Re: [Harp-L] phosphor bronze reeds + silver solder

Short answer: Yes, anything that adds weight to the tip of a reed will lower the pitch.

Long answer: Lead-free "silver solder" would not be as effective as lead-based solder for two reasons.

1. It melts at a higher temperature making it more difficult to work with. It is often applied with a torch.
2. It is not as dense, requiring more to effect a given amount of pitch lowering.

There is also "silver solder" containing a very small percentage of silver but is mostly lead and tin. The silver is there to prevent the solder from weakening the joint by leaching silver from silver-bearing parts.  On a reed, it wouldn't be much different from lead-based solder.

There is also lead-free silver solder that will come into contact with food and drinking water. 

There are those who will warn of the toxicity of lead.  However, since there is no path for ingesting it from reeds, it has not concerned me. 

Tips for soldering:

I found my battery-powered soldering gun with the carbon tips to be useless for wiring but ideal for placing solder on a reed.

Using a toothpick, I paint paste flux sparingly on just the area to which I wish the solder to adhere . This tends to limit the solder to the painted area. Then I clean off the excess flux with a solvent such as paint thinner,   Solder often comes with a flux core.  I try to avoid this as it makes the spread of the hot solder across the reed surface more difficult to control.


On Dec 15, 2012, at 8:35 PM, Robert Hale wrote:

> Hello, Solder Kings:
> Is silver solder effective for tuning phosphor bronze reeds in a Suzuki
> Hammond?
> Robert Hale
> Spiral Advocate
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