Sticky wind savers

I went ahead and bought a Super Chromonica before christmas. It is a very nice instrument, and I’m happy I bought a new one instead of used. The playing is coming along as well.

Being used to diatonic harmonicas I was a bit surprised at first of how hard I had to blow to produce sounds (compared to diatonics, that is). Now, after a while I have been thinking about whether it plays the way it should. Are chromatics normally “less sensitive” than diatonics?
Also it feels like the wind savers stick a bit some times. It has been like that since it was new, and I have been careful to clean my mouth before playing and tapping out the instrument after use.

Hi Joakim,

I hope someone of the Hohner Team will give you a proffessional answer to what you hav’e asked.
What I can say about playing the 64 Cromatic with the round holes is, that it feels like it is harder to play, perhaps because you have to close the channel somehow tighter than a diatonic or also the channel itself is smaler in comparison of a diatonic.The instrument itself should not be cold when you start playing. What I also learnt is, that you don’t clap or tap out the instrument in your hand because of the windsavers. They could shift or slip in a wrong position. When you are finish with playing, lean it against a wall or something firm in an upright position to let it dry. Thereafter you can take it again in laying position. Greetings, Kerstin

Hello Joakim,

I agree with all Kerstin says. Indeed it’s normal for the the harmonica super 64 chromatic wind savers to stick when wet. They are thin and plastic. In theory if you take your hot breath on glass you know it fogs up it’s the same moisture which makes the wind savers become wet and stick. I put mine in a towel covered with a heating pad for about 15 minutes medium temp before playing this helps prevent condensation. Some musicians like to carry more than one with them and some feel they have a dry mouth and bypass sticky wind savers. I like to set mine to dry out for an hour or two usually rotating both sides then I can heat it up again and play it for about an hour before drying out any sticking wind savers. Hope this helps you to have better understanding for lots of fun playing this wonderful instrument.

Hi Joakim,
I’m not really a chrom player, so I’ve asked Gerhard Müller at Hohner to reply to your question. I used to play the chromatic more often than I do today and found the tendency of the windsavers to either stick or rattle most frustrating. Good advice from Kerstin & Rusty :smile:

Hello Joakim,

I don’t think you should have to use any more power to play your chrome than your diatonic however you have to make a few adjustments to your playing. Attempting to play a chromatic harmonica with the same approach as the diatonic is going to give you problems. Changing over can be challenging. Diatonic player are always thinking about bending and changing resonance within the mouth to make the harmonica sound more expressive. If you try this on a chrome you can choke the reeds or get a real thin sound…

On the 64 the first 5 holes especially the 2nd and the 4th give a lot of beginners problems. I know I am a beginner. It is always better to start out playing on the upper 12 holes and getting them to sound good and full of tone. I would try to open everything up in your mouth and go through the blow and draw notes hitting them straight on while all along taking mental notes as to how you are holding your mouth when you get that good rich tone you are aiming for. Play your major scale doing this and in no time you will find the sweet spot. Then go down to the lower register and do the same. Take it slow and observe what you and the harp are doing.

The wind savers will get condensation on them if the harmonica is cold and if not dried out correctly before putting it away in it’s case can cause sticky valves. They usually loosen up by warming it up and playing. They will rattle a bit you just have to be patient - I hate when the chrome does this. If I notice my mouth was a little wet while playing I partially open the slider and put a toothpick between the holes to let the whole harp dry out inside and out. This really helps!

If all else fails take it apart and inspect it. If the top clear part of the valve is sticking to the bottom you can seperate them by using a razor blade or exacto knife up the end of the clear part. Don’t forget to hold the end of the longer part of the valve as you can lift them up too far rendering them almost useless. There are ways to fix this if it happens

Doug Tate has a great book out called “Make Your Harmonica Work Better” which is crazy good and has some very advanced mods you can perform on your harmonica to make it better but the easy ones are equally as good. Trouble shoot it and try and fix it if you can.

Steve and Gabbi, have some fantastic videos out there on repair as well. Thes videos are priceless! Very well made.

Good luck Pal and let us know how it turns out.

Thank you guys. I am still new with both the diatonic and chromatic harmonica, and I equally enjoy playing them. All of your replies make sense. I will try to be more cautious about warming and drying the instrument and see if it helps. I will let you know if it helps. :slight_smile: