Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Cleaning a Harmonica

Related threads:
cleaning mouth organs (25)
Help: Charlie Musselwhite Chromatic Harmonica (10)
Great Harmonica Player Site (11)
A tricky question for paid players (39)
Tech: blues harp on racks (31)
Suzuki Folkmaster Harmonica (24)
How do you clean a blues harp?? (17)
Lyr Req: Veronica Plays Her Harmonica (13)
Harmonica Question (17)
Learning the Harmonica (Blues Style) (8)
Harmonica sites (7)
Anybody know a good harmonica site? (13)
Harmonica mic info. (12)
Any help for a new harmonica player? (98)
bending notes on chromatic harmonica (17)
Harmonica bands (9)
Harmonica advice wanted please! (29)
Help: Harmonica Sanitation (14)
New Harmonica attacks Mustache!!!!! (31)
Chromatic harmonica repair question (10)
24 Hole Harmonicas Wanted (27)
modern Blues Harp: soak or not? (23)
Help: What harmonica do I use? (34)
Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner? (47)
How to play the 'Blues Harp' (85)
'Solo Tuned' Harmonica Question (23)
Harmonica Players Unite! (56)
Instruments: what type of harmonica for blues (18)
Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy! (18)
glass harmonica casette (10)
Minor keys and chords on harmonica (23)
Harmonicas for the Homeless (22)
Help: Harmonica Effects Anyone? (10)
Harmonica keys (10)
Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line (9)
Does anyone know any Harmonica Folk Song (11)
fave harmonica bits (47)
tmj and harmonica (4)
Russian Blues Harmonica Site (1)
Tech: Harmonica racks (4)
Review: solar powered harmonicas (20)
A Harmonica History Question (9)
harmonica hygeine (7)
Max (Conk) Geldray Goon harmonica ace (7)
BS: Harmonica (10) (closed)
Seek name of this Harmonica group (10)
Chromatic Harmonica (8)
BS: Stuck harmonica reed? DON'T suck! (11) (closed)
Meisterklasse Harps - Worthwhile? (1)
Help: Civil War Harmonicas (11)
OBIT: Talking harmonica man Lonnie Glosson (5)
More Harmonica Questions (5)
Harmonica advice (9)
Blues Mouth organ/harmonicas (8)
Harmonica repair (3)
Two questions for you harp (harmonica) player (6)
Looking for Harmonica Holder (6)
Australian-style harmonica (3)
Harmonica preferences (16)
A Question for All You Harmonica Players.... (5)


GUEST,JimP 08 Nov 06 - 02:39 AM
Dave Hanson 08 Nov 06 - 04:31 AM
The Sandman 08 Nov 06 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Nov 06 - 10:40 PM
Johnhenry'shammer 08 Nov 06 - 11:44 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Nov 06 - 03:45 AM
Tootler 09 Nov 06 - 04:36 AM
Bob Bolton 09 Nov 06 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,thurg 09 Nov 06 - 08:56 AM
Hamish 09 Nov 06 - 09:01 AM
Scrump 09 Nov 06 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,JimP 09 Nov 06 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,John P 09 Nov 06 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,thurg 09 Nov 06 - 12:13 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Nov 06 - 08:49 PM
Joe Richman 09 Nov 06 - 10:23 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 09 Nov 06 - 11:07 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Nov 06 - 03:16 AM
Splott Man 10 Nov 06 - 03:53 AM
Liz the Squeak 10 Nov 06 - 04:35 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 06 - 05:49 AM
Ernest 10 Nov 06 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,thurg 10 Nov 06 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 10 Nov 06 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,thurg 10 Nov 06 - 03:46 PM
The Sandman 10 Nov 06 - 04:41 PM
Les from Hull 10 Nov 06 - 05:33 PM
Liz the Squeak 11 Nov 06 - 03:53 AM
Bob Bolton 11 Nov 06 - 06:13 AM
The Sandman 11 Nov 06 - 07:30 AM
Les from Hull 11 Nov 06 - 08:22 AM
Ernest 11 Nov 06 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,memyself 11 Nov 06 - 11:57 AM
Liz the Squeak 11 Nov 06 - 12:40 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Nov 06 - 09:25 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Nov 06 - 04:46 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Nov 06 - 05:50 PM
The Sandman 12 Nov 06 - 06:01 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Nov 06 - 06:23 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Nov 06 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 Nov 06 - 10:30 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 Nov 06 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,JimP 13 Nov 06 - 12:39 AM
Bob Bolton 13 Nov 06 - 07:33 AM
Bob Bolton 14 Nov 06 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Rayzor 09 Jun 10 - 01:32 AM
John MacKenzie 09 Jun 10 - 03:58 AM
AKS 09 Jun 10 - 07:40 AM
Brian May 09 Jun 10 - 11:59 AM
Lonesome EJ 09 Jun 10 - 12:38 PM
Lonesome EJ 09 Jun 10 - 12:44 PM
Brian May 09 Jun 10 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Rayzor 09 Jun 10 - 05:58 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jun 10 - 06:10 PM
alex s 10 Jun 10 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 10 Jun 10 - 03:05 PM
Jane Bird 10 Jun 10 - 05:58 PM
Steve Shaw 10 Jun 10 - 08:13 PM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 11 Jun 10 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Rayzor North Carolina USA 09 Dec 10 - 05:57 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Dec 10 - 07:33 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Dec 10 - 08:09 PM
Joe Offer 10 Dec 10 - 04:20 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Dec 10 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Doug Laidlow 15 Dec 10 - 07:51 AM
meself 15 Dec 10 - 08:34 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:




