From: Douglas Tate <;>;
Date: 12 Nov 95 06:21:00 EST
Subject: Bolt that Harp!

Charles D mentioned bolts instead of nails to attach reed plates on a #270.

BEWARE. If you have a brand new instrument you can do all sorts of things like
taking the reed plates off and putting them back. If you have played the thing
then there will be some tendency for the body to warp when you take the reed
plates off and they will not easily (if at all ) go back correctly (Even a meal
of chile peppers and a bit of blowing afterwards does not dry the thing out

The best way, IMO, to deal with a #270 which has been used is as follows.,

Take off mouthpiece and coverplates and those diddy 'supports' (the mouthorgans,

If possible clamp the body in a vice along the left hand edge of the reed plates
and body ('tother way round for lefties). Take out the two front left nails and
drill a tight clearance hole through the whole assembly for your first 'through
body experience' bolt. Tighten finger tight then about half a turn more with a
little spanner. Do the same at the front right hand end. NOTE, you may have
to shift the position depending on the shape and size of your bolts to avoid
colliding with the cover plates on reassembly.

Do the same for the back corners. Now do the two support holes but put in longer
bolts to effectively immitate the supports. (cut them down by about 1mm and put
a partly drilled rubber washer to act as buffer on top.(think of a condom in
position and you will get the idea))
Apologies for any offense.

Next do all the othe places where nails go through .... EXCEPT, near the lower
end of the instrument you will need to make a new hole 'cos there are a couple
of nails not opposite each other. Do not take the nails out of these holes,
drill nearby. You don't take the nails out because a couple of the holes are
actually in the slot inside and you get a small air leak. Alternative is to
bung up the hole with Tarmac, chewing gum or a dab of windsaver glue.

Once all the bolts have been lightly tightened on first putting in you willneed
to go round them (like tightening up cylinder head bolts and give a very light
tweak until they all offer similar light resistance to tightening. Do not try
and emulate Arnold Swchartzerthingy, too tight is bad.

You now need to do two things. Take out the spring post and spring and lightly
sand the front edge of the instrument to get it flat. (Wet 'n dry paper on a
flat table, rub instrument across this) get rid of sharp edges. wipe a smear of
petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the newly exposed wood. Reassemble the lot.
There are a couple of other points you need to do but that is the general
principle. If you want to know the rest you can damn well buy my book on the

You will note that the idea is to NOT take the harmonica apart. I did 35 of
these successfully by this method for Larry Adler who then promptly went and
played them and RUINED a brilliant piece of work. Hey ho, the life of an artisan
is always thus blighted.

Douglas T

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