Re: [Harp-L] Re: Harp-L Digest, Vol 103, Issue 2

Hello Richard,  

I have used the Blu-tac successfully for temporary tunings but when the reed plates get sticky ( due to sugar build up) I remove the reed plates and scrub under running water using Dawn and a soft toothbrush.  That ruins the Blu-Tac tuning, whereas Solder is unaffected.  I am preparing to tune down a 365 using a small dab of epoxy containing brass dust.  Sandy's nail polish didn't work as I had hoped.  LOL .   I know, don't eat nor drink sugary refreshments while playing, but sometimes the jams make me thirsty and the cooler has that great iced tea.....

Do you know how many steps can be tuned down, especially on a 364 or 365?

Thanks for the info on how to tune to Dorian Minor.  Now I feel compelled to tune a 364 or 365 to Dorian Minor.  

Lockjaw Larry

 From: Richard Hunter <turtlehill@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2012 1:30 PM
Subject: [Harp-L] Re: Harp-L Digest, Vol 103, Issue 2
"burket@xxxxxxx" wrote:
<Since you have had issues with solder to lower pitch, would you be so brave as to make a low A out of a C
<just by removing reed material?  Three half steps makes me worry about reed stability.

Burke, there is an alternative to filing and solder.  Blu-tac is an inexpensive material (less than $10 for enough to modify pitch on hundreds, if not thousands of reeds), and very durable.  It was recommended some time ago by Brendan Power as a simple and low-risk method for lowering reed pitch. I've used it successfully to convert standard tunings to Dorian Minor, which involves lowering the pitch of the draw 3 and draw 7 reeds by 1/2 step.

The method is simple: you take a (very) tiny piece of Blu-tac, and attach it the free end of the reed.  You then sculpt the Blu-tac (using an x-acto or similar knife) until the reed is at the desired pitch.  If you remove too much material, you add more Blu-tac.  The quantity of blu-tac required to lower pitch 1/2 step is very, very small, and it seems to have no effect on reed stability.  I doubt that lowering pitch farther using this method would noticeably reduce stability.

It's cheap, easy, and low-risk--if you don't like the results, scrape off the Blu-tac and try something else.  The only downside is that you can't raise reed pitch using the same technique.  But you can't raise pitch by adding weight to a reed, no matter how it's done.

Good luck and regards, Richard Hunter

author, "Jazz Harp" 
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