Learn and Play Harmonica Online Forums The Harmonica Tool Shed How Better to Breathe than with Music

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  • Ryan Moffatt
    Post count: 45

    That just popped in my head the other day :)

    I have a serious problem though that I need help with:
    It seems quite difficult to get the secondhand cigarette smoke out from my harmonica.

    I’m sort of…hypersensitive to it. I couldn’t bring myself to play it. It took a couple days before it stopped reeking. I took all approaches listed below. Please tell me there’s a solution. I don’t often play outside from my home, but when I do and especially in households that have indoor smokers, it sticks to everything. Surely you guys have the same problem. My gf said “just breathe it out.” LOL ew. Only thing I can think of is to have two different sets of harmonicas: a smokers set and a non-smokers set. Jeez.

    Aside from that, here are some more general maintenance questions:

    How can I best care for my harmonicas?

    • Play at room temperature – Why? Only thing I can think is for the reeds to vibrate, they need to be pliable, which materials are at higher temperatures. I stick the whole thing in my mouth in an attempt to try to speed up the heating. This necessary? lol. What will happen after a while of playing much lower? Stress fractures? Is a temperature too high a problem, like if I, say, leave it in the car.
    • Smack out the moisture – I do this sometimes if I play it for extended periods. If the humidity is high, I case it right away when I’m done. Otherwise, I’ll let it air dry for a bit first, with the holes facing downward. Is this correct? Also side note, if I recall correctly, someone mentioned that for marine band models it’s recommended NOT to smack moisture out on the lower registers because they could become misaligned or something. What’s the right way to do this?

    How do I clean harmonicas? I hear

    • warm water
    • ultrasonic cleaner
    • vinegar, citric acid
    • alcohol, but carefully and briefly, to limit oxidation

    …then finish with small brush and dry quickly.

    One instructor (Tom Leckie) took it apart and used everything listed except alcohol. Another instructor (JP Allen) dropped the whole harp in a glass of alcohol, but didn’t take it apart 0.o

    So what’s the best treatment? Anything special attention needed for wood combs? Will they have a taste to them? Will it taste more and more like cigarette smoke when it’s air? If so, this makes me very, very unhappy :'(

    Ryan Moffatt
    Post count: 45

    Ok so I completely forgot The Tool Shed wasn’t located in the forum. My bad. I’ll take a look at those. :D

    Still interested in anyone’s reply about the cigarette smoke issue though…

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