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Thread: Chromatic harmonica

  1. #1

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    Default Chromatic harmonica

    I've got a clent who doubles on chromatic harmonica. He's been after me for a long time to work on his "Chroms". I finally gave in, did some research, and retuned a few reeds that were out of tune. Very interesting. This could be a nice addition to my repair menu. Anybody else working on harmonicas???

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Chromatic harmonica

    Yes, they are enjoyable but really make no money, the price of a replacement unit usually far outways the price of the repair. Now that your starting to play with reeds next step is the accordian
    Life is to short to get caught up in the truth, Relax and just let life go on by, move at your own pace and rhythm
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Chromatic harmonica

    I have done some repairs to the key mechanisms on accordians. Hope to never do any more accordians. I also hope to never repair any drums or cases ever again either But some times I have to.

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member CooolJazzz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chromatic harmonica

    My father was a professional harmonica player...(passed away in 1979). I still have about a dozen of his chromatics, most of which he had already scrapped for parts or was using as practice harmonicas to save wear and tear on his performance harmonicas. They don't have a terribly long life expectancy if played on a daily basis and are pretty much "throw-away" items for serious players...(at least they were back then). When my father was touring professionally, he traveled with at least 3 or 4 new back-up harmonicas in his suitcase...all identical...as well as the ones that had seen better days (which he only used for practice). He did his own repairs to keep his practice harmonicas in reasonably good condition, but by the time one of his performance harmonicas needed repair he had usually replaced it with a new one.

    I would be surprised if there was much of a market for harmonica repair because they're not really very complicated and anyone who has been playing very long should be able to do their own repairs or parts replacements if necessary. As simso mentioned though...the price of a replacement harmonica...or at least replacement reed plates (which anyone can do themselves)...usually outweighs the benefit of paying someone else to do any repairs.

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    Default Re: Chromatic harmonica

    Drums are good mate, I despise case work
    Life is to short to get caught up in the truth, Relax and just let life go on by, move at your own pace and rhythm
    www.mirwa.com.au

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Chromatic harmonica

    It is possible to tune individual reeds , with some practice , some feeler gauges , small metal file and a very steady hand .
    It can be worth it if the odd note is out of tune , I can talk anyone through it on pm as I've done loads on my own harmonicas .
    I don't touch waxes though as Simso will testify :0)
    Dave


    As Billie Holiday put it, "Lester sings in his horn; you listen to him and can almost hear the words"

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    Default Re: Chromatic harmonica

    Saxes , embarrassing typo ( just to clarify Simso doesn't do my waxes )
    Dave


    As Billie Holiday put it, "Lester sings in his horn; you listen to him and can almost hear the words"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Chromatic harmonica

    I can speak only of experience with diatonic harps, but the principle of the reeds is identical.
    The pitch of the note is achieved by the length of the reed and a lump of mass at the free end. The notes which are bent the most suffer first....they become flat.
    It is possible to file the end mass in order to reduce it's weight & bring the note back up to it's correct pitch....but only once. Playing the harp following this operation one is always worried that the note will suddenly flatten again....as it will, with no warning.
    Experience has shewn me that it is preferable to throw away the harp when a note goes flat.
    At circa £20 a shot, playing harp is not inexpensive...especially if you subject it to bends, essential for Blues Harp players.
    Played straight, Bob Dylan style, one assumes that their harps will last far longer.
    Experience is an excellent school....but the fees are high.

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    Default Re: Chromatic harmonica

    Quote Originally Posted by simso View Post
    Drums are good mate, I despise case work
    The only drum repair that I've ever done and enjoyed was making parts on my lathe and mill for an obsolete Timpani mechanism that wasn't available. It took some brain power to guess what was needed and how the mechanism worked. Most drum repairs don't take that much effort, that's why I don't like drum repair. Cases fall into the same category for me. No offense meant to any drum techs or percussion players.
    Matt

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