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Buying an Autoharp in Toronto

fancypants 24 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM
Dan Schatz 24 Jan 09 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,W Smith 24 Jan 09 - 06:50 PM
fancypants 24 Jan 09 - 11:00 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 09 - 02:59 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 09 - 09:27 PM
JohnB 26 Jan 09 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,from LKM 04 Feb 09 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,big andy 05 Feb 09 - 07:24 AM
scruss 15 Mar 09 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Robbie 26 Mar 09 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,Autoharp Player 26 Jan 10 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,Richard 24 Mar 11 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Robert Briehl 15 Nov 11 - 09:50 PM
GUEST 23 Feb 12 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Bob Briehl Appalachian Instruments 12 Jun 12 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Robert Briehl 06 Sep 12 - 11:09 AM
Mooh 06 Sep 12 - 02:00 PM
ollaimh 06 Sep 12 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,wprwll 29 Sep 12 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,cj 23 May 13 - 10:49 AM
PHJim 23 May 13 - 02:00 PM
autoharper 23 May 13 - 02:54 PM
PHJim 24 May 13 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Bob Briehl 21 Jan 14 - 11:15 AM
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Subject: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: fancypants
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM

I hope this is okay for a newbie to drop in and ask for some advice. I went back through the archive to look and didn't see anything.

Boy am I having a devil of a time finding an Autoharp in Toronto, or Canada generally. Ebay isn't a great option because the sellers are all in the US and the border/shipping is quite a bit of hassle. I've checked pawn shops, music stores, craigslist, classifieds... Anyone have any ideas?

I'm looking to start playing and anything in the <$550 range will do--though preferably cheaper (i.e. $300) as I'm looking to start small and upgrade as necessary. Preferably acoustic/electric, fine tuners, 21 chord--but really quite flexible.

Thanks all,
David.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 06:25 PM

Here's a link to some people who might be able to help you.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,W Smith
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 06:50 PM

My advice would be to seek out a 1970s Oscar Schmidt model and set it up with chords that you want to use. You will have to get an Exacto knife and some felt strips (just google it) and know a tiny bit of music theory. There are many willing to share their knowledge on the cyberpluckers list at autoharp.org and autoharper.com has some arrangements. If you are looking at under $300, the fine tuners may have to wait since they add at least hundred dollars to the value.

WS


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: fancypants
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 11:00 PM

Thank you both for the quick responses. WS, you're right that on the one hand I'm looking for something inexpensive and on the other hand I'm attracted to more of the high-end features. A lot of it is that I can't get my hands on anything to try or see what I like. So I'm open to something w/ fine tuners or pickup, or w/out. In an ideal world I'd probably begin with a starter model and grow into something of higher quality--and perhaps with some of the mods you suggest--but at this point up here in the cold I'll take what I can get. Dang that border.

Thanks again. Any more ideas anyone?


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 02:59 PM

try shopgoodwill.com, ebay.com, or the harp doctor


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 09:27 PM

search Kijiji. Ther was an Oscarschmidt 21 chord electric on the Halifax, N. S. site in musical instruments approximately 3 weeks ago. It very well could still be for sale.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: JohnB
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 01:41 PM

Try somewhere like the 12th Fret or your local music store and see if they have a notice board that you can put a "Wanted" add on.
The "Tranzac Club" has a notice board inside the door which you could try too.
JohnB.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,from LKM
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 02:41 PM

Hi found Scarboro Music 416-699-833 . The people there were very helpful and have ordered an autoharp in for me totake a look at in the $350 price range. You might give them a try. LKM


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,big andy
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 07:24 AM

perhaps i should have asked this question instead of baying the pug i just bought "bugger"


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: scruss
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 03:00 PM

There's really only one autoharp person near Toronto - Bob Briehl in Oakville: Appalachian Instruments. Bob supplies Scarboro Music and Long & McQuade

Bob just fixed up two autoharps that I had and thought were junkers. One's now electric, and the 1963 Sears 15-chord he advised was a real keeper. Both play beautifully now, and he turned them around in a week.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,Robbie
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 07:20 PM

I'd second Bob Briehl of Appalachian Instruments.
I purchased an Autoharp from him over 2 years ago, and though I bought close to top of the line (An OS110FGN - fine tuners, 21 chord, plus added a pick-up), he let me try out several models when I went to visit him, and I got to get a feel for what each instrument was like.

I knew nothing about them when I bought, other than research I had read, but I am glad I went to him and got the best I could as I have certainly grown into it now!


