The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23368   Message #663461
Posted By: Kaleea
06-Mar-02 - 01:16 AM
Thread Name: Help: Autoharp Buying Advice
Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Buying Advice
They are sure fun to play! Yu might try subscribing to the which is a message board. Individuals frequently have some for sale, and you can get advice from people whose lives revolve around autoharps, so to speak. I found that the real key to being able to play the instrument is the way the chord bars are set up. I had an old 12 bar for several years which I could not do anything with. Then I found someone who has a 21 bar autoharp (several actually!) which have the Bryan Bowers set up, and it clicked in my brain. I could instantly play and I'm serious. It was just that simple for me, however I also have a strong background in music. I have, however, known others who got their 'harps set up that way, and after a few weeks of getting used to it, they were able to get it and blossomed quite well into playing some dificult tunes & understanding the instrument. The instruments come out of the factory with the chord bars set up in a way which makes sense to few people & is generally considered unplayable. Most autoharp people who get an Oscar Schmidt (or whatever) immediately send it in to someone to have it converted to their favorite set up. I had an Oscar Schmidt Adirondack Professional Series which was sent right away to Buck Lumbert to redo, and he put on his beautiful set of 21 maple chord bars and set it up for me as I asked him to. Only then was it playable. I then got a Fladmark, which I believe is one of the top 2 brands. I like it best! I would suggest that you look for one which is already set up with the Bryan Bowers chord bar arrangement, and if the person selling it is a dealer or person who does work on them, just ask them to set it up for you. You will find just as many persons who prefer other chord bar arrangements, but I can just about guarantee that you will not be able to play the right out of the factory set up as well as a good chord bar arrangement! So, talk to lots of folks, and try to find someone local or at a music festival to help you out. There is the annual Autoharp Jamboree coming up in mid June (13,14,15 at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas which is a festival of about 3 days with beginner & etc workshops going non stop.