How to fix a broken 4 hole harmonica
From time to time a harmonica can stop doing what it should do. Instead of playing clear notes, one reed sounds a bit strange. It may rattle, it may not play at all or, as one of our junior players recently discovered, a duck had climbed inside his harmonica. Blow hole 4 made a beautiful quack!
Since the 4 hole Hohner Speedy does not come in its own case, the problem is usually caused by a piece of dust or a small flake that has become trapped under the reed. Occasionally a reed can just get stuck. Sometimes it goes out of tune because the metal has started to fatigue – it’s too tired to carry on and it’s ready to snap off.
Here’s what to do
You need to open up the harmonica and look inside. This is not as hard as you might imagine. In the following video, HarpsCool’s Ben Hewlett shows us how to lift the cover on a 4 hole Hohner Speedy harmonica and fix a trapped reed. He also shows how to fix a flattened reed and what happens when it’s fatigued.
If the problem is a just piece of fluff, or a small flake that has wedged under a reed, a pair of tweezers and a short blow will normally sort things out. You can also try cleaning the reed plate with a mild detergent and a soft cloth. Use a very gentle touch on and around the reeds though. And make sure you rinse and dry the reed plate thoroughly afterwards.
If none of these fixes work, as Ben says in the video, it’s time to buy a new harmonica.