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REED GAP alignment


Although exaggerated the reed on the right is out of alignment with the slot, and of course this will adversely effect the free play of the reed when played,

there are special reed spanners made to adjust reeds, it can also be aligned with a pair of pliers and a steady hand the problem with this adjustment is not to loosen the reed from the rivet, carefully pinching the rivet afterwards will help to keep the reed in situ

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When re aligning reeds first you need a bright white area to look at the reed plate in silhouette a white computer screen is perfect for this, first identify the reed, mark with a felt pen on the bast of the reed, then with a firm grip of both the reed plate and the spanner you must make the most fine of adjustments checking against the white background, you are moving the reed by 0.01 mm its that finite an operation so practice on old harps

to buy a reed spanner click here

My spanners are approx 70mm long 2.3/4 inch,

I make these by hand so  they are not up to snap on standards but they do the  job,

I take a grip of the reed plate in my left hand and the spanner in my right, and with the spanner on  the selected reed base, I clench my arms close  to my chest, so I am restricting my arms from free movement, Then with the very  smallest pinch of movement on the reed base, Its almost like trying  not to move the reed, then I check the silhouette of the reed and gap, and repeat until successful I think that the fact  that my spanners are inside the palm actually helps lose a bit of leverage, thus not over cooking the movement.            I think of adjusting a reed!! is like milking a mouse

Hi Gary,
The spanners arrived a few days ago.  I must admit they are much more substantial than the sheet  metal variety Iíve gotten in kits.
I feel a little  more comfortable and in-control now when I try to center a reed.
Thank you very much!
John Whiteman  renowned harmonica collector

always remember when tuning, it is a delicate musical instrument with a finite degree of adjustment for optimum performance, only attempt working on your harmonica if you are fully confident you are equipped, practiced and fully understand what you need to do and always practice on old or cheap harmonicas

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