Subject: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,JimP
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 02:39 AM

I recently bought a A/D Honer Echo from a guy on ebay, for use in my sea music group. When I got it, it smelled horribly of some kind of oil-based solvent. I suspect that it had been WD-40'd to get rid of some surface crud. I contacted the seller, who claims that he disinfected it with rubbing alcohol and then misted it with Old Spice "to make it smell nice."

Whatever he did, the thing is unplayable, as I begin to gag every time I play it. I've tried airing it out (holding it out the window of my car when travelling at low speeds w/the wind sounding the reeds), and have tried wiping it down with gin. This has helped some, but it still has the odor. Any suggestions from you guys?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 04:31 AM

Dettol and wire brush.

eric


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 04:39 AM

get a tool kit from lee oskar harmonicas, open the harmonica up to air, then very gently wipe out the crud with the tools provided.
then from a distance try a cool hair dryer
if no luck go to a harmonica forum and ask again


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 10:40 PM

I use vingar.

Sincerely,
Garoyle

some add a "smedge of salt" but it is not recommended, since you might change the original register... you are static...let the fiddle tune to you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 11:44 PM

Might just want to get a new one. The Echos are pretty cheap aren't they?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 03:45 AM

G'day JimP,

I take it that this is the double-sided, curved lip-plate Hohner model 1499/80 that goes back as least as far as my first (circa 1958) catalogue. That one had a wooden body - and I would have thought that the later plastic-bodied Comet (also double-sided, curved lip-plate ... indicating Octave- [aka: "Organ"-] tuned, in two keys a fourth (?) apart replaced the Comet 1499/80, but you may have an old instrument.

I saw the plastic Comet going for close to AUD$200 a few years back, here in Sydney - and I haven't bought one for ages! I guess the older Echo - especially in a handy key set like A /D - would be a treasure worth restoring. With the Comets, I would have no worry about soaking them well in warm water (with occasional agitation), then draining, rinsing, shaking as free of water as possible and leaving to dry naturally. You can wash the wooden-bodied ones in water ... but I wouldn't let it soak for very long before quickly rinsing, shaking dry and drying in a moderately warm, ventilated spot. (I usually blow through the wooden-bodied ones straight after shaking out ... until I get evey reed sounding - if not dead to pitch!).

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 04:36 AM

I don't know your particular model, but I had trouble with my Hohner Chromonica when a reed stopped sounding. I removed the cover plate, which is secured to the body by two screws, and using a wooden toothpick, I carefully removed some debris that had got into the gap in the reed. I then screwed it back together again and it worked fine. Another thing I regularly do is to remove gunk that builds up round the holes. A wooden cocktail stick does fine for that job.

I must admit I have always been wary of washing my harmonica as it is wooden bodied, but I suspect that a fairly quick wash in warm soapy water will do no harm, but be carful round the reeds. In fact I believe some of the old blues players used to soak their Marine bands in water before playing as they said it made them play better. I think that the soaking made the wooden body swell and sealed the reed plate properly so there was less air leakage.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 07:12 AM

G'day Tootler,

The reeds may need cleaning, as you describe - especially if the mouthorgan has been played soon after eating ... or left exposed in dusty (&c) areas. Washing, per se won't hurt the brass reeds - but too much soaking can damage wooden bodies - especially complex gridded one like the old Echo with its 40 holes, divided by narrow wooden grids, on each side (one hole for each of its 80 reeds!). Prompt drying will also lessen the risk of rust in any parts of the cover plates that may have lost some of their electroplating.

I think a fairly brief rinse in plain, no more than warm, water should dilute most of the "Old Spice ... then a good airing (and drying) might leave it in a playable state. Don't force the drying with heat sources, as this might distort the very complex body.

