Chromatic Harmonica

How do you clean a chromatic harmonica?

My friend got me a chromatic harmonica and it's pretty dusty on the inside and it tastes sooooooo bad! What is the best way to clean?

Disassembly:

(1) First take mental (or written) note of the top-left hole's note. There is a piece under the slide that has a bunch of squares on it. If you put this in backwards, the natural (without the slide depressed) notes will not be the same.

(2) Unscrew the two screws on the slide (outer metal piece with the holes), being sure to hold onto it because there is usually moderate force being applied by curvature in the slide.

(3) Take off the three metal pieces (or however many your harmonica has) that make up the slide assembly. Be sure to note the tiny and short plastic straw-like spacers that are on either end of the comb (underneath the slide assembly).

(4) Be careful when handling the comb, as it is clearly complex and fragile, as well as the reeds, which are also fragile (which are hidden under leather or plastic "wind savers," or "valves." Do not bend these either!).

Cleaning:

I. The screws in (2), as well as the entire slide assembly in (3) can be vigorously cleaned with soap-and-water as well as disinfectant suxh as rubbing alcohol.

II. Due to the sheer complexity of the comb, it should only be cleaned with a liquid that will evaporate quickly (like rubbing alcohol) to prevent swelling and breakage.

I suggest being incredibly careful when cleaning around the reeds and wind savers. Q-Tips are a great tool, as is a small dissecting scraper. Simply scrape off the green crust and grime, then wash with rubbing alcohol.

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