The most horrifying experience for a harmonica player is when his musical instrument gets damaged. Even if one of the notes of the harmonica gets slightly detuned, the whole instrument becomes useless. There remains no option but to buy a new harmonica. This is a very costly proposition.
There is good news now. There is amidst us an expert in the persona of Sripad Helkar, also known among his friends as Devendra. Like a cardiac surgeon, Helkar repairs a broken or detuned reed and gives the instrument a new heart. He has performed such delicate surgery on over a dozen instruments belonging to the members of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat, mine included. The harmonicas repaired by Helkar become as good as new.
After he bought a chromatic tuner, it became easy for Helkar to tune the reeds to perfection. He has also put together a contraption by which he pulls out a defective reed and replaces it with a new one.
Sripad Helkar, picked up harmonica at the age of 10 years, and performed ' Hai Apna Dil to Awara' for the first time in 1980. 'Atit me gum hota Mouth Organ' a programme relayed in 2008 by the local radio station in Jabalpur, M.P. got him recognition amongst the harmonica people.
He has been inspired by Dr. S.S. Ratan a very good harmonica player in M.P.
According to him there are a very few harmonica players in his area. Inspired by the different harmonica clubs in India, he also wants to start a club in Jabalpur.
One can send in the damaged harmonicas to Helkar at the following address for repair: