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Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?

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coldjam 30 Jun 09 - 02:20 PM
Dan Schatz 30 Jun 09 - 02:57 PM
DonMeixner 30 Jun 09 - 03:11 PM
DonMeixner 30 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM
Bill D 30 Jun 09 - 04:43 PM
autoharper 30 Jun 09 - 05:12 PM
autoharper 30 Jun 09 - 05:20 PM
Bernard 30 Jun 09 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 30 Jun 09 - 11:56 PM
Allan C. 01 Jul 09 - 05:38 AM
coldjam 01 Jul 09 - 08:03 PM
Claymore 01 Jul 09 - 09:49 PM
coldjam 20 Jul 09 - 06:33 PM
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Subject: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: coldjam
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 02:20 PM

I've read all sorts of info for playing tunes and diatonic
conversion and the like, but nobody ever mentions if there is
a standard way to finger the chord buttons, anyone know if there is a standard position, or is it everybody on his/her own?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 02:57 PM

Since different autoharps have different chord configurations - sometimes completely different - there can't really be a standard position. It's whatever works best for your playing style and your instrument.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 03:11 PM

Hi Coldjam,

Search Autoharp in the threads list. WE have discussed layouts and technique quite a bit.

My harps are set up: 15 bars
                      Majors in the front row


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM

Hi Coldjam,

Sorry, it got away from me.

Search Autoharp in the threads list. WE have discussed layouts and technique quite a bit.

My harps are set up: 15 bars, I don't like 21 bar harps at all.

    6 Majors and two 7ths in the front row Bb F C G D A D7 G7
    6 Minors and one 7thin the back row Gm Dm Am Em Bm F#m E7
                  

This method works great for me, But as Dan states, there are a million ways to chord your harp.

Learn your scales and what notes create 7ths and you are on your way to melody playing.

Don


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 04:43 PM

The 'virtue' of the 21 bar 'harps is that you can move them around to suit your style and the common chord combinations.

When I got a 'new' one maybe 15 years ago, I reversed the default layout, then re-cut one bar to give me a D-maj.

Now I have a 3-finger pattern for most of the regular major chords, and the ones I use most are in the middle.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: autoharper
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 05:12 PM

When playing an autoharp with three rows of buttons, regardless of the configuration of the chord bars, it is desirable to avoid having the fingers of the left hand get tangled up, or trip over one another. On a three-row harp, I try to keep each finger on my left hand confined to the chord bar buttons directly above and below the major chord bar button (which is my "home position") and use one finger for each vertical row of three chord bar buttons. This allows for faster chording and very little hunt-and-peck when changing to the next chord bar. Like touch typing, I try to keep the fingertip of each finger on my left hand barely in contact with the major chord bar button in any given vertical row of three buttons. This way (as in typing) I don't have to use my eyes to change chords.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: autoharper
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 05:20 PM

I realize now that the technique I am describing is visible in my YouTube autoharp videos:

http://www.youtube.com/autoharpca

-Adam Miller


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: Bernard
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 07:52 PM

There are tricks you can use, such as holding both the C major and G major bars down together, which will leave only the G strings sounding. Similarly, holding G and D will give you just the D strings. This is because the note is common to both chords, but none of the others are.

Very handy for doing a 'dum-ching' or 'dum ching ching' where 'dum' would be the common note (G or D as above) and 'ching' would be the chord of the same name (G or D in the examples).

This can be extended to make tunes a little clearer...

I set up my Hopf 12 bar to mimic accordion basses!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 11:56 PM

I have long maintained that the Autoharp is likely better as a left handed instrument as it is currently built. I think Autoharps could be played upside down if you use the Burp the Baby hold when playing. If you are left handed this would eliminate the cross over of hands and make it possible to see the chords and the strings. It would also give you more room to strum.

I am convinced there must be lefties who are doing this with Autoharps.

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: Allan C.
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 05:38 AM

I have also found that using clear fingernail polish to create a small mound on a central button is extremely helpful in locating your "home" position.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: coldjam
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 08:03 PM

Wow, thanks a lot guys...gave me some great starting points. Love the nailpolish on the home key idea, and Adam I'll ck out your video-VERY helpful...the rest of you, Imma gonna have to bookmark this page and refer back when I get past PRESS---STRUM!

Thanks again!
Judy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: Claymore
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 09:49 PM

After learning the Majors in front row, 7ths in second, and minors in the third, which is more like the chord buttons on an accordian, I find that I am much faster than those with the majors in the second and if I can't get to the relative seventh with my thumb, I have its whole note under my middle finger. You will need to understand the circle of fifths and then make your own decision. The current 21 chord Autoharps allow you to move both the bars and the chord buttons to any position,although you can expose more of the bar by simply placing a short section of leather shoe lace under each button, and use a fine point marker to label the buttons on the side of the button facing up. That way they don't wear off, unlike buttons labeled on the top.

Also many people manufacture or order a Bm, F#m, and an E chord bars in place of the Ab, Eb, and Bb7 to give them more popular keys.

I would check with the Autoharp Page which has taken over for the original Cyberpluckers page and has tons of information for you to read, and modify according to you wishes. Although they are many ways to set up your chord bars, in my experience there are two most often used, Majors in the Middle, which does give you a home key and Majors Foreward which gives you speed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp left hand fingering?
From: coldjam
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 06:33 PM

Thank you Claymore, takes me a while sometimes to get back to Mudcat, but I always do. I appreciate your help...I really like the marker for the side idea.I was sent a Russian/cyrillic keyboard and rubbed most of the letters off before I learned the language so I know firsthand that frustration!
THanks again,
Judy


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