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re: Help! Is my brand new first time harmonica ruined? Aug-23-05 8:35pmOnce again, bear hits the nail on the head. New wood isn't as well "aged" or "seasoned" from use as older wood. Therefore, it is actually more susceptible to swelling and warping when it is new. This is why people used to advise soaking harps. In general, this is a bad idea because if you do it, you'll corrode the reed plates (and possibly the covers). This is probably the biggest drawback to the Hohner Marine Band. Hohner has addressed this somewhat with the Hohner Marine Band Deluxe, which is assembled with screws to make disassembly and reassembly a great deal easier, as well as a better sealed comb to help resist swelling and warping. How well it resists swelling and warping, I'm not sure.
I can certainly understand your irritation, though, at the apparent disintegration of your brand new harp, but unfortunately, that's just the main drawback to wooden combs. Supposedly, the Hering 1923 Vintage isn't as bad, and supposedly, neither is the new Marine Band Deluxe. The new model of the Delta Frost from Bushman has a wood comb which is made of a wood so dense, it naturally doesn't even float in water (ergo very swelling and warping resistant), and it's also very well sealed because somewhere between 2 and 5% of the human population has allergic reactions to the wood used.
re: Help! Is my brand new first time harmonica ruined? Aug-23-05 7:10pmNew, old, makes no differance. New wood will soak up moistue just as easy and maybe quicker the old wood.
re: Help! Is my brand new first time harmonica ruined? Aug-23-05 4:46pmI understand. But the harp is practicly brand new.
re: Help! Is my brand new first time harmonica ruined? Aug-23-05 4:40pmTo add to what bear said, eventually, over time, the swelling will cause a certain amount of warping, and eventually, the comb will not completely return to it's normal state. My old Marine Band had a permanent hump between 4 and 7 that at its apex, protruded almost 1/16th of an inch from the plates when dry. Again, the only reason I no longer play it is because the #5 draw reed gave out. It played great until I blew that reed, and the rest of the harp still plays just fine (although it may be a little flat from so much use). The one I have now shows barely any signs of swelling, but then again, I've been taking better care of it, but there is a slight swelling around 5 & 6.
re: Help! Is my brand new first time harmonica ruined? Aug-23-05 3:13amWill the swelling go away? Yes and No!
Yes the swelling will go away when it dries out. But if you play it for long periods at a time it will swell again. Even if you play it for short periods you'll get a certain amount of swelling. The longer you play it the more it will swell up.
The big problem is after awhile from all the swelling and contracting the wood may crack, but that would take a lot of use to do that. Wood is some funny stuff, let it dry out to much it will crack, get it to wet it will swell and split. If you have a problem with to much moisture and play for long periods of time, and want to stick to harps with wooden combs. I'd suggest having two or three harps of the same key so you can switch harps well your playing as they get to wet.
When I used to play Blues harps I always carried two harps just because of this. Thank God Hohner started using plastic. It makes a much better harp.