FAQ Accordion Veiw | MasterHarp

Tuning Table Use

How do I adjust the hold pins?

There are a few things to keep in mind. For brass plates you do not need a lot of pressure, stainless a bit more but truthfully not that much more unless they are seriously bent. In that case you have another problem that is out of the scope of this question. We have found that if the pins are adjusted to just rest on the gasket when you install a plate the tension should be good enough to seal most plates.

How can I better control air flow across the reeds?

Use a bellows with an adjustable clamp on the hose.

What harmonicas can I tune with the Sjoeberg Tuning Table?

Pretty much any diatonic with the right configuration. We have had success with Hohner, Seydel, Lee Oscar, Tombo, Suzuki and most of there individual types. You always have 30 days to test out a tuning table, more if you need it up to 90 days.

What about temperature and humidity where I am using the tuning table?

Temperature and Humidity are Important!

It was very hot here a few miles east of San Francisco, 80F ++ some time ago and my tuning table valves were temporarily but quite seriously effected. They became tight and stayed that way until the temperature dropped back to below 75F. I would recommend that if your sliders are not actuating as you would like make sure that you assess, adjust (the brass sliders) and for a more consistent result, tune only at a constant temperature.

Humidity is also a factor. To the best of your ability you should always do your tuning in the same general range of both temperature and humidity. Although where I live and work it does not get too humid I will predict that higher humidity will be a factor and might cause the table to swell enough to cause performance issues.

My plates are full of 'other' holes and slots, what can I do about that?

Our cascading slot gaskets will help get you around that corner. We make them for both the single and master tables and in different thicknesses.

These cascading gaskets will seal around the holes in most plates including Special 20s and Lee Oscar. On the single table just spin it around to change between blow / draw. On the master you will need two gaskets, one for blow plates one for draw.

If you still end up catching a hole get some 1/4 inch (Avery...)  sticker dots to block off the remaining leak by.

All our gaskts are listed here.

Draw plate is trickier to tune on the table than the blow plate yes?

Draw plate is trickier than the blow in my opinion, on the table at least because the octaves are not as linear. We have Richtor to blame for that bit of genius, blues harp would not be what it is without it!  Anyway, I have one table owner that prefers to do the draw mostly on the comb using the table to get it into the ball park fast and then working the plate on the comb. Others do both on the table then do minor / final adjustments on the comb for both.

Pricing, Availability, Delivery

Why are the tables so expensive?

They are not really if you think of the money you will save in the long run. Fix ten and it has paid for itself if you keep taxes and shipping costs in mind. That is a reasonable calculation and does not include the high value of being able to rapidly experiment with tuning.

How soon can I get a table?

If we have a table on the shelf for you, likely, and you live in the USA not much longer than a week if not less. Delivery to Canada, the EU, Australia, New Zealand takes at least a week and more likely two.

What countries do you ship to?

We have ship to Canada, the EU, Australia and New Zealand. Shipping to other countries is problematic but will be considered if you are willing to assume the risk and pay for the shipping.


Why do table tuned plates sometimes sound different in the assembled harp?

There are many factors. One of which is that tuning harmonicas is more of an art than a science. But the tuning table has the potential to inject a more scientific method into the black art of tuning without a table. When talking about how it sounds when assembled, no matter how it was tuned, how it is tested can vary person to person and even harmonica to harmonica due to comb style and material, embouchure, moisture on the reeds, air tightness of plate to comb and so much more. All of that can make a difference. The tricky part is consistency; that is where a tuning table can help.

What can I do to get consistent results from the table to assembled harp?

Iterate! When you are starting out what we recommend is that you go back and forth until you know that the result on the table be it flat or sharp from the desired assembled tuning will result in the tuning you want on the harp. Make a chart, reference tune the plate to establish baseline, assemble on harp, test and compare to reference and then adjust again on table to suit the desired difference. Reassemble and test again. Eventually you will achieve consistent results straight off the table.

Further ruminations...