Another area for caution is whether this model has valves on the lower-pitched reeds (as does Hohner's similar Auto Valve Harp ... which may not been seen in other countries, since it was listed as an "Australian Brand" in my original catalogue). These plastic flap-valves (similar to those used in the Chromonica models) could be loosened from their adhesives by excessive soaking or heat ... so take care!

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 08:56 AM

Assuming you're of legal shaving age, maybe you should slap on an extra-heavy dose of the ol' Old Spice in the morning, then you might not notice the fragrance of your harp.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Hamish
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 09:01 AM

Re Tootler's "In fact I believe some of the old blues players used to soak their Marine bands in water before playing as they said it made them play better. I think that the soaking made the wooden body swell and sealed the reed plate properly so there was less air leakage."

I often give my wooden bodied Blues Harps and Marine Bands a quick splosh in water before playing. It does, indeed, make them sound "better" - not only fuller toned but also more fluid (no pun intended!) I can't believe it's anything to do with making the wood swell since the quick splosh is so quick (in my case).

--
Hamish


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Scrump
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 09:21 AM

Assuming you're of legal shaving age, maybe you should slap on an extra-heavy dose of the ol' Old Spice in the morning, then you might not notice the fragrance of your harp.

What us the legal shaving age? Is it different in the US from the UK?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,JimP
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 09:30 AM

Thanks to all for the advice. I've since figured out that the person who had the harp before me also must have at least taken the covers off (although they look pristine), since the side that says "A" now plays in D, and vice-versa.

Bob: No, this isn't the curved-plate Echo, this is the straight longish one that (I believe) is currently in production. I think retail is around $80, so I don't want to give up on this just yet. Most importantly, it may stink, but it sounds great.

Finally, if there is a legal age requirement for shaving, I passed it long ago. I hate Old Spice, though. I don't know why anyone would voluntarily smell like that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,John P
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 11:03 AM

I had two hohner chromatics cleaned by a friend of mine once. I believe he put them in water and put some sort of a charge through the tank which then vibrated the gunge out. Wonderful sound resulted but the leather flaps on the reeds were knackered. The system might work ok on an old echo like yours though


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 12:13 PM

"I hate Old Spice, though. I don't know why anyone would voluntarily smell like that."

(To the tune of "Gimme That Ol' Time Religion"): It was good for my father,/It was good for my mother,/And it's good enough for me!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 08:49 PM

G'day John P,

I think your friend may have used an "ultrasonic cleaner" - container with water (with or without extra solvents) and a motorised high frequency vibration. It's a good way to clean jewellery - or technical pens - but it does tend to vibrate off bits ... like your valves! If you had leather valves, the Hohner Chromatics were, presumably, fairly old ... I think plastic valves have been standard for several decades, now.

I think any washing on an old wooden-bodied (and, maybe, leather-valved) harmonica has to be kept to a minimum ... and followed by quick removal of all loose water and then a steady drying out. One hopes that should dilute the Old Spice aroma to a more tolerable level.

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Joe Richman
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 10:23 PM

I did once completely mess up and put some WD40 into a harmonica. Tasted terrible, so I threw the thing into a glass full of peppermint schnapps (the cheapest stuff the market had).   Now it still tastes terrible, but more like the schnapps than the penetrating lubricant. And that is after the passage of a few years!!

Joe


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 11:07 PM

I do not know about the most recent two decades...but the Horners 1960-70-80 ...all that I have,,, have used plastic, it is easily identifiable, it is a thin white-strap.

Swishing and twirling in water will work to "unlock" a stuck valve....however, if you examine the metal reeds, you may discover "corosive" bits of mineral/rust type deposites....

IF, the pitch has changed... or a hole is off-key, it is probably this corrosive-crap on the metal....not on the valve-flap. You can scrape it...and you can use the "vinegar cure" and also scrape it.

Old Harps, are ol' friends...A half dozen lie on my shelf...they sit awaiting a day of ressurection and redemption. They have served me well and are worthy of a rest....However, when suck comes to blow...they will let me down at some point...early.

Fortunately, they had many clones...and are much cheaper than mandolins.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 03:16 AM

G'day again Jim P,

I guess that makes your double-sided harmonica the Echo harp model: straight sides (meaning that it's tremolo-tuned, not octave-tuned) with "turned-in" ends ... probably fixed with a pair of brass pins at each end. This is (by my oldest catalog) the 54/64 model (32 small apertures a side ... equivalent range to an 8-holed vamper) or the 55/80 model (40 holes a side - equivalent range to a 10-hole vamper)or, just maybe, the 56/96 model (48 holes a side - equivalent range to a 12-hole vamper). Oh ... I have just found, in a more recent catalog, that there is also a massive 57/120 model (range of a 15-hole vamper... !) ... but it only comes in C & G, not the A & D combo you have, or the Bb & F, Bb & Eb ... or C & Amin (...!) that are available in some of the smaller sizes.

