[Harp-L] Sticking reeds

Vern jevern@xxxxx
Thu Jan 4 15:38:02 EST 2018

You need to diagnose the exact cause of each jam. I recommend removing the plate and examining the jammed reed against a backlight using a magnifying glass or low-power microscope.

One cause could be that the reed is a bit loose, has rotated about the rivet, and is touching the edge of its slot.  This can be caused by a shock, e.g. from dropping the harp.  This is indicated by the strip of light alongside the reed being brighter on one side than the other.

The other is from obstructions.  Air flows, even through opening draw reeds, when you blow. Make sure that your mouth is clean when you play. A quick rinse with water is the minimum and a thorough cleaning with a Water-Pic is the ultimate remedy.  

You should be able to see obstructions.  Fibers such as hairs or fuzz from a flocked storage container can be the cause.

If you have reduced the reed clearances by swaging the edges of the slots, then you have greatly reduced the size of a particle or amount of misalignment that can cause a jam.

Occasionally, vigorous blowing and drawing through that hole will free the reed.
Soaking in a mild cleaning solution and tapping against the palm might work.  This isn?t recommended for wooden combs.
Passing a little blade of .001? thick steel (cut from a feeler gauge or taken from an anti-theft tag) through the clearances can clear obstructions.
A little filing can clean up the edges of the reeds.  Don?t overdo it and significantly increase the reed clearances.

I don?t expect that this is the kind of answer you are seeking.  I don?t think that there is a simple, general answer to your question.


> On Jan 4, 2018, at 9:14 AM, Bob Loomis via Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx> wrote:
> Any advice on how to avoid jamming reeds? I am playing quite a bit of harp again these days (YAY!) in our band The UnConcord and I often have this problem, especially on the G and C harps (probably because I used them more), usually hole 4 draws, but occasionally others, usually on draws. Am I blowing/drawing too hard? Do they need filing? Other suggestions welcome and TIA.
> Bob LoomisConcord CA 

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