[Harp-L] Slide and valve maintenance, second try.

My previous post got mangled, and was sent somewhere in the middle of the editing process.

One clarification on assembling the slide package:

Once you've laid the mouthpiece in the slide and started to tighten the screws, check to make sure that the back of the mouthpiece, the slide, and the front edge of the comb are all parallel.

The part about gluing valves was truncated. It should have read:

Choose a replacement valve that's long enough to cover the entire slot plus an mount equal to the length of the pad at the base of a reed.

Use a glue that will adhere plastic to metal and will set quickly, but not instantly. 

Put a tiny dab of glue on a piece of paper or other sacrificial surface.

Take the base of the valve (which may have a dimple in it to accommodate rivet ends poking through the reedplate), and brush the bottom of the base of the valve against the bead of glue. You need enough glue to effect a mating, but not so much that it squishes into the reed slot and impedes the swing of the reed. You also don't want the glue to squish out and adhere to your finger, as pulling your finger away will also pull on the valve and either rip it away or misalign it.

If you get too much on the valve, scrape the base of the valve on the paper to remove the excess. If you're holding the valve so that the glued end is to the left, pull it to the right so that the excess glue travels away from the valve. If you do have glue traveling up the length of the valve, where it will glue the valve to the slot, set that valve aside, with the glue facing up After it dries you may be able to scrape of the dried glue and salvage the valve.

Using your index finger, press the glued end of the valve down on the area opposite the reed pad and rivet - the end of the reed that's fastened to the reedplate. You should be able to see through the slot which end of the reed is closer to the slot and which end curves away. It's the close end you want to focus on.

You need to align the valve so that it covers the slot entirely - both long edges and the short edge at the tip should all be covered. If the valve isn't correctly placed, use your finger to move it around until it's well placed. But be careful not to move the gluey part over the slot.

For valves on the inside of the hole, you also need to make sure that the valve doesn't brush against the wall of the reed cell. Centering the valve over the slot should take care of it, but if the cell is a particularly tight fit, such as in a hole where each reed has its own cell instead of sharing a cell with the neighboring reed, you may need to take extra care.
Winslow Yerxa
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
            Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
            Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Harmonica Expert, bluesharmonica.com
Instructor, Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance

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