Anyway, being tremolo-tuned, it's unlikely that they will have valves (except, maybe, the 57/120 model)... and the sides (should) proclaim they have "Bell Metal Reeds" - an alloy of copper with a fair amount of tin ... so they are even less likely to corrode, under normal usage, than the copper-zinc alloy of the usual brass reeds. I would be confident to sluice the Old Spice away ... then quickly tap out excess moisture and let the harmonicas dry in in a warm airy spot. (Repeat if really necessary ...) Do the washing with the cover plates in place, as that will help keep the wooden frames straight while they dry.

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Splott Man
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 03:53 AM

I don't know about them being cheaper than a mandolin. I get through 4 to 5 sets of reeds a year. At £20 a throw, that's a new mando every 2 to 3 years.

Hmm, now there's a thought...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 04:35 AM

Unless you like malt whisky - DON'T USE DETTOL!!!

Manitas soaked his whistle and recorder fipples in Dettol about 14 years ago. There is STILL a whaft of smell when you open the case.

Use rum or gin. It will kill the germs just as effectively and won't stink the place out with an unbearable pong!

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 05:49 AM

This is an interesting thread. I have chucked no end of these things out, having buggered them up without ever actually managing to play one of them properly.

If anybody gets a surefire answer. I'd be interested to hear it. I don't think they are cheap at all. I've tried soaking them and something always sounds clogged afterwards.

is it just me, or do they go unsavoury looking after a bit? They always look as though you might catch something off them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Ernest
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 07:42 AM

Isn`t it more likely that they caught something of you, Al?

Or do you only buy used ones?

;0)

Ernest


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 08:13 AM

"is it just me, or do they go unsavoury looking after a bit?"

To mangle the old song, "If you get cranky without your silk hanky,/You better steer clear of the harmonica". They can get pretty grizzly-looking without cleaning, which doesn't bother a tough guy like me - on the other hand, I do spend about half the year suffering from apparently-undiagnosable viruses, sinus infections, respiratory ailments, etc., so maybe I'm a walking - and occasionally bed-ridden - object-lesson.

Anyway, if you really want to know about cleaning, soaking, etc., (of harmonicas!) check out these guys; they love to talk about that stuff: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harptalk/. Take a skim through the posts, or the archives, and it won't be long before you come across a relevant discussion.

And you're right; it's not a cheap instrument to play, in the long run. You'll find arguments about that as well ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 01:35 PM

[quote] >> I often give my wooden bodied Blues Harps and Marine Bands a quick splosh in water before playing. <<

Bonz, who played dobro, banjo and harp in the late lamented Rocky Mountain Ploughboys, would always give his harmonica a quick dip in his pint of beer before each song.

Although a good blues player, his harps were notoriously ill-maintained, usually with at least a reed or two not sounding. On one occasion an instrument was working so poorly, even after the beer treatment, that he opened it up and found an old bus ticket crumpled up inside.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 03:46 PM

" I often give my wooden bodied Blues Harps and Marine Bands a quick splosh in water before playing."

I often give myself a quick splosh in water before playing, especially if it's a gig of the better sort. Usually drag a razor 'cross my jowls and slap on some Old Spice, too.

"an old bus ticket crumpled up inside"

If he was a true bluesman, that ticket must've been long as his right arm. Which would certainly explain the poor performance of the instrument.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 04:41 PM

lee oskar do a very good repair kit,with helpful instructions.what this harp needs is agood BLOW job.Icould do with one myself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Les from Hull
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 05:33 PM

It's quite important to keep your harmonicas clean in the first place. There's nothing worse than having a bit of peanut pinging off your tonsils during a rather strenuous suck.

Stripping them down and cleaning them out isn't too dificult, but I've not had to do that yet with the more fancy valved ones I'm moving over to now. That may be more problematical.

So at least we've learnt not to give our tin sandwiches any additional flavours! Keep 'em in a case, on a hard flat surface or in yer gob! The last place is the worst.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 03:53 AM

Could you not leave them on a shelf at home permanently, or better still, leave them in the store?! :]

LTS
(Ducking and running for cover.....)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 06:13 AM

G'day all (and JimP ...),

All these helpful types rattling off details of Lee Oskar (et al) repair / maintenance tool and kits might bother to read about just what Jim has raised the thread about: a large, double-sided, double reeded, 2-key tremolo harmonica. It has about as much resemblance to a pocket vamper (e.g. what those who haven't seen any range of harmonicas call a "Marine Band" ... equally vaguely and inaccurately) - or a 'Lee Oskar" - as a Mac truck has to a sports car!

