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David's Tip of the Day: My Harp Doesn't work by Jon Harl

David Barrett Admin's picture

If a reed doesn’t produce any sound it could be broken. But first it might be stuck with dried salvia or way too much spit in the harp. Do not try to force the reed free by blowing or drawing hard on that one hole (if the reed suddenly releases, this powerful force can break the reed), OR stick something in the hole to free the reed. Play a gentle chord (include the offender in the chord), blow and draw, with a big flow of air.

If this doesn’t work, take the harp apart and examine the reed. I’ve found hair, turkey sandwiches, lint… just about everything. With a toothpick gently nudge the obstruction out of the gap. If that doesn’t do the trick, plink the reed, (carefully, you don’t want to lift it too far) and see if it sounds. If you can’t get the plinker under the reed it needs to be raised and plinked some more. If the reed “sticks” in the slot when you plink it, more than likely the reed is fractured. If it doesn’t plink too well, check if the reed is centered in the slot. Use your reed wrench to adjust it. Clean and adjust as needed while the harp is apart.

If the reed “stalls” when you hit it hard. Disassemble the harp and gap the reed a little higher and try it again. If the reed doesn’t bend very easily… gap the reed lower. If the reed is noticeably flat, the reed is fractured and needs to be replaced.

Lastly, study all of Kinya’s instruction videos. You should know how to diagnose what’s wrong and preform a simple fix.


This the last of Jon's tips for you. Thank you Jon!