Fixing a leaky harp (harmonica)

Still looking for lessons. In the meantime…

I have ‘professional’ harmonicas that I’ll learn to play on. I recently asked a question about Hohner’s Enthusiast series. These are marketed to beginners and kids. Even though I’m not a player yet, I like these cheapo harps. I think it’s a nostalgia thing. The problem is, they leak a bit. I read somewhere that harps with wooden combs can be sanded ‘perfectly flat’ to make the comb/reed plate interface more airtight. Is there any way to do something similar on the plastic combs of cheap harmonicas?

I’m hopelessly out of date. I used Hohner "Blues Harp"s and "Marine Band"s. They’re both probably incredibly more expensive now.

Soak it in water . That’s what I used to do with the Marine Band ones .
Switched to Pro Harps , bigger blow holes .

Marine Bands have wooden combs. The Enthusiast series all hae plastic combs.

Yeah, that’s a wooden harp, though. It swells the wood a bit. I can’t see why soaking would improve a plastic-combed harp, other than perhaps cleaning it a bit.

I don’t have any tips for the OP. What I sometimes will do with harps that feel a bit breathy to me is adjust the reed gaps if one or two reeds feel weird, but I don’t know what to do with a harp that overall feels like it’s leaky.

I’m a completely terrible harmonica player, but I’ve done some work in both plastic and wood. I don’t see why you can’t sand the plastic comb flat like a wooden one. The materials are similar. As long as you don’t sand the plastic where it heats up, which seems unlikely, they should behave largely the same way.

Also, you could try to make a gasket out of electrical tape.

When you say they “leak”, do you mean saliva? (I don’t play them and haven’t heard of that problem before, but I’m curious since I can’t think of anything else that would leak out of one)

Air leakage that makes them harder to play because it takes more breath.

I also read that gapping the reeds might be a solution. Maybe it’s a more likely solution than air escaping around the reed plate. Seems like a more difficult fix, though. I have to say my Bluesband harps play better than I am able to play them, even though there’s definitely leakage compared to my Special 20. Not objectionable leakage, but it would be cool if I could tighten them up.