The large metal covers are 'pinned" on (read ~ "nailed") so they can't be slipped off for a casual 'gunkectomy' ... and the large, vastly more complex, body fretting means a lot of care is needed to avoid doing irremediable damage to the woodwork. More to the point: it is very much worth the work of reclaiming.

(OK ... I would think even more of it if it was 'octave-tuned' ... but JimP is onto a good thing with a professional grade, multi-key tremolo harmonica, none the less.) He might be inspired to save up even more and buy a new double-sided "Comet" ... some day! (Errr... although, my most recent catalog only lists them in C/F and C/G ...)

Regard(les)s,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 07:30 AM

why not take it to a professional, Antony Dannecker, the dannecker family have done all the repairs for hohner for years. Furthermore DANNECKER harmonicas are far better than hohner, much better than comets,they are hand made harmonicas,the creme de la creme of harmonicas,google antony dannecker for more information, by the way he will repair hohner blues harps, but not Comets.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Les from Hull
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 08:22 AM

Is that a dig at my playing ,Liz? I'll have you know that I've played in front of the Duke of York, the Duke of Edinburgh and other famous pubs!

Yes I've got one of those double-sided Hohners somewhere Bob, and I wouldn't like to dive into one. The woodwork is quite delicate and that is where the problem is. Any serious soaking to get rid of the stench of Old Spice could easily warp the body. It's probably going to take time for the smell to go away.

But as this has also turned into a general thread on harmonica hygene it useful to keep all these tips together.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Ernest
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 08:47 AM

Anthony Danneckers homepage can be found on the links page of the mudcat.
But after reading Captain Birdseyes post I would contact him first: If he doesn`t repair Comets, he might not do Echos....
Best
Ernest


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,memyself
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 11:57 AM

Repairing comets and echoes - is this a man or a god?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 12:40 PM

I've sung for the Prince of Wales so I think that gives me the one up....

And I don't mean the pub!

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 09:25 PM

There are products in the supermarkets in Australia that are 'odour absorbers' - intended for shoes (these are sprayed on, so might not be suitable) - also there is something here called 'Nilodor' (and some equivalents) - which when a drop is placed where it can evaporate, will kill off many odours, even without physical contact.

The shoe types seem to contain some isopropyl alcohol, on the theory that mere contact with alcohols tends to to disrupt most of the molecules that are 'smelly'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 04:46 PM

G'day Captain Birdseye,

If your mate Danneker baulks at touching the modern, accessible 'Comet' ... there's not hope in Hades that he'll be silly enough to touch a doublesided 'Echo Harp' - facing up to a wooden body, instead of the 'Comet's moulded plastic ... "pinned" (nailed!) attachment instead of brass screws. He's sensibly sticking to the simple vampers (e.g. "Blues Harps" et al).

JimP is sorting out a vastly more complex instrument.

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 05:50 PM

the theory that mere contact with alcohols tends to to disrupt most of the molecules that are 'smelly'.

???

Haven't known many old drunks, I'd guess.

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 06:01 PM

B Bolton . Antony Dannecker is not a mate of mine.
I have never had the pleasure of meeting him,. He makes chromatic harmonicas and vampers, and is recommended by other people other than myself, including Paul Jones of blues band and Manfred Mann fame , check out his site.
You are insulting a craftsman who makes great harmonicas.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 06:23 PM

Further to my previous comments: to summarise...

If there is visible grunge on the surface, it should be gently removed mechanically, perhaps with the addition of an appropriate gentle non-damaging cleaner - if it is responsible for the odour, that is the quickest method.

If the odour has permeated something, use something like Nilodor - a drop on a tissue, placed with the instrument in a sealed container, placed in a moderately warm (not cold) place (extremes may cause damage!) - note that each 10 deg C rise in temperature doubles the speed of chemical reactions.

I forgot to mention that you can also get 'sneaker sniffers' - inserts of activated charcoal - that will absorb odours - this may be an easy way if you can't get Nilodor - place in the sealed container with the instrument. This may also help larger instruments, such as guitars in their cases.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 07:35 PM

G'day Captain Birdseye,

I don't know the gent either - although I'm aware of his service - since he is half a world away from here. I'm just pointing out his sensible (professional) attitude to avoiding difficult, old (unprofitable) models ... and contrasting it to the cavalier advice given by so many on this thread who have not bothered to work out what JimP actually has ... and why he does want to restore it to working order.

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 10:30 PM

BOB!!!

