Exchanging Reeds

Exchanging Reeds

Tools and Aids

For our workshops a Toolset is available, containing all the tools necessary for replacing a harmonica's faulty reeds.










For this workshop you need the following tools:

  • A Star Nut Wrench 2,2 (6)
  • A Reamer D1,4 (11) withHolder (10)
  • A Twist Drill Bit 2,0 or larger(2)
  • A Starnut M1,4 (4)










Reaming the Reed



The existing holes in the reed must be reamed exactly to the outer diameter of the 1.4-mm screws.







are should be taken here, it is preferable to have the new drilling too big rather than too small, so that the reed will move about in the slot. This is an advantage for the later done centering of the reed.









Do not press the reamer too hard, or the reed will tear off at the foot. Check from time to time to see if the reed fits exactly on the screw. Doesn't fit yet! Continue reaming! Eureka! It fits!






When reaming, a tiny ridge builds up.

To remove it, (taking care to use the minimum amount of pressure) carefully shave off the burr by hand, using a larger diameter twist drill (2 or 3 mm) (2) or a small countersink bit.

Reed can be inserted.........










........and fits into the slot.

Setting the Starnut

The nutwill be picked up from the desk with the humid finger tip


Now, the 2.2 (M1,4) star lock-nut can be put into the 2.2 spanner.

You can try screwing it on with your fingers but this will probably not work.



The lock nut must be set at right angles with the reed lightly pressed centrally into the slot.

The 2.2 lock nut (M1,4) is completely screwed into position with the 2.2 star spanner.


Again (and I stress) this operation must be carried out with utmost sensitivity.

Too much power when turning the spanner will cause the reed to turn in its slot and too little will cause it to automatically loosen when you are playing.

Centring the reed



To ensure the reed is centralised, hold it up to a strong light source.

One can then easily check if it is off-centre.

Hold the reed plate up to a light source and using the feeler gauge (9), align the reed in it's slot, (ensuring the light is divided equally on all sides).

Check again, using the sound tests below to verify your success.





Place the feeler under the reed and 'plink' it

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