From: Steven Levine <;>;
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 23:18:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Strange reed flattening

Last night I had a reed go from normal pitch to at least two tones down.
It happened on a MS blues harp in A. I got a couple of the MS blues harps
about a month ago and I've found them to very good harps - very tight and
responsive like a Marine Band and much better out of the box than the
Marine Band. This harp was in good shape. I've been using it a lot for
crossharp in E but it hadn't gone flat since I've had it. Last night at a
jam I think I was using it for the second song in a row and the five draw
all of a sudden sounded very strange - like I was playing the wrong hole.
I played it a little after the song was over and realized it was out of tune.
I didn't use that harp anymore that night. Tonight I took it apart
(another thing I like about the Blues Harp - it has screws instead of
nails) to retune it. Usually when my harps go flat it's the four draw
that goes first, and usually just a semitone or so flat. On this harp the
five draw was lower than the four draw! I tried to retune it by filing
the free end, just like I usually do, but the pitch barely went up. It
was kind of bent too - either from all of the filing I was doing (I admit
I was pretty rough with it, but I was getting frustrated filing the SOB!)
or maybe from playing. eventually the reed broke off when I was trying to
change the offset. I had a feeling it would do that because I have had
other reeds break on me before, but always after several retunings. Has
anyone ever had a reed do this? The only explanation I can think of for
it to go from its natural tone to so far flat is that there was something
wrong with the reed in the first place and it bent - maybe that's whaty
it got so weak and broke off. I don't know, but now I need a new A harp
and I'm not sure if I can trust the blues harps. I've heard that the Big
Riber reedplates are the same as the ones in the Blues Harp but the Big
River costs half as much. Is that true? If so I'll probably just get a
new Marine Band (and take a risk of it being screwed up like the last few
I've bought) and Big River for the reedplates for the Blues Harp.

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