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Songbob Tech: Autoharp advice (47) RE: Tech: Autoharp advice 31 Aug 09

Sctually, plucking so near the bottom end ("below" the chord bars) produces, to my ears, a really crummy sound. That advice about plucking near the bridge won't hold on the fiddle, either. Bow really close to the bridge and tell me the sound is better than the usual bowing spot.

I have a Chromaharp, and it's just fine. However, I had three of them recently but sold two on eBay because they weren't anywhere near the one I kept in terms of sound. I have a couple of autoharps, one just a body and the other a Franken-harp, with a mixture of different types of bars (some really old style A wooden bars, and some newer ones. I don't have enough interest to get a set of bars for either Schmidt harp, but I may someday. Then I can compare the two makes.

But a Chromaharp is not a good bet simply because there is so much difference between an average one and a good 'un. If I were to expand my autoharp playing much, I'd probably re-bar one of the two bodies I have now. Till then, the Chromaharp, with its 21 bars, is a keeper.

Those extra bars mean I can play in Bb, F, C, G, D, and A, with E a semi-possibility (it lacks good bass notes in the B7 chord, as I recall). And minors for most of those majors.

I note in passing that new Autoharps are getting up there in price -- gone are the days of the $50 harp, but I'm damned if I'll pay $400 for a commercial one. I'd rather pay more and get a Keith Young or other custom maker's product.



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