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,Autoharp Player
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 07:56 PM

Try Durham Music in Pickering. He has a new one which he is trying to sell. Around $300.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 06:20 PM

Hi David
I just happened to see your note about an autoharp. I have one which I obtained a few years ago. I am more of a brass player so never got "into" the autoharp. It has 31 strings but should have 32 (1 is missing)It appears to be quite old and the sticker says Oscar Schmidt of N.J. It is black in colour and I would say it is in quite good condition.There are no knicks or chips on the body at all. I also have a booklet entitled How to Play the Autoharp. Also there is a tool to tighten the strings. Also in my possession I have a fretless Musica Guitae Zither with 33 strings. It is made in Germany. And I also have a very old zither -missing several strings and the back is cracked. If you are interested still at this point, return a message and I would be pleased to talk to you. I am downsizing so some things will have to go. I live in Tillsonburg- 100 miles west of Toronto. Richard


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,Robert Briehl
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 09:50 PM

I seem to be one of the few people who still repairs and restores these instruments. I would love to help anyone who is looking for guidance and parts for these. I love this instrument and have encouraged many to begin playing it. I have experience with them since 1981. My inventory goes back to he 1950's. Need help in purchasing them or repairs? Please feel free to e-mail robertbriehl @ yahoo.ca


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 12 - 12:45 PM

O'Brien's music store in Newfoundland,try there ,I bought one there a few yrs ago.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,Bob Briehl Appalachian Instruments
Date: 12 Jun 12 - 10:11 AM

Although I work on all kinds of Autoharps, I do enjoy playing them too. If there is any interest in forming an informal get together on a regular basis, please get in touch with me at either (905) 8450638 or robertbriehl@yahoo.ca.
Let's get out there "Pickin' & Strummin'"


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,Robert Briehl
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 11:09 AM

Buyer Beware! I have just had a number of telephone calls and e-mails re.:10 chord Limited edition O.S. Autoharp. Sadly I must say that there is a weakness in the top sound board which causes it to twist and crack I am on my third one and the repair is too costly for most. When it is working properly it sounds beautifully with its paired strings.Also O.S has removed the OS10 from the marked???probably for just this reason.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: Mooh
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for the contact Bob. I have an older Autoharp that will need refelting when I get around to it. Dad bought it used in 1966 and it's not been serviced since.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: ollaimh
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 09:51 PM

there was a music store on church that had odd stuff, but he closed. i think harbord music now carries some of that stuff. i bought mine at a garage sale in toronto and, got help refitting it from a guy i found on line--parts cheap--i'll look and see if i still have his e mail. unfortunately i traded it for a regal mandolin, sorry


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,wprwll
Date: 29 Sep 12 - 11:16 AM

i bought my oscar schmidt used for $175 at a music store and haven't found one anywhere else that sounds as good. i know someone who makes them starting around $600 for a small 24 string model but since the oscar has been played for 5 decades the tone is superb. you may be better off buying one from kijiji. i've seen a few there that are good deals..........


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,cj
Date: 23 May 13 - 10:49 AM

try remeny music store on bloor st west. they carry them regularly but at the moment they are out of stock. new harps only no used ones. and they cost $399. oscar schmidt is the brand they carry.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: PHJim
Date: 23 May 13 - 02:00 PM

A friend just bought an OS73C Black box 'harp at George's Guitars in Cobourg and she's loving it. I've only seen it on Facebook, but it looks great.
I love the looks of the old A models with the square corners and have a couple of Appalachians and a black box from the mid-sixties.

Bob, I wish we lived a little closer (I'm in Port Hope). I'd love to get together and play some tunes.


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: autoharper
Date: 23 May 13 - 02:54 PM

In my opinion, the OS73C is the best model of of this generation of Oscar Schmidt autoharps.

-Adam Miller
Folksinging.org


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: PHJim
Date: 24 May 13 - 02:58 PM

Adam, When an Autoharpist of your ability gives an opinion, it's worth listening to.

Do you use bare fingernails, or do you have acrylic nails?


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Subject: RE: Buying an Autoharp in Toronto
From: GUEST,Bob Briehl
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 11:15 AM

I keep reviewing the comments people make about Autoharps and where they get them and there seems to be a thread in many of the comments. People go to shops which do not specialize in this instrument. I agree many tops are twisting and are expensive to repair. OS covers these flaws and if you got it from a reputable shop the person should go to bat for you and have this problem fixed or the instrument replaced. They are still covered under a 5 year warrantee.
Cheap is not always the way to go. In my shop( Appalachian Instruments)I use only original factory parts and back this up with service since 1981.
Before you buy an instrument see how much space there is between the strings and the felts. Are the felts deeply grooved? If so they might need some attention. Are the seams cracked and lifting? This could be a sign of improper storage or water damage. Have people substituted guitar strings for autoharp strings. They may not have the right dimensions for the proper pitch.
Good Used instruments are available from around $150.00+
Shop around.
If you need help I am as close as an e-mail ( robertbriehl@yahoo.ca)
Bob Briehl


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