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Harmonica Related


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Well, it's not concertina related "directly", but somewhat.

When I had time for Anglo, I would check if the tune is diatonic enough to be played on one row with chords. For this reason I used harmonica.

For some long time I settled with Huang Silvertone, because of it's smooth edges and eased pucker, but lately it went flat, so I replaced it with much acclaimed Lee Oscar. After a week of playing with LO I noticed discomfort in my left cheek, in the area of the cheek bone. To the point that I can't use harmonica anymore. After a week of rest the feeling is toned down and almost gone, but at times it's back, albeit not as strong.

Anybody had this? I know, the doctors and all that, but my experience with doctors don't inspire me much. :(

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I've never experienced the discomfort you're describing so I have no ideas about that. I can say that I'm not a big fan of the Lee Oskars, the reeds don't speak as easy and consistently as I'd like. I like the feel, sound, and reed sensitivity of the Golden Melodys the most. And my second favorite is the Special 20. You can get a Special 20 in Low D too, which is great for melodies. They also work great for opening bottles of beer :) I'd try a different brand and see if the problem continues...

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Mischa, hello!


From what you describe, I would think that it's not the harp brand, but the way the harmonica makes you use your jaw and mouth. It sounds to me like a bit of the TMJ: Temporo-Mandibular J-something that I disremember at the moment. You probably do a lot of munching around with your lips, tongue and jaw muscles, to the point that your whole face gets involved; it's what harp players do in order to get the notes to play the way we want them to.


I play lots of harp and have suffered from TMJ for years, now. I also have a bad habit of grinding my back teeth (hey- I teach Middle School- Saint Francis himself would get a little tense!). A visit to an orthodontist supplied three fixes:

A: quit playing the harmonica

B: Take a bunch of muscle-relaxant drugs.

C: Surgery


None of these options appealed to me, so I have resolved to be a lot more aware of how I'm using the muscles in question, and making sure that I take time and effort to relax them in whatever way I can. Mostly, attention to usage seems to be enough to relieve the strain. That, and i also advise judicious application of North Coast Brewery's Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. It is one of the mightiest brews available, and is ace for the relaxation of taut muscles :) Use the Special 20 to open. ;)


I hope that this is all it is, and that some simple attentional tricks and streches can help.


John's suggestion about the Golden Melody is a good one: In my opinion, it's one of the best but more overlooked models that Hohner produces, and is less expensive than the LO.


Hope things work out well



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Thanks for suggestions. I think I did contact Mandibelo_Muscluscular_Jsomthing.

Attention to relaxation is a sound one. I did order some very inexpencive Johnson hamonicas ($3 each), and they are so much easier to play and bend. The sound is nothing to write home about, but it's a test for free. I do have Golden Melody in G, but my mustache sticks in it. There is nothiing better then the old Huang (or $$ Suzuki of the same shape), but Seidel sells something similar too.

Seems like Special 20 is the most recommended one. I'll check it out.

Thanks everybody.

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