RE: [Harp-L] Basics of harp cleaning

> For god's sakes don't use Q tips. You'll regret it (although I'm sure somebody uses them) and I'd be nervous about fibers on the stick, too. Reeds don't like it when those cotton fibers get stuck in the slot. Just rinse it out, tap it and out and you're done. You shouldn't be playing with a dirty mouth anyway, so all the gunk will be saliva. Saliva dissolves easy. Just rinse it out, tap it out, air dry. 
> David
 Agreed about using anything fibrous. If you're determined to stroke the reeds with anything, stroke from the rivet end only. Over the years (and this is passing on my honest experience, not advice), I've found that washing out my harps after every long pub session, using a goodly stream of warm, not hot, water, followed by a good shaking and tapping out, keeps my harps sounding bright and responsive and does not shorten their lives at all. I do let them dry out overnight before putting them away. I do this with any harp that is all plastic and metal but never with any harp containing valves. I even do it to Hohner MS harps with wood combs, which don't swell. I do not do it to old-style Hohners with that swelling pearwood, and I once destroyed the comb of an Echo with just one quick wash. :-(  I don't play chroms much, and I only get inside them if a reed or valve is hassling me. I clean the slide by holding the beast mouthpiece-down in shallow hot water and working the slide back and forth. I keep the harp that way up until it's had a good shake-out. I never lubricate the slide and I never have sticky slide problems. Doing what I do, I rarely get that horrid crud build-up in the mouthpiece holes. Agreed also about playing with a clean mouth, though I tend to regard a beery mouth as a clean mouth... 		 	   		  

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