In an old harp book they talked stories of the big players of the day and taught the how’s and why’s from the likes of Big Walter Horton (I), Sonny Boy Williamson , Sonny Terry and more. It told of using ‘soaks’, beer when your down on your luck and bourbon when your rolling high. So seriously, in the early 70s, standing at a bar with some friends, the band was playing Kansas City in ‘E’. With an ‘A’ harp in my pocket, started to play. The bartender heard it and got all excited and wanted me to play with the band, said I would if he gave me (on the house) a double bourbon and water in a tall glass no ice. This isn’t how I live by any means, but in the moment, I got to tell ya, those boys new what they were talking about…on top of a couple beers, adrenalin from playing harp live the first time (and never again) the effects of the ‘soak’ were most interesting. You see, when you draw in, a mist of bourbon flys down into your lungs. Needless to say, for the whole song, every chance I got, I dunked, and I didn’t shake it out. Never happened again, Never forget it.
Side Note (on a more sobering note): the Hohner manual says; “NEVER soak your harmonica. Soaking it will cause the reeds to corrode and the wooden body (comb) to swell, causing more rapid deterioration of both of these vital parts of your instrument. Soaking also voids your warranty.”