I bow in humble acceptance of you position of "Lord over Harmonica Threads to the MudCat.

More than I ever wanted to know...What is your SOURCE?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 10:36 PM

Sincerely, and truthfuly, my greatest "problem" with old harps...is the wood.

New, they are gorgeous, however, with use?????

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Never had splinter in the tongue....but with some old harps...there's fears it could be done.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,JimP
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 12:39 AM

Thanks again for all the comments. Bob is indeed correct in identifying the harp I've got. I won't be soaking it any time soon, that's certain! Anyway, the smell is very gradually going away. I think that my "airing it out" by putting it out the window while driving about 15 to 20 mph has done the best for it of any of the things I've tried. At any rate, after doing this, its much more playable. (Don't try this going at any faster speeds: you could seriously damage the reeds!)

For any of you that haven't tried these tremelo harps, you should do so. They sound fantastic; I know they're expensive compaired to a "regular" harp, and you can't play cross-harp (at least I wouldn't try it), but they're a wonderful instrument in themselves. I have been playing with a sea music group, and the Echo makes a great addition to the band.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 07:33 AM

G'day Gargs,

I'm no pan-harmonica polymath - I just call 'em as I see 'em.

"More than I ever wanted to know...What is your SOURCE?"

Source? ... more like 'sores' - well a few score late nights with 4 bleeding holes in my lips from swollen wooden mouthorgan bodies scraping away bits of face all night. Apart from that, I was fortunate to buy directly from the Australian Hohner concessionaire for many years, from 1965, and I bought a lot of odd harps, just on spec.

I know just what JimP sees (... hears ... ) in these big, multi reed harmonicas ... although my preference is for the "organ-tuned" (in octaves) varieties - the aforementioned curved front "Comet" in 2 keys is lovely and handy (but not cheap) but I really loved the old Boomerang octave models (long gone, now) or, failing that, the Hohner "Australian Branding" Auto Valve Harps ... made as a direct competitor for the octave ('Large') Boomerangs.

Most of the identification was aided by catalogs accumulated over the last 40 + years ... and a cupboard I have to keep my wife's hands off!

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 05:32 PM

G'day again JimP,

I've been thinking over the basic problem you have ... the enduring pong of Old Spice - acceptable on your chin, but not an aid to interpreting the harmonica!

You need not be too fearful of getting the harmonica wet ... it certainly gets damp in normal playing. My reference, above, to "4 bleeding holes in my lips from swollen wooden mouthorgan bodies scraping away bits of face all night comes from a time when I was mainly playing harmonica: the small, 10-hole, vampers - back before plastic bodies became standard. Just that small amount of wooden body would swell, after solid playing, enough that the wooden dividers would project far enough to impinge on the lips.

If I had been playing an individual note style, like "blues harp", the sideways 'scrape' would be minimal ... but I was playing fast dance music with lots of 'percussive' chordal techniques and the wear and tear on my lips was considerable. I had a few Hohner "Orchester" vampers (I had to order them in and wait for them to arrive from Germany!), which had metal dividers made of shaped nickel-plated (~) brass. These were smooth and stable ... but expensive and hard to get. When Hohner brought out its "Special 20" vampers (late '70s?) it was as manna from Heaven! I stocked up on them (and repair plate kits - since I was 'blowing out' an average of one vamper every performance ... mostly due to playing over lots of other loud instruments, with primitive PA!).

Anyway, since wooden bodied harmonicas live in an environment where they are routinely wet enough to swell - and then dry out before their next use - I would not worry too much about the risks of a brisk rinse. I would tend to use comfortably warm water, give a few thorough rinses and then vigorously shake out as much water as possible, without undue violence to the instrument. I might, if I thought the natural drying properties of the surroundings were insufficient, perhaps give the harmonica a gentle session with a hand-held hairdryer (set on low) - certainly not letter it get more than just warm to the touch.

Give it one fairly gentle rinse and see if it improves (and ... you may be getting used to the taste of Old Spice!). All mouthorgans, even the old wooden ones, were made with the expectation that they would be routinely damp ... and, occasionally, quite wet.

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,Rayzor
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 01:32 AM

If the comb is plastic simply take the harp apart and soak the comb in warm soapy water. Then dry the comb and the smell will be gone. If the comb is wood.....take the harp apart take some grain alcohol(like white liquor sold in the liquor store) and clean the comb with a cotton swab soaked in the grain alcohol and blow dry quickly. Clean the covers with hot soapy water and the reed plates can also be cleaned the same way and you should also blow the reed plates dry with a warm hair dryer set to low air flow... These procedures should remove any smell. If this fails drink the rest of the grain alcohol and you won't care if there is a smell. Oh, I forgot... You have to reassemble the harmonica after the cleaning.. or it simply won't play well, at all.

