octave reedplates 
> with the same reed spacing as the GM?

All the Hohner handmade harps (Marine Band, Special 20, Golden 
Melody) have the same internal reedplate dimensions, meaning that the 
slot lengths and spacing are the same.  As with the others, there are 
two slot lengths, short for Db and higher, long for C and lower.  
Unlike the Marine Band, all the Golden Melody combs (and the Special 
20s as well) are the same, regardless of slot length.

What's different are the external dimensions and the mounting and 
screw hole size and placement.  I have never tried adapting a 
reedplate from another handmade to the Golden Melody, though in 
should be possible.  It would require an extensive amount of cutting 
and drilling, especially if you wanted to duplicate the original 
Golden Melody screw pattern, which does some through the draw plate 
and some through the blow plate.  Particularly challenging would be 
placing the large hole that's in each end of each reedplate that 
locates the plate on the comb.  This needs to be precise.

You might think about retuning.  I have taken some of the 
low "normal" keys down on old handmade Meisterklasses for which new 
plates are no longer available.  I once tuned an Ab down to low F for 
Rick Barker, and it turned out very nice.  In the old days I did it 
with solder weights on the reed tips, though these days I'd probably 
do 3 semitones without weights.  

If you start with a G (the lowest commonly available now), tuning 
down to low F is only a two semitones, E is only 3 semitones, not too 
bad.  Getting to low D (five semitones) might be challenging without 
supplimental weights.  Check the archives for various people's advice 
on how to weight reeds for retuning.  I'll still choose solder.

- -tim

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