Re: [Harp-L] chromatic spring

On Jul 20, 2012, at 9:43 PM, David Payne wrote:

> You are the perfect candidate for an external spring. 
> The shims work for an external spring, but I made some great springs from banding steel.
> But nobody ever wants to do that, so...
> Keeping the spring you've got -
>  Shortening is the last thing you want to do.

Right, you don't want to shorten the spring. What you 'could' do is experiment with springs (or even my famous #2 safety pins). A spring usually comes with a deflection angle built in to it of an average of 71 degrees. I ascertain this by placing the spring on a common protractor OR catching the angle with a cabinet maker's adjustable angle gage and then transferring it to a protractor. 

If you spread the legs of the spring a little, when you go to tuck it into the harmonica, you will INCREASE the inch ounces of torque. If you force the legs of the spring closer together, you will REDUCE the inch ounces of torque. 

Sooo, if you only have one spring and you don't want to wreck it, try the same thing with safety pins....for practice. First of all their legs are already closer together.  Maybe 47 degrees? This may have resulted in your claim that the tension was too soft. I agree with you. But just like you can re tension a harmonica spring, you can do the same with the safety pin. First of all I suggest a 'dressmakers' pin. These are usually a higher quality and many times I have found stainless steel ones. BUT, the regular steel pins are long AS they are chrome plated. 

Cadmium is inferior and will rub through at the slide hole. Plated pins are more slippery. Also, make sure to use a pin that has a gage that is compatible with your slide hole. Too thin a pin will 'saw' away at the slide hole.  (oh, and will also give you too light a tension). 

> Shortening a spring makes it stiffer - if it would make any difference at all. 

Right. PLUS shortening it will give you a leg that is set too far down IN the comb. And this could present a problem the next time you want to retract it. 
> What you want to do is make the spring thinner. Use a rotary tool if you have one, jeweler's file if you don't.  Where you remove the metal is critical. You need to remove it from top end and taper back. If you make it taper, so that the bending stress is not concentrated in one place, you might actually make it more durable. This will take a while.

Uh-huh. That would be one solution. As long as you don't take the working tip (the part that goes through the slide hole) TOO small. You wouldn't want that thin tip to 'saw' the slide hole. Especially if you have left the surface rough. The ideal would be to have a slippery tip inserted in that slide hole. I use a dab of silicone lube on that tip. I have a tiny bottle left over from lubing the o rings on diving equipment. But petroleum jelly or UNFLAVORED lip balm works fine. (Flavored tends to shrivel wind savers).  
> There was a time I spent months experimenting on springs. One hypothesis I came up with was maybe if I heated the spring up red hot and then let it slowy cool. I can't remember how that turned out. I should have written some of this stuff down. 

I'm with you on that one Dave. I used to experiment with wrist crossbow springs. Sometimes I used a broad taper. sometimes fine. Different tapers removed different amounts of metal, and it wound up being a balancing act between ideal power vs ideal smoothness vs ideal flex. 

I have several fruit cake and cookie canisters full of springs. I LOVE springs. An amazing be sure. :)

> David Payne
> Elk River Harmonicas Forum now available via Iphone app,
> ________________________________
> From: Music Cal <macaroni9999@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: harp-L list <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx> 
> Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 1:54 AM
> Subject: [Harp-L] chromatic spring
> I don't like the tension in my slider spring. I want less tension. I have
> tried using the recommended safety pin but then the tension is not enough
> for me. Has anybody here tried clipping (shortening) the immobile end of a
> standard Hohner spring as means to decrease tension? Did it yield a
> significant decrease in tension?
> MusiCal

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