Rayzor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 03:58 AM

En passant, just bought a double sided 80 hole C H Messner harp, on E-Bay, which is totally indistinguishable from the equivalent Hohner Model. The model is called a Loreley, which I believe was also used by Hohner as a model name. I cannot find out how old it is, the guy who sold it, says he bought it in Switzerland with the intention of learning to play, and he never did. It came in the original box, with the original tissue paper wrapping round the harp inside.
It plays beautifully, and I am forced to conclude that the old ones were better made than the new ones.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: AKS
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 07:40 AM

Have you folks come across this lot...

AKS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Brian May
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 11:59 AM

I remember chatting with Hughie (who remembers the Spinners) just before going on stage.

His harmonicas were each sat in a pint glass of warm water. It looked really strange, and I asked why (as I play a bit too).

He said 'try it'. I have, and the results are spectacular! Especially as my Hohner Blues harps have a plastic body.

Keeps them fresh too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 12:38 PM

Old Spice? That hasn't been used as an effective harmonica deodorizer since the mid 60s. I swear by English Leather, although Sonny Boy Williamson was convinced that Rye Whiskey was unbeatable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 12:44 PM

If you soak a wood-body harmonica, like a Hohner marine band or blues model, be prepared to have the wood swell permanently, which can make quite an impression on your lips and tongue.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Brian May
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 01:24 PM

One of my wood body Hohners is about 40 years old and has been treated as I said.

It's fine, the varnish came off about 25 years ago, but hasn't affected the sound.

However, we are talking about being in warm water for about 5-10 minutes before playing - they don't live there!

Just try it and see, gently tap it into a towel before playing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica..Stinky e-bay harp
From: GUEST,Rayzor
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 05:58 PM

The gentleman from Australia gave you a good product idea. It is for pet odors etc... There is a product that is an odor eliminator and cleaner for less than $6.50 listed on the net. Here is a link...

http://www.calibex.com/nilodor/zzcalibex2zB1z0--search-html

You may have to copy and paste it to your browser but it may be worth a look. The product is the "NILodor's Natural Touch Original Deodorizer All-Purpose Cleaner" and the link will take you to a full page. It's iin the 5th row down and center of that row.

Hope this helps get the stinkys gone. But if all else use the whiskey but just drink it.... You won't care about the stink...LOL

Rayzor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 06:10 PM

One method commonly used for destinking old books is to bury them in cat litter.

If my cats found their litter being used that way they'd probably beat it out of the house for fear of whatever kind of moggy it was that shat chrome-plated honking jobbies.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: alex s
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 06:22 AM

A few years ago our bass player had an old harmonica which was out of tune, but he insisted on playing it. at an outdoor gig my mate Dave said "let me fix that for you" then threw it straight into the canal! It's still there, but it's very clean (I suppose).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 03:05 PM

I clean reedplates, mouthpieces and plastic combs using an old toothbrush and toothpaste where necessary- it's mildly abrasive and of course totally safe, not to mention fresh-tasting (though I avoid anything too minty).

Though I have a couple of Hohner chromonicas, I tend to steer clear of wooden-bodied harmonicas with nailed-on bits because they're just too tricky to maintain.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Jane Bird
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 05:58 PM

I seriously messed up a couple mouth organs by dropping them in my pint one evening. (One after the other! I ask you, what a twit!) They're still gunked up and unplayable, as nothing much has shifted them, so far. Thanks for the tooth brush and paste idea, Jon! I'll try that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 08:13 PM

Toothbrush red alert! Brush only from the fixed end of the reeds to the free end. One stroke in the other direction and it's bye-bye harmonica. When you get home from playing your harmonicas, clean them and let them dry in the air overnight before putting them away. Plastic-combed, unvalved harps (Special 20s and the like) can be washed out in a stream of tepid water then shaken out. You can do this with the modern 10-hole harps with wood combs such as blues harps that have MS stamped on the covers, but be quick. Older, hand-made blues harps and Marine Bands should not be immersed in water at all. If you have an Echo harp and you want to destroy it in one fell swoop just wash it under the tap. Bye-bye Echo. Likewise with Hohner 270s and the other wood-combed chromatics. You really are best off not cleaning these as long as they are working well, but you can clean the mouthpiece and slide mechanism by holding the harp mouthpiece-down in a shallow container of hot water whilst working the slide. Don't turn the harp the right way up until you've shaken out the excess water, and then allow it to air-dry, mouthpiece down. If you have a valved harp with sticking valves you can nearly always alleviate the problem by warming the harp before playing it. Put it in a little bag for half an hour with one of those little gel hand-warmers or put it down the front of your trousers. The counsel of perfection is not to play harmonicas unless your mouth is very clean, without trace of food residues. I break this rule only with harmonicas that can be washed through, as above. I'm not going to play my chroms after eating chips, thanks. Even if you don't do any other cleaning, always clean the mouthpiece of every harp after every playing session. If you do these things you will rarely have to contemplate dismantling harmonicas for cleaning, and you won't keep getting cold sores or worse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 06:37 PM

