How To Clean A Harmonica
If you are looking to enhance the durability and optimize the performance of your prized harmonica, it is essential to take care of it properly. Basic maintenance duties are particularly essential, especially when it comes to cleanliness. Saliva, dead skin cells, and other debris can often get stuck in your harmonica overtime, potentially causing loss of sound quality. In addition, playing a filthy harmonica is not going to be pleasant! Read on to learn more about how to clean a harmonica like a pro.
1. Tap Your Harmonica After Playing
There are many simple habits that all harmonica players should take up. For instance, make sure you remember to tap your harmonica after every use. There will certainly be some saliva remaining in your instrument after you have used it. By tapping the harmonica, you will be able to remove excess saliva. You can even quickly clean up the instrument with a lint-free cloth to remove any remaining saliva or other marks that might stem from greasy fingerprints and other factors.
2) Let Your Harmonica Dry After Playing
Let your harmonica remain in an open case for 10-20 mins after you’ve used it. This will allow the harmonica a moment to breathe, instead of being trapped with moisture inside the case.
3. Learn To Control Your Saliva
It is interesting to note that many beginners tend to build up more saliva in their mouths when performing with their harmonicas. Technique will certainly improve if you continue to practice and hone your skills over time. Experienced harmonica players can play “dry,” meaning that the amount of saliva they pass into the harmonica while playing is minimal.
4) Take Your Harmonica Apart For A Deep Cleaning
As with many instruments, sometimes a deep cleaning is the only way to restore it to its former glory. To begin, remove the two screws which hold the metal plates in place. From there, you can separate the reed plates from the comb (mouthpiece).
Many people have affordable harmonica models, often made of plastic. It is highly recommended to rinse your harmonica every day, if possible. The best way to do it is to use warm water and rinse the instrument by letting water flow through its mouthpiece. To let it dry, tap your harmonica in a gentle, yet firm way to remove excess water and use a lint-free cloth or towel to dry the surface of the instrument as well. You can let the harmonica rest on a towel for about 15 to 20 minutes to allow any excess water to flow out.
If your harmonica has a comb made of wood or metal, it is highly suggested to avoid this particular cleaning method. As you probably know, water might affect the shape and moisture in the wood, and it might potentially cause warping over time. A warped comb could undoubtedly impact the sound quality of your instrument negatively. Metal can also be susceptible to water damage, as it can increase the risk of rust and discoloration over time.
If you have a wooden harmonica, try wiping the comb and reed plates with a cloth, or using an air duster to dry out the crevices.
5. Don’t Smoke
Smoking, especially while playing, can damage the harmonica. Wood can absorb the toxins of cigarettes, eventually destroying your favorite harmonica.
If you are looking to keep your harmonica clean and in good shape at all times, remember to store it properly in its case when not in use. This will prevent dirt, dust, and debris from making their way into your prized instrument. Every once in a while, you should also consider performing some in-depth cleaning by disassembling the harmonica (often by just removing the cover plates) and use alcohol to sanitize the instrument.
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