The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31762   Message #414221
Posted By: Bluesman and kde
09-Mar-01 - 04:19 PM
Thread Name: Autoharp Restringing
Hey, you guys are so great in problem solving. I've decided that I will string it myself with the info y'all sent. Now for the $60+ that the strings cost!!!! LOL

Susan, Glad you asked how and what I play. I have two autoharps. The first one is one that my grandmother bought new around 100 years ago. It is a 5-bar, has a b-flat chord so you can also play in the key of F. My dad gave it to me when I was 15 or so years old. It is not in the best condition, but, due to the age, a local Martin dealer told me that if I tried to restring it that it may come apart due to the type of glue used in the early ones. My other harp is a 15-bar that I bought for $35 around 25 years ago. It is in perfect shape except for the strings. I do have an autoharp pickup on it and love the sounds you can get, especially when run through some effects. I was learning Travis and Atkins fingerpicking on the guitar when my dad gave me the harp. 15 minutes after I tuned it, I could play Wildwood Flower. I use a plastic thumbpick and plastic fingerpicks on my index and middle fingers. I play it in the form of Maybelle Carter. By playing with two fingers, I can get harmonies. Plus the thumb plays the bass notes, which I alternate the way that Merle Travis did on guitar. I'm sure all you players probably know that when playing this way, you sometimes have to use a chord like F or G, even when you're playing in the key of C to get the notes you need to play the song. I haven't played a lot in recent years but am ready to start back. By the way, I haven't tried blues on the harp yet, but will when I get the strings on. Anyone that is interested in writing to me about autoharp can do it here or email me at By the way, thanks, Spaw, the info was fantastic....Jim