Friday, September 20, 2013

Repair Damaged Reeds On The Harmonica

Repair Broken Reeds on a Harmonica

If the pitch of your harmonica suddenly goes flat, a reed is broken. An inexpensive diatonic harmonica should just be replaced, but the reeds of an expensive or favorite harmonica can be fixed if you are willing to put in a little effort.


1. Remove the bolt and nut screws holding the covers using a Phillips screwdriver or a putty knife.

2. Clean the covers using isopropyl (90 percent) alcohol.

3. Silver polish and shine the covers.

4. Etch a mark on the reed plate by the reed that does not move to avoid working on the wrong reed.

5. Remove the machine bolts from the reed plates.

6. Use a knife to pry up one nail at a time if your harmonica has a wooden comb. Do not bend the reed plates.

7. Tap the sharp end and use pliers to extract the nails if your harmonica has a plastic comb with nails.

8. Drill a hole in a 5-inch-by-5-inch, 1/4-inch-thick steel plate. Punch the reed rivet out into the drilled hole using a hammer, a punch (or a small nail) and a reed wrench. Save the rivets.

9. Extract the broken reed(s).

10. Try to match reed for reed. A longer reed can be used to replace the broken one.

11. Fit the reed using fingernail clippers, then file it square.

12. Replace the rivet, either by tapping it in using a nail and hammer or by squeezing the rivet into the hole using pliers to do so.

13. Cut a small nail to work as a new rivet if necessary. To tighten it, tap or squeeze.

14. Adjust the replaced reed and reattach the reed plates.

15. Play your harmonica! Check the tuning.

16. Replace the covers.

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