Author Topic: Can I tune a Swan 1040?  (Read 3748 times)

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Sully75

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Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« on: October 15, 2016, 01:05:06 PM »
On a whim I bought a Swan 1040.  I've been playing around with it and really love it.

I noticed that a G major scale sounds pretty weird so played it into a tuner and it's pretty far out.  Most notes are quite flat from a440 but not consistently so.  The f#is pretty awful. 

Wondering if I got a stinker or are they all off?  And would it be worth it to try to tune it? 

I assume generally it should be good out of the box?

Offline SlideMeister

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2016, 02:16:29 PM »
On a whim I bought a Swan 1040.  I've been playing around with it and really love it.

I noticed that a G major scale sounds pretty weird so played it into a tuner and it's pretty far out.  Most notes are quite flat from a440 but not consistently so.  The f#is pretty awful. 

Wondering if I got a stinker or are they all off?  And would it be worth it to try to tune it? 

I assume generally it should be good out of the box?


A 10 hole Swan is no Stradivarius by any stretch of the imagination, and as such should not be expected to be perfect. To be fair, it may have been better before it left the factory, but if the initial tuning was not rechecked after a few days, it could have "drifted."  In my experience, the second tuning is usually the charm. Re-tune it and it should be okay. (unless you have a genuinly bad reed :P

@ge

Sully75

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 09:17:42 PM »
Thanks!  I actually like it quite a bit so it would be cool to tune it. 

Is there a standard chromatic harmonic tuning reference you could point me to?  I see a lot for diatonic but not much for chromatics. 

Offline beads

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2016, 09:34:50 PM »
I like the online tuner from Seventh String. I won't work in Google Chrome but it will work in Internet Explorer.
https://www.seventhstring.com/tuner/tuner.html
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Sully75

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2016, 07:30:57 AM »
Sorry I meant a tutorial on how to tune a chromatic harmonica.  Any good suggestions?

jakhammer

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2016, 11:11:33 AM »
you could try this to get you started....you can buy one of those little tuning sets on evil bay fairly cheap...you don,t have to go for the hohner professional stuff..


you can download free digital tuners

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 06:57:40 AM »
Your little Swan will give you a great introduction to reeds and tuning. There are loads of good harmonica tuning demos on youtube. You don't need a tool kit, just a few basic tools - a tuner or tuning app to check the pitch of the reeds, a strong pair of reading glasses, a steady hand and a lot of patience. Good luck - you will learn a lot.

Offline Edward Brock

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2016, 11:08:10 AM »
The 10 hole Swan is ok when just starting out. AND it can give you
a chance to experiment on and get some genuine "Hands On" Touchy-Feely action going.
I have a couple Hohner 260's that are fun but they don't come out to play very often now.
I like the size of the smaller chrom but for me the larger ones do me better.
As you start playing a little more you may want to jump to 12, 14 or 16 size in different
brands to get something of slightly better quality (sound, Projection & such)
The others are right about U-Tube as far as tuning and all kinds of other maintenance ideas.

Offline vcleynes

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2016, 02:24:55 PM »
Don't forget the file.  Mini hand files are available in hardware stores or better still get yourself a mini electric drill.  The latter is preferable because you can direct the filing more accurately on the target area on the reed, although experience is needed to master positioning of the file and how much contact and pressure is applied.

Offline Norm

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2016, 01:43:47 AM »
I've had success tuning with a fingernail machine.  I don't know what the proper name for it is, but I got it at a drugstore.  It comes with different tips and it has something to do with ladies' fingernails.  Anyway, it comes with different tips, and you put a tip on, and it spins, and works for tuning.  It cost about ten dollars u.s. when I bought it four or five years ago.  I read about it here on SlideMeister.

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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2017, 02:19:14 AM »
File? Sanding stick?   I used to bother myself with making a sanding stick by wrapping a narrow band of sandpaper around a small stick.      Now I use a knife blade to scrape the reed in the appropriate spot. I gently scrape a wide swath.  It's doggone easy.

No buying of dremels, special files, normal files. A knife does just fine for me.

Offline Winslow Yerxa

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Re: Can I tune a Swan 1040?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2017, 02:14:03 PM »
Perhaps the gentlest introduction to removing metal from a reed (which is what tuning mostly is) would be a sanding detailer. It's a band of sandpaper wrapped around a stylus that keeps the band tensed. It has one chisel-shaped end and one rounded end. Machines, shapr files, etc., might remove too much material in the hands of an inexperienced user.

Here's what they look like: https://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/TDSONLINESTORE/8400884/24_piece_sanding_detailer_kit_with_extra_belts_courser_grit/indie_supplies/tools

The other thing you need is something to support the reed while you remove metal. The thinnest blade from a spark plug gapping tool works well. Or you could buy some thin sheets of brass at a hobby shop (where you can also get a kit of 4 sanding detailers with different grits of paper on them) and cut to size (basically a tongue shape similar to the first couple of inches of your index finger).

To raise the pitch of a reed, remove metal from the top surface of the reed at the tip. To lower pitch, remove metal near the base of the reed.

Check your work frequently. Remove the support, plink the reed a few times (lift the tip and let it go to vibrate - makes a sound like "plink") then mount on the comb if disassembled, hold with finger pressure, and play into the tuner.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 02:17:59 PM by Winslow Yerxa »