Re: [Harp-L] Manji welded reeds?

----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Peloquin" <peloquinharp@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Harp -l" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 11:55 AM
Subject: RE: [Harp-L] Manji welded reeds?

From: tusker23@xxxxxxxxxxx
I'm a relative newbie to harp-playing and I know it's probably a dumb question, but.......if welded reeds are such a tremendous improvement over rivetted reeds, wouldn't replacing a welded reed with a screw-fastened reed result in a poorer quality harmonica?

Good question.

If not, then why not use all screw-fastened or bolted reeds in the first place, rather than welded reeds?

Spot-welding is much more amenable to an automated assembly process than rivets or screws. (See those videos on assembly of automobile bodies.) One suspects that this is the most important reason for choosing spot-welding. Better alignment and closer tolerances are real but marginal advantages to the user. Field-replacement difficulties are challenging but not unsurmountable. Replacement of rivetted reeds is also a challenge to the average harper.

And if indeed the performance of a welded reed is so vital to the musician at the outset, why would he/she then settle for a lesser harmonica with a repaired reed which doesn't meet original manufacturer's specifications? I'm thinking that if welded reeds were so vitally important to the professional player in the first place, he/she would simply dispose of the damaged harp and buy a new one, rather than play an "inferior" instrument.

.....Or am I missing something? Jim,

Quite the contrary.

As they say in talk radio; "you stole my thunder."

And, with those close tolerances, how could a lowly human easily align this replacement reed in the slot? What about all of the distortion and stress put on the reed and the plate when the holes are drilled and threads are cut?

Valid questions. Because you drill the hole in the reed bigger than the screw, you can always loosen the screw and change the angle and offset of the reed with respect to the slot. Although this can involve quite a bit of fiddling around, it is theoretically possible to get a perfect alignment. I have found that it helps to put a lubricated washer under the screw head to reduce the tendency of the reed to move as the screw is tightened. You still need a drill press.

Because welding is fairly new, harp techs haven't had much opportunity to work out solutions to the problems that you have correctly identified. However, we're working on it. Stay tuned.


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