Although there is a method to obtain harmonic results off the table (balanced  and relative by using a single reference reed) the majority of users I believe are using  tuning formulas or ear plus a tuner to get closer to the result they want from an assembled harp. From there they are making predictable adjustments to in their tuning formulas and getting consistent results on the assembled harp. All indications are that the key to consistent results is consistent breathing. That needs to be for consistent results. Your tuning table, if used within a constant environment temperature and humidity wise, will give you consistent tuning results if your breathing is consistent and tuning techniques are consistent. The tuning table is a tool and not a musical instrument (although it is kind of fun to "play" it!). All the laws of physics and math apply here: x=a(b/c) which is a really good thing as that fact should allow you to get control of the variables and gain consistent results. Again, some folks are gaining more predictable results using a bellows with the tuning table. Bottom line is that the tuning table is about evolution not revolution. Although it will speed the tuning process up by 10 - 100 times, with practice, and makes the process of tuning imminently more fun it is not a magic bullet.

What tuner should I use with the Sjoeberg Tuning Table?

We recommend Peterson. With the Peterson strobe type tuner you will get the most out of your tuning table. You will find that the precision that you can tune to on a table far exceeds what is possible otherwise, especially if you use ceramic files. We found that tuning to 1/100 of a cent is possible under the right circumstance, crucially air flow control and the fine material removal of which ceramic files capable with practice. You will be amazed. That said, working with any tuning device against a tuning table will seriously reduce the amount of tuning time needed to achieve great results.

Tuning Charts - Where can I find them?

Charts for tuning are all over the internet. I like Pat Missin and his zip file with a zillion different tunings.

Pat is a great font of information on the technical issues of tuning. You will learn a ton about tuning via his web site.

Also this Wikibook page has a pretty good cross section of tunings.

440, 442, 443, 444 ???

Most diatonic players / customizers customers are using 442, 443. It really is a personal thing that depends on how you play, what you play and in the end with whom you are playing. I will add that many folks will state on thing or another around various tuning methods and get into deep arguments, I say get it right by your ear and work it from there.

Purchase Questions

I will be tuning both Seydel & Hohner diatonic which table would do best for me and does it come with gasket?

All tables ship with a gasket that will work for both Hohner and Seydel. The base holes are 7.5MM center to center, the Hohner spacing.

That standard, full slotted, gasket comes with the table and has both a Seydel 8.0 and Hohner 7.5 center to center slot array. By simply spinning the that gasket around in place you can switch form one to other.

The hold down wing has two main configurations, 7.5 and 8.0, two rows of each offset by 4MM (approximently) front to back for a total of four rows.  With the three pin reed plate hold down configuration you might be able to avoid  having to make a hold pin change while switching from 7.5 to 8.0 for Seydel.

Do you think I will need the CAP (Channeled Adapter Plate) with the ST-15.5s?

I think you should try it without the CAP first. To date I have received no complaints from current table owners as far as tuning 8.0 on a 7.5 base with the 8.0 side of the full slot gasket (standard). No matter that if you want to try the CAP you will have 30 days to return it should it not suit your needs. 

I am just starting out, is a Sjoeberg tuning table right for me?

Learning to adjust and tune harmonicas is not easy, it would be much harder to go through the initial learning curve without a table. Blowing a reed out of the comb is an aquired taste, I do not have it, too slow. It is so much easier to practice, learn and experiment on a tuning table.  Dick swears by his 'off the table' results. Others need to do additional finish work with the plates installed on the comb. I do think that there is truth in every story as tuning diatonic harmonicas is a very personal thing. Having a table to help you keep your harps in tune and to expedite your development as a player and customizer make your purchase a great investment no matter which camp you find yourself in as you move forward.

Where can I get a 'toe hold' on tuning diatonic harmonicas?

Charts for tuning are all over the internet but I like Pat Missin:
http://www.patmissin.com/tunings/tunings.html and his zip file with a zillion different tunings. 

Beyond his tunings Pat is a great font of information on the technical issues of tuning.

Also, try this Wikibook: