INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Harmonium Forum: How to fix slow starting reeds (keys) on my harmonium.


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How to fix slow starting reeds (keys) on my harmonium. Jun 20, 2002 11:49 a.m.

Hello Everyone,
We have a folding harmonium which has triple reeds, 9 scale changer and a coupler. The harmonium is about a year old and has been used often (at least a couple of times a week) for our daughter's bhajan lessons and practice.
The problem is that the bass and female set of reeds appear to start slow. This means that after the key is pressed, the sound is produced after about a second or so. The male (middle) set of reeds work fine (no delay).
There is no leakage in the external or internal belows. I know this because I can pump the bellows, wait for a few seconds and press the key and the sound is produced.
I have opened the harmonium and fiddled around (and fixed) minor mechanical problems.
In this case I think the problem is with the reeds. Anyone have any suggestions on where to look and how to possibly fix the problem. Any suggestions or help will be greatly appreciated.


David Todd
Re:How to fix slow starting reeds (keys) on my harmonium. Jul 12, 2002 04:15 p.m.


I am currently importing harmoniums and have had to deal with this with a number of them. This may not be the sole reason notes come in slow, but perhaps a place to start. The tongue of the reed needs to ride slightly higher than the base of the reed. If it is too high, the reed sounds late, if too low it may not come in at all. This is especially true of the more base reeds and less so towards the high end. This slight adjustment with a sharp objest, done carefully pushing down on the tongue will help.

Re:How to fix slow starting reeds (keys) on my harmonium. Jul 15, 2002 12:18 p.m.

Hi David,
Thank you for taking the time to reply. I got a similar reply from the dealer in Mumbai (tongue of the reed too high or low). When I examined the reeds I found that this was not the case. The distance between the tongure and the reed base was about the same as in the working reeds. However, I noticed that the screws holding the reeds down were not tightened completely. On some of the reeds the screw threads were stripped (in the wood of the harmonium). They would just rotate without tightening. I will have to fix them by filling the hole with a toothpick (dipped in carpenter's glue) and drilling a pilot hole etc.
Now that I have tightened most of the reed hold down screws it appears to be slightly better. Not yet acceptable but a bit of an improvement. I am still looking for improvement in the response time in the "bass" reeds.
Thanks once again for replying.


David Todd
Re:How to fix slow starting reeds (keys) on my harmonium. Jul 15, 2002 07:22 p.m.

Hellow again,

In the harmoniums we sell, all the reeds are not only screwed in place but are also shelaced, cant spell it. If your reeds are screwed in but there is air leakage arounf the base of the reeds, we have had good success with using a type of white glue around the base to really seal the reeds down. Also, if there are any small cracks in the reed board this will obviously promote leakage. I have had the same problem but have ben able to repair this harmonium quite nicely. Please let me know if I can be of any further help. You can email me at:

warm regards,


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