Re: [Harp-L] Sinuses and Chromatics

I'm a lifelong sinus sufferer and have played chromatic since I was a teenager but have never needed to clean them so rigorously.

Remember that most germs die pretty quickly once their fluid medium dries up. You're more likely to get sick by transferring germs from public surfaces from your hands to your mouth via the harmonica than from anything left in your harmonica from a previous playing session. Washing your hands before playing is an easy, effective preventative.

Unvalved chromatics are too leaky to bother with. Plenty of good quality plastic-combed, valved chromatics are available.

If you really feel the need to clean your chromatics, I'd avoid alcohol, which can dissolve valve glue, and use hydrogen peroxide instead.

You might also make inquiries on the forum at which is a chromatic-only group. I'm sure other players have come up with valve-safe cleaning methods.
Winslow Yerxa
Producer, the Harmonica Collective
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 Expert,
Instructor, Jazzschool Community Music School
President emeritus, SPAH, the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica

From: Emily Keene <esalisburykeene@xxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2015 11:43 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] Sinuses and Chromatics

Message: 10
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 2015 08:56:57 -0600
From: "Bruce Ritter" <britterk@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [Harp-L] Chromatic playing
To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Message-ID: <001601d12536$08ce8930$1a6b9b90$>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="us-ascii"

I'm a little frustrated.  Here's my problem.  I've been fighting a sinus
infection for about 4 years.  I try to keep my harps sterilized.  My
cleaning process is an ultrasound cleaner with a few drops of dish soap,
followed by a couple minutes in 180 proof grain alcohol, followed by an
ozone treatment once they are dry.  That means I only play plastic combed
harps, which I am fine with.  I'd like to try chromatics, but the Hohner
educator ten, which has no valves takes too much air for me with the
breathing/sinus issues.  My understanding is there are three, maybe four
ways to play chromatic.  My "feeling" is that any harp with valves will
suffer from my cleaning regimen, which rules out most chromatics and any
half valved harps.  Becoming a bending master like Howard Levy seems too
optimistic for my current intermediate skill set and the amount of spare
time in my life, which seems to leave special tunings maybe?  Or just
forgetting it till I get the health issues whipped?  Anyone have any
suggestions of something I'm missing?


"Quotes from the internet are not always accurate"

Abraham Lincoln

Firstly, regarding sinuses; if your insurance covers it, make sure you get
a good MRI. I suffered for fifteen years with recurrent sinus problems and
a sharp-eyed doctor finally picked up where one of the entrances to one of
my sinuses had a little flap of skin that had sealed more of it than it
should have. One fairly minor surgery and I've thrown away my decongestants
and netti pot.  Secondly, regarding valves; Seydel seems to actually
ENCOURAGE users to work on their own harmonicas, and between the fabulous
Rockin' Ron and the truly helpful Seydel rep Rupert Oysler, replacement
valves for Seydel harps are not only available but cheap and easy to
replace if they fall off. Rick Epping's Youtube video shows how to do it,
but basically you leave some shellac out in the open for a few days until
it gets tacky and then dab some on with a toothpick and some tweezers, let
it dry for a day,  and Bob's your uncle. Thirdly, the ready availability of
alternate tunings is one of the true miracles of the modern age.
I've gotten to where I only play with circular tuning (and a variant I made
up that is even more circular), so I say, why not take advantage of
possibilities our forebears only dreamed of? Cheers, emily

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