How to Make Your Own Harmonica Valves Easily, Cheaply, and Effectively.



Introduction: How to Make Your Own Harmonica Valves Easily, Cheaply, and Effectively.

About: I'm a Harmonica Playin' fool! I build my own amps and effects, and I do lot's of the DIY stuff. I also build and play cigar box guitars, play ukulele, blues guitar, melodica, and drums, and I beatbox a bit t...

In this tutorial video, I show you how to make your own harmonica valves at home from easily sourcable materials. I walk you through each step, from making the valves to attaching them to your harp.

You need:
Gaffers tape (very important to use real gaffers tape, and NOT duct tape. See link below for the specific brand I use)
Scissors (large and small)
Small metal pin or wire tool (to wrap the valves around)

Extra tips:

1) I've had one harp with these valves in it for approximately 3 months now. The adhesive is still going strong. This tape is different from other tapes in that regard. The properties of the adhesive used in gaffers is a very important part of why these valves work as well as they do...

2) In the three or so months since I've been using these type of valves I have had not ONE sticking valve, even after an hour of play (including TB and chording, with a reasonable amount of saliva getting into the harp)

3) The ONLY problem I've had with these valves are from not curling them properly (ie., that one or two valves I made curled up away from the plate). That problem is solved by curling them tightly around a piece of wire (like a paperclip) BEFORE applying them. Rolling them from the adhesive edge outwards produces a better curvature, and largely prevents "curl away".

4) The exact product I'm using is JVCC brand Gaffers tape, available at Amazon for a little more than $12: ( I chose this brand based on the results of this survey: (, and from other comments around the 'net that suggest it a) has a better adhesive than most (doesn't leave residue), and b) has a better cloth like "hand" to the tape material.

5) For tips on how to approach half-valved playing (including intonation, bends, vibrato, and legato playing), please see my other instructable.

Please feel free to PM me with any questions!

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