Good point about brush direction Steve. I don't often get the brush on the reedplates, but it comes in very handy for giving chromatic mouthpieces a good clean. Of course you have to watch out for the bristles coming off too.

Apparently the Seydel 1847 Silver is dishwasher safe (stainless steel reeds). Though as I don't have a dishwasher or enough money to think about spending £60+ on yet another harmonica I won't be putting that to the test any time soon.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,Rayzor North Carolina USA
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 05:57 PM

Wooden combs are very difficult to get smells out. Anything that will take the smell out will probably cause damage to the wood. You might try taking the harmonica apart(disassembling same) and burying it on just dry baking soda. After a while (check to the absence of smell) brush it off with an old shaving brush or and old tooth brush. Then use a spray bottle of 90% pure alcohol... Grain or ethanol and then dry the comb with a hair dryer to get the moisture out as quickly as possible. The reed plate can be soaked in a mixture of 1 tblsp of dish washing detergent like ajax or dawn (BTW the same product with a different scent and colorant) for a couple of days and then lay the plates down flat and softly brush any gook off of them, one side of each plate and then the other side of the same plate. When both plates are clean rince them in warm, not hot, water. Take a paper towel wrapping the plates and patting dry gently. (the proceedure for cleaning the reed plates is the same regardless of what the comb is made of.)Now simply reassemble the harp.

If the comb is plastic you can use any number of agents to clean it... Soaking in alcohol or detergent water and brushing it with the old tooth brush will clean it and a spray of alcohol will dissinfect the comb. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel or paper towels. The final step is to reassemble. If the harp is old enough to have nails holding on the reed plates and cover plates you should probably get some screws for the reed plates (they are self tapping and you may need to drill the holes in the top plate before putting the screws down through the newly drilled out holes. The bottom will usually accept the self tapping brass reed plate screws.)The cover plates will need to be drilled to accept the cover bolts and nuts.

Using 90% or higher alcohol (some homemade alcohol products are higher in alcohol content) will kill germs and even virus' on both the cover plates and the reeds. Simply spray on and into the holes wipe the cover plates and tap out the holds to clear most of the alcohol. I spray my harps after playing them and wipe them down.. Keeps them looking new and clean...Alcohol has a small amount of fusol oil in it so it acts as a lube on the reeds as well.

Hope this helps..

Rayzor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 07:33 PM

The commonest cause of stinky wooden combs is smoking. If it's a mild, dry night you could consider leaving your harp out in the breeze, which will remove smoky odours. Or put it in your fan oven for an hour or two with just the defrost setting on. If you do the cleaning I suggested in my 10 June post you should rarely have to dismantle any harmonica for cleaning.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 08:09 PM

I can't emphasise enough how important it is not to soak Hohner Echo harmonicas. The wood is absorbent and the soaking will cause it to warp beyond recall. I wouldn't be saying this had I not had the experience.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 04:20 PM

I've been thinking of buying a Hohner Echo, Steve. Do the new ones still have wooden combs? This is one case where I'm tempted to think that plastic is better than wood.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 08:29 AM

I haven't bought one for a while but I haven't heard that they've changed. It isn't just the wood combs, it's the fact that everything is nailed together, not screwed. All very endearing and old-fashioned - until you need to take it apart and reassemble! The wood combs have some very thin partition walls and are pretty delicate. The two other makes with good reputations are Tombo (possibly not available in the US?) and Suzuki. My only reason for going for the Echos is that they come in double-sided versions, and for Irish tunes I find the D/G one invaluable. Is plastic better than wood? Well, all the properly-conducted comparisons I've seen have revealed little, if any, difference in tone. And plastic is much easier to clean.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: GUEST,Doug Laidlow
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 07:51 AM

I have around a dozen Hohner mouth organs and one harmonica in my box of tricks bought while doing National Service in Germnany 1953-55. They have not been used since then.
Would they be worth cleaning or should I now ditch them?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Cleaning a Harmonica
From: meself
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 08:34 AM

Naa, don't keep'm - here, give'm to me; I'll get rid of them for you.

Seriously, though - clean them up and give them a try.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 25 